Upcoming Shows

We are excited to announce the upcoming shows for our third season at BLU Jazz+! Additional dates & performers will continue to be added, so check back often to catch your favorite artists at Northeast Ohio’s premier destination for live jazz, fine food & spirits!
 
Tickets are general admission (unless otherwise noted) on a first-come, first served basis, and you are only guaranteed admission for the showtime listed on your ticket. Please buy your tickets online in advance to guarantee admission.
 
See you at the show!
 



Sep
22

James Lloyd Billboard chart-topping keyboardist, recording artist, and co-founder of legendary group, "Pieces of a Dream," brings an exciting new project to the Rubber City in BLU debut! Featuring James Lloyd, West Byrd, John C. Hall Jr., Justin Lee Walker, Tony Watson, Monica Carter.
Sold Out

Friday, September 22



Keyboardist James Lloyd, along with friends, bassist Cedric Napoleon, and drummer Curtis Harmon, founded Pieces of a Dream in 1975 in Philadelphia when they were all teenagers. The group based their name on “Pieces of Dreams,” a cover tune by Stanley Turrentine that they performed. The trio became internationally known when jazz legend, the late Grover Washington Jr., announced that he was starting a production company and that Pieces of a Dream would be his first act. Lloyd was only a senior in high school when his first album was released. Grover subsequently took Pieces all over the world allowing the trio to open for him as well as including them as part of his band. Just before their third world tour together, however, Lloyd broke his wrist. Recollection of Lloyd playing in a cast is a priceless memory many have seen and continue to share stories about to this day. Lloyd played with his wrist in a cast for three months.

 

 

Fast-forward 38 years and 20 albums later under his belt with Pieces, Lloyd has written and/or produced songs for many other recording artists aside from Pieces. Those artists include Latin Grammy award-winning flautist Nestor Torres, Walter Beasley, Alexander Zonjic, Eric Darius, Nick Colionne, Jeff Kashiwa, Everett Harp, Gail Jhonson, Hiroshima, former-NBA-player-turned-bassist the late Wayman Tisdale and two-time Grammy nominee Najee, just to name a few. You can also catch Lloyd on recordings with Grover Washington Jr., Eddie Murphy, Phyllis Hyman, Regina Bell, Loose Ends and Ornette Coleman. James has played keys for many artists including Joe Williams, James Brown, Lou Rawls, Dave Valentin, Najee, Marion Meadows, Clark Terry, Milt Jackson, Dizzy Gillespie, Jon Hendricks, David Sanborn, B.B. Wynans, and Babyface, and opened for artists such as Earth, Wind and Fire, Nancy Wilson, Dionne Warwick, Miles Davis, Mercer Ellington, and Count Basie. Arising out of a venture with Heads Up recording artist Walter Beasley, came James Lloyd’s first No. 1 hit, Ready for Love. Ready for Love climbed to the No. 1 position on three different smooth jazz charts. A second No. 1 hit, Steady as She Goes , was also a Lloyd/Beasley project which spent weeks at No. 1 on Billboard. Billboard named Steady as the No. 1 Smooth Jazz song for 2009. Lloyd’s television and film credits include, The Merv Griffin Show, Soul Train, City Lights, New York Undercover (where he performed with Al Green, Luther Vandross and Jon B.), The Rosie O’Donnell Show, and Spike Lee’s School Daze. Other highlights of Lloyd’s career include Album of the Year for Love’s Silhouette at the 2003 AFIM Indie Awards and International Group of the Year at the 2010 Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards.

 

Lloyd moved to Youngstown, Ohio in 1999 and characterizes Youngstown as one of the best kept little secrets. Lloyd’s second career could be that of chef should his music career fall through. In his spare time, Lloyd studies Tae Kwon Do at Master Park Martial Arts International and most recently started taking Valerie Gordon’s Zumba class. He received his black belt on September 6, 2007 and is currently pursuing his second degree belt.

 

Today, Lloyd is producing and/or writing for well-known and up-and-coming artists alike from his home studio in Canfield. Those projects include Nick Colionne’s new album, saxophonist B.K. Jackson, as well as another Pieces of a Dream project.

 

On March 17th, 2015, Lloyd released his very first solo CD titled, “Here We Go“, on Shanachie Records. This project includes guest appearances by long-time friends Najee, and Gerald Albright.

 

Get your tickets early for this show as we kick off the Fall season at BLU with one of the hottest keyboardists on today’s smooth jazz scene – see you there!

[read more]

8:00 pm

$25 (advance), $30 (door)

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Sep
23

Matthew Stevens: “Preverbal” Album Release On the heels of a busy 2016 after playing an integral role as sideman on wildly successful releases by Esperanza Spalding & Christian Scott, virtuoso guitarist makes BLU debut with a masterclass (6PM, FREE) & concert event (8PM) in celebration of his critically acclaimed new album, Preverbal!
Masterclass + Concert

Saturday, September 23



Virtuosic, shape-shifting guitarist and composer Matthew Stevens will release his second album as a bandleader, ‘Preverbal,’ March 24 on Ropeadope and in Canada on Crystal Math Music Group (Metric, Grimes). ‘Preverbal’ is a visceral statement, a kinetic exploration of harmony and rhythm driven by Stevens’ masterful playing and singular melding of elements of experimental, jazz and rock. The album blooms and disintegrates over 8 original songs that are immersive and muscular, dark and joyous. ‘Preverbal’ was recorded with Stevens’ core band of Eric Doob on drums and Vicente Archer bass, plus synthesizer and deft touches of sound manipulation and studio craft. It also features a soaring guest vocal appearance from Esperanza Spalding on album closer “Our Reunion.”

 

 

Album opener “Picture Window” was recently unveiled via a glowing write-up from critic Nate Chinen at NPR/WBGO. He says the music “advances the ideals of modern jazz even when, sonically speaking, it gestures in other directions.” He continues, “Stevens is not the sort of improviser to show you all of his cards, or even reveal his intentions: he prefers an air of alluring intrigue, down to the way the track ends, like a set of blinds snapping shut.”

 

Stevens’ sophomore album as bandleader comes on the heels of a big 2016: He played an integral role in the direction and sound of Esperanza Spalding’s ‘Emily’s D+Evolution’ – one of the best albums of the year – and toured the globe as part of her power trio. He’s also collaborated extensively with Christian Scott, acting as his musical director, performing on all of his recordings and composing music. ‘Preverbal’ is the fully realized vision of this in-demand collaborator and band mate, the culmination of a decade spent lending an important voice to his many projects and as a bandleader.

 

‘Preverbal’ finds Stevens deeply exploring the electric guitar while his solo debut, 2015’s lauded ‘Woodwork,’ was mainly an exploration of acoustic textures. At the onset of making this new album, Stevens introduced and rehearsed the songs with his band completely by ear without any notated music. The approach brought him full circle, to his days rehearsing with his garage band as a teenager, and led to a synchronized ensemble with ample headroom to explore and improvise during the recording.

 

‘Preverbal’ was produced by Stevens along with bandmate Eric Doob, and recorded at Revolution Recording in Toronto, Ontario. It was engineered by Kyle Hoffman. Matthew and his band will tour in 2017.

 

Join us at BLU as this incredible internationally-touring artist comes to the Rubber City for a very special masterclass (6PM, FREE) and live concert (8PM) experience – get your tickets today!

[read more]

6:00 pm, 8:00 pm

$20 ($10 students w/ ID at door)

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Sep
24

Dan Wilson: “Balancing Act,” Live at BLU Jazz+ Album Release Join us as master guitarist & national touring artist (Joey DeFrancesco, Christian McBride), Akron's own - Dan Wilson, returns to BLU celebrating the release of his all-new album, "Balancing Act," recorded LIVE at BLU earlier this summer! Featuring Theron Brown, Kip Reed, James Johnson III, Sam Blakeslee.

Sunday, September 24



On June 23, 2017, Dan recorded his second album, “Balancing Act,” Live at BLU Jazz+ featuring some of the most talented, world-class musicians on the scene including Sullivan Fortner on piano, Ivan Taylor on bass, Xavier Breaker on drums, and Akron’s own, Sam Blakeslee on trombone.

 

Get your tickets NOW as we celebrate the release of this all-new album with a very special live concert right here at Dan’s favorite jazz club in his beloved hometown of Akron: BLU Jazz+!

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6:00 pm

$15 (concert), $30 (concert + CD)

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Sep
27

Jackie Warren Northeast Ohio jazz & salsa pianist sensation brings her high-energy artistry to BLU for a very special midweek show! Featured guests often join the area's "First Lady of Jazz" for a tune or two - don't miss it!

