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!
Jazz guitarist Peter Bernstein has been a part of the jazz scene in New York and abroad since 1989. During that time he has participated in numerous recordings and performances with musicians from all generations. As a leader, Peter has released nine albums and a DVD. As a sideman Peter has appeared in groups led by Sonny Rollins, Bobby Hutcherson, George Coleman, Lou Donaldson, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Fathead Newman, Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Diana Krall, Lee Konitz, Jimmy Cobb and many more.
Current projects include his album, Monk, with Doug Weiss and Bill Stewart, a recently released solo record, Solo Guitar – Live at Smalls, and the highly acclaimed organ trio with organist Larry Goldings and drummer Bill Stewart.
Don’t miss your chance to hear this legendary musician during his special visit to Northeast Ohio – get your tickets today![read more]
$20 (FREE for YSU show attendees)Buy Tickets
Presented by the BLU Jazz+ Masterclass Foundation, our 3rd annual BLU Jazz+ Student All-Stars Concert Series continues as we feature the talented student ensembles from the Youngstown State University jazz guitar studio, under the direction of Dr. Francois Fowler! Proceeds from this event are split between Youngstown State University’s jazz program and the BLU Jazz+ Masterclass Foundation, so bring your friends and family out and show your support for these awesome local groups! Be sure to stick around after the concert for very special concert appearance at 9PM featuring international jazz guitarist sensation, Peter Bernstein!
Featured student musicians include Anthony Kunovic, Nicholas Frank, Nicholas Jones, Alex Ayers, Justin Randall, Ian Kinnaman, Zach Connely, Jesse DeLorenzo, Herbie Hunkele, Alex Miller, and Sam Gregory.[read more]
$15 (FREE for students w/ ID at door)Buy Tickets
Esto Jazz is a group of musicians who enjoy playing a variety of good music, especially jazz and instrumental pop. The goal of the group is to play music that is recognizable but is pliable enough to be stretched in various ways. They also perform a variety of originals written by saxophonist, Bob Esterle (bandleader/saxophonist).
Bandleader Bob Esterle has shared the stage with the likes of Bobby Caldwell, Olivia Newton-John, Sandy Duncan, Ray Charles, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Frankie Avalon, Martha Reeves, The Platters, The Fifth Dimension, The Four Lads, Rich Little, Joan Rivers, Guy Lombardo, Hal Linden and Red Skelton. He has also performed for Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Be sure to catch this top-notch local band in their return to BLU Jazz+! Featuring Bob Esterle, Duncan Crooks, Wilbur Krebs, and James “J.R.” Richley.[read more]
Althea was born December 25th in Detroit, Michigan and began her musical journey at the tender age four. She studied classical music while attending Howard University in Washington D.C. and later gained further musical inspiration from the accomplishments of Yusef Lateef, Ian Anderson, and her father, one of Motown’s original Funk Brothers, Dezie McCullers. She has since developed her own creative style.
For more than 10 years she was employed as a Wayne County Deputy Sheriff (Detroit, Michigan). Today, she is a full-time performing/recording artist and some regard her as a “master of her craft” and one of the world’s most exciting solo improvisational flutists.
In May 2013, she released her fifth project “In The Flow”. Collaborating with Grammy award winning producer Michael Broening, (producer for legendary icons George Benson and Paul McCartney) she cowrote the title track. That single became her biggest hit and reached number one ranking on both the Billboard Chart and the Smooth Jazz Chart. Althea Rene made history by becoming the first flute player in the history of Billboard Chart to reach the number one spot.
In April 2015, Althea Rene recorded her first live project. She and her rhythm section annihilated the stage of the beautiful Detroit Public Library with a free concert. Music fans from all over Michigan enjoyed a scorching hot performance. A compilation of some of her greatest hits, “Live in Detroit” is arguably her strongest work to date.
Get your tickets early and join us for an unforgettable night of feel good music with Althea and her band![read more]
$25 (advance), $30 (door)Buy Tickets
Of Brooklyn-based saxophonist Noah Preminger, The New York Times declares: “Mr. Preminger designs a different kind of sound for each note, an individual destiny and story.” Steadily listed as one of the best tenor saxophonists worldwide by critics & readers in the annual DownBeat Magazine Poll, Preminger, just 29, has recorded numerous critically acclaimed albums and is steadily listed as one of the best tenor saxophonists by critics and readers on the annual Downbeat Poll. Two new recordings are expected by early 2016, including an all-ballads date on the French vinyl label, Newvelle Records, and a recording inspired by Delta Mississippi Blues musicians, Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground.
Born in 1986, Preminger grew up in Canton, Connecticