“An Evening of Jazz for the J”: Willie Jones III All-Stars BLU Jazz+ teams up with the Shaw JCC of Akron for a very special fundraiser event as we present some of the biggest names on today's jazz scene, all for a great cause! Featuring Willie Jones III, Terell Stafford, Steve Davis, Ralph Moore, Eric Reed & Gerald Cannon.

Sunday, September 17

Imagine an evening of live music with jazz greats from New York City and Los Angeles. What more could you want for a Sunday evening? The Shaw JCC is bringing critically acclaimed musicians Willie Jones III, Terell Stafford, Steve Davis, Ralph Moore, Eric Reed and Gerald Cannon to Akron. This ensemble is making a special appearance at An Evening of Jazz for the J on Sunday, September 17. The event takes place with two shows at 7 and 9 p.m. at BLU Jazz+, 47 E. Market St.

Conveniently situated in the heart of the Akron Historic Arts District, BLU Jazz+ is northeast Ohio’s new premier destination for live jazz, fine food and spirits and has been designed and crafted from the ground up with the presentation of live jazz in mind.
The evening of entertainment will raise funds for the Shaw JCC, which will be used to serve children, families and seniors in a number of ways through aquatics and fitness, early childhood education, Camp JCC and more.
Tickets are $45 for individuals and $80 for a couple. Ticket holders are welcome to purchase cocktails, craft beers and small-plates food menu from the restaurant to round out their experience. There are also $75 patron tickets available, which grants ticket holders VIP entrance an hour and half before the event to mingle with the musicians, nosh on appetizers and sip wine. Questions? Please e-mail Jody Faught – see you at the show!


Willie Jones III

Ever since 1997, when he moved to New York City from Los Angeles, his hometown, Willie Jones III has been one of the jazz capital’s most prominent drummers. Whether functioning as a savvy bandleader or high-profile sideman, Jones applies to every context an abiding musicality and a tonal personality that, as Wynton Marsalis puts it, is “ever tasteful,” marked by what pianist Eric Reed, his frequent collaborator, calls “a West Coast swagger in his swing, with a looseness that isn’t lackadaisical and an edge that isn’t overwhelming.”
“I still follow Billy Higgins’ model,” Jones says. “I’m always trying to support whoever I’m working with to make the music sound as good as possible. I have a good balance. I’ll continue to evolve as a leader, but I’ll always play as a sideman—I still love learning and playing other people’s music.”


Terell Stafford

Terell Stafford, acclaimed trumpet player based in New York, has been hailed as “one of the great players of our time, a fabulous trumpet player” by piano legend McCoy Tyner. Stafford is recognized as an incredibly gifted and versatile player, he combines a deep love of melody with his own brand of spirited and adventurous lyricism. Stafford’s exceptionally expressive and well defined musical talent allows him to dance in and around the rich trumpet tradition of his predecessors while making his own inroads.


Steve Davis

Born in Binghamton, New York, Davis was taken with the sounds of bebop which has lead to his distinctive sound on the slide trombone. In addition to leading his own group, he continues to perform with Chick Corea’s sextet Origin. “I’m drawn to music which allows for creativity of expression,” Davis said during a 2001 interview, “music which challenges the listener (as well as the musicians playing it) to think, to imagine, to feel.”


Ralph Moore

Ralph Moore has lived in the U.S. since 1970. He is a fine tenor saxophonist influenced by John Coltrane, but possessing a slightly softer tone. He moved to New York in 1981 and has recorded several fine albums for Landmark, Criss Cross, Savoy, and Mons (with the L.A. Jazz Summit). He has toured extensively with J.J. Johnson, and since 1995, has been a member of the Tonight Show Orchestra in Los Angeles.


Eric Reed

Through more than a quarter-century as a first-caller on the jazz scene, Reed has articulated this inclusive conception as a leader of numerous ensembles, solo performer, composer, producer, educator and sideman with numerous artists. Whatever the context, whatever the style, he consistently animates the flow with fresh ideas, virtuosic chops, intellectual clarity and an unwavering will to groove.


Gerald Cannon

Born in Racine, Wisconsin, Gerald’s initial inspiration was his father Benjamin, a guitarist, who bought him his first electric bass at the ripe young age of 10. He began playing bass in his father’s group ‘The Gospel Expressions’ and he never looked back. Gerald attended The University of Wisconsin at La Crosse where he met jazz great Milt Hinton. This meeting not only changed Gerald’s major in college from physical education to music, it also changed the rest of his life.

7:00 pm, 9:00 pm

$45 (single), $80 (couple), $25 (student)

Buy Tickets


BLU Jazz+ was named one of the "Best Jazz Venues in the World" by DownBeat Magazine (2016, 2017, 2018)
Committed to the preservation of America's treasured art form of jazz, BLU Jazz+ Masterclass Foundation (BJMF) is a new program developed by the founders of BLU Jazz+ Akron that brings “front-row” jazz education performance & mentorship opportunities to student musicians and art lovers alike through an ongoing series of special events throughout the year.