Wednesday, September 27



Jackie Warren, a cornerstone of the Cleveland jazz & salsa scenes, is one of the most in-demand pianists in the area and has rightfully earned the nickname “Cleveland’s First Lady of Jazz.” As an educator, she has taught at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C), and maintains a private studio. Ms. Warren has shared the stage with giants in both the jazz & salsa idioms, including David Fathead Newman, Benny Bailey, Clark Terry, Frank Morgan, Bobby Watson, Frank Foster, Jane Bunnett and the Spirits of Havana, Los Munequitos de Matanzas, Othello Molineaux, Donald Harrison, Gerald Wilson, & Jimmy Heath to name a few.

 

 

Enjoy dinner, cocktails and some midweek swingin’ jazz every Wednesday!

[read more]

8:00 pm

Free

Buy Tickets


Sep
28

BLU Jazz Jam w/ Theron Brown Bring your horn and come be part of Akron's jazz history in the making! Hosted by fan-favorite pianist, Theron Brown, and his trio - presented by the BLU Jazz+ Masterclass Foundation (BJMF).

Thursday, September 28



Akron-based jazz pianist, Theron Brown, is a frequent performer and jam session bandleader at BLU Jazz+. Influenced at a young age by Thelonious Monk, Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock, & Art Tatum, Brown has played with musicians such as Dan Wilson, Sean Jones, The Huntertones (formerly DW6), The Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, The Glenn Miller Orchestra, The Bad Plus Band, Chris Coles, The Sam Blakeslee Large Ensemble, Javon Jackson, Snarky Puppy, Donny McCaslin, Peter White, Walter Beasley, Christian McBride, Ken Peplowski, Gary Smulyan, The Admirables, University of Akron Ensembles, Nathan Davis, and Bobby Selvaggio.

 

Theron has played at venues and events such as: The Lincoln Theater (Columbus, Ohio), Small’s Jazz Club (New York, New York), The Montreal Jazz Festival (Montreal, Canada), The Tri-C Jazz Festival (Cleveland, Ohio), The Toronto Jazz Festival (Toronto, Canada), The Blue Plum Jazz Festival (Johnson City, Tennessee), BLU Jazz+ (Akron, Ohio), Salle Wilfrid Pelletier, Palace de Arts (Montreal, Canada), Sapporo Concert Hall (Sapporo, Japan), Olympus Hall Hachiouji, Tokyo Kokusai Forum Hall C, (Tokyo, Japan), Sun Plaza Hall (Sendai, Japan), Ishikawa Kenritsu Ongakudo (Kanazawa, Japan), and Izumi No Mori Hall (Urayasu, Japan).

 

In 2014, Theron came across an amazing opportunity, when he was encouraged by family and friends; he auditioned for and was cast as young Herbie Hancock in the soon to be released film, Miles Ahead, directed by and starring Don Cheadle. The film is an intimate look into the life of jazz artist, Miles Davis, and was released in April 2016.

 

The BLU Jazz Jam is for musicians and music lovers alike! Come hang, have a drink (if you’re of age), and experience this exciting forum for musical expression. Bring your “axe” and play through tunes, pick up licks, trade 4’s, and enjoy the camaraderie of having a gathering place for the area’s finest professional jazz musicians (as well as the up-and-comers)!

[read more]

8:00 pm

Free (donations accepted for BJMF)

Buy Tickets


Sep
29

Michelle Walker Armed with a provocative, whiskey-soaked tone, the charismatic New York City-based breakout jazz vocalist brings her artful blend of blues, bebop, swing & soul back to BLU!

Friday, September 29



Armed with a provocative, whiskey-soaked tone, jazz vocalist Michelle Walker is a charismatic singer that uses an artful blend of blues, bebop, swing and soul with playful rhythmic expressiveness. Based in New York City, she bends the lines and pushes the boundaries of jazz vocal art. With rich colors and adventurous flexibility, she moves easily from a dark, deep tone to a mid-range, swinging lilt. Michelle is very versatile and blessed with a beautifully distinctive voice. She has a refreshing approach to arranging and interpreting often easily recognizable contemporary songs.

 

In her upcoming release, Love Misery, Michelle brings together a collection of jazz standards, original songs and her arrangements of pop tunes that thematically chronicles a love affair. This latest recording project features Joel Frahm on sax, Ron Affif on guitar, Toru Dodo on piano, Michael O’Brien on bass and Willard Dyson on drums. Additional highlights of her career include multiple tours in Europe, performing in the Lincoln Center Women in Jazz Festival, touring with jazz vocal legend Mark Murphy and performing at the White House for the lighting of the National Christmas Tree. Dave Nathan at AllAboutJazz.com says, “Walker demonstrates an extraordinary degree of musicality…” Michelle is often compared to Cassandra Wilson, Nina Simone and Betty Carter in style and tone but has developed her own unique sound and singular voice.

 

It is easy to see why this is looking to become a breakout year for Walker. In late Fall 2013, she performed at the 2nd Annual Belarus International Jazz Festival in the city of Minsk on the same bill as Vocal group TAKE 6. She followed that concert up with a 17 day / 10 city extraordinary tour in Russia performing at many Philharmonic Concert Halls around the country. The uniqueness of Walker is found her shifting,rhythmic, lyrical phrasing and her revived, unexpected arrangements of standard songs. Mike Joyce of the Washington Post says, “[Walker]…has a soul-comforting allure.” Highlights of her career include opening on tour for jazz vocalist Rene Marie, Chris Botti, George Benson, Spyro Gyra, Terrell Stafford and Wynton Marsalis. She has also performed in concert with noted jazz musicians Joel Frahm, Dena DeRose, Benny Green, Ron Affif, Dan Tepfer, Robert Rodriguez, Benito Gonzales and saxophonist Sam Rivers.

 

Join us at BLU Jazz+ as we welcome this exceptionally talented singer & performer to Main & Market for an unforgettable night of top-shelf vocal jazz at its finest – get your tickets today!

[read more]

8:00 pm

$15

Buy Tickets


Sep
30

Elan Trotman Barbados native award-winning smooth jazz saxophonist & Billboard chart-topping recording artist blends Caribbean rhythms from his roots with skillful horn textures in a roarin' return to BLU!

Saturday, September 30



Saxophonist Elan Trotman, quickly becoming one of jazz’s most thrilling and emotive performers, continues to stand out and push boundaries as a composer, performer, teacher and recording artist. Trotman’s playing, though inspired by Grover Washington, Jr., Kirk Whalum and Arturo Tappin (Elan’s childhood mentor), displays his own fresh ideas and distinctive tone. So much so that the New England Urban Music Awards, and The Barbados Music Awards both named him Jazz Artist of The Year on multiple occasions. Born and raised in Barbados, the native island of pop star Rihanna, and educated at the world-renowned Berklee College Of Music in Boston,Trotman approaches jazz in his own way. Blending Caribbean rhythms from his roots with skillful horn textures, his playing is full of surprises.

 

Trotman has recorded and performed with a number of world-class musicians, including Michael McDonald, Roberta Flack, Jonathan Butler, Keiko Matsui, Johnny Gill, Earl Klugh, Jeff Lorber, Peter White, Brian Simpson and many others. A huge sports fan, Trotman has performed the National Anthem on numerous occasions for such teams as the Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers. He put together the band that performed for NBA star Ray Allen’s wedding and performs annually for Theo Epstein’s charity event “Hot Stove Cool Music,”jamming with pro pitcher Bronson Arroyo and former ESPN analyst Peter Gammons.

 

As a recording artist, Elan has already been credited with 7-top 25 Billboard Radio singles, from his own albums Love and Sax (“Heaven In Your Eyes“), Tropicality (“Tradewinds” and “Masterblaster“), and from collaborations with Brian Simpson (“Just What You Need“), Greg Manning (“Groove Me“), Cal Harris Jr (“Smooth“) and Lin Rountree (“As“). Known to compose and produce all of his projects, Trotman’s discography is currently at 7 and growing, with the success of his latest albums:”Love and Sax“,”Tropicality” and “#LiveandUncut“.

 

Join us at BLU Jazz+ as we welcome this exciting international jazz artist back to the Rubber City – get your tickets today!

[read more]

8:00 pm

$25 (advance), $30 (door)

Buy Tickets


Oct
4

Jackie Warren Northeast Ohio jazz & salsa pianist sensation brings her high-energy artistry to BLU for a very special midweek show! Featured guests often join the area's "First Lady of Jazz" for a tune or two - don't miss it!

Wednesday, October 4



Jackie Warren, a cornerstone of the Cleveland jazz & salsa scenes, is one of the most in-demand pianists in the area and has rightfully earned the nickname “Cleveland’s First Lady of Jazz.” As an educator, she has taught at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C), and maintains a private studio. Ms. Warren has shared the stage with giants in both the jazz & salsa idioms, including David Fathead Newman, Benny Bailey, Clark Terry, Frank Morgan, Bobby Watson, Frank Foster, Jane Bunnett and the Spirits of Havana, Los Munequitos de Matanzas, Othello Molineaux, Donald Harrison, Gerald Wilson, & Jimmy Heath to name a few.

 

 

Enjoy dinner, cocktails and some midweek swingin’ jazz every Wednesday!

[read more]

8:00 pm

Free

Buy Tickets


Oct
5

East-Central Jazz Educators All-Star Big Band: “The Magic Continues” The driving & hard-swingin' big band sounds of Count Basie, Jay McShann, & Tadd Dameron are celebrated in this special show, including highlights from the group's upcoming album release, "The Magic Continues!"

Thursday, October 5



Comprised of musicians that hail from all across the region (representing Tri-C, Cleveland State University, Youngstown State University, Slippery Rock University, Duquesne University, Ohio State University, and the University of Cincinnati), the esteemed East-Central Jazz Educators All-Star Big Band makes their roarin’ return to BLU with “The Magic Continues!”

 

Transcribed and orchestrated for the ECJE All-Star Big Band by co-director & lead alto saxophonist, Dr. Kent Englehart, the program will showcase the music of Count Basie, Jay McShann Big Band with Charlie Parker, and Tadd Dameron’s compositions & arrangements penned for Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins, Illinois Jacquet and Dizzy Gillespie!

 

Join us for this very special evening at BLU Jazz+ with the return of this incredible group of top-notch players – get your tickets today!

[read more]

8:00 pm

$10

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Oct
6

David Berkman / Tim Armacost Quartet Master NYC pianist/composer and Northeast Ohio native returns for his first hometown performance in over a decade with a masterclass (6PM, FREE) and concert (8PM) at BLU! Featuring Grammy-nominated saxophonist, Tim Armacost, with Aidan Plank & Zaire Darden. Co-presented by the BLU Jazz Masterclass Foundation & BOP Stop at the Music Settlement.
Concert + Masterclass

Friday, October 6



Since moving to New York in 1985, David Berkman has been an essential part of the jazz community. He is a highly sought-after pianist with a unique, creative and swinging personal voice and a highly regarded composer and arranger. He is an award-winning composer/bandleader (Doris Duke/ChamberMusic America) and a recording artist with 8 recordings under his name that have appeared on numerous best records of the year critic’s lists (the New York Times, the Village Voice, Downbeat, JazzIz, Jazz Times and others). David Berkman is a busy educator, an associate professor and director of Jazz Studies at Queens College in New York and has published three books on jazz with Sher Music Publishing (“The Jazz Musician’s Guide to Creative Practice”, “The Jazz Singer’s Guidebook” and “The Jazz Harmony Book”) that are used in many universities worldwide.

 

 

Berkman has played in countless bands including those of Cecil McBee, Tom Harrell and the Vanguard Orchestra and has performed with and/or recorded and/or arranged for numerous jazz luminaries, including: Sonny Stitt, Brian Blade, Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas, Ray Drummond, Billy Hart, Dick Oatts, Chris Potter, Scott Wendholt, Lenny White, Scott Colley, Craig Handy, Bill Stewart, Dave Stryker, FatheadNewman, Bob Berg, Shunzo Ohno, Hank Crawford, and Jane Monheit. Now appearing more often as a bandleader, David Berkman has performed solo and with his quartet, quintet and sextet at festivals, clubs and concert halls in the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, the U.K. and Asia.

 

His most recent CD, “Old Friends and New Friends” (2015, on Palmetto Records) with Brian Blade, Linda May Han Oh, Billy Drewes, Adam Kolker and Dayna Stephens has received rave reviews worldwide. (He performs regularly with this sextet—the next performance will be live-streamed at Smalls Jazz Club in New York September 27 and 28). He co-leads the New York Standards Quartet which just finished its 12th annual Japanese tour.

[read more]

6:00 pm, 8:00 pm

$20 ($10 student w/ ID at door)

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Contact

 
 
BLU Jazz+ was named one of the "Best Jazz Venues in the World" by DownBeat Magazine (2016, 2017)*
   
 
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.
   
 

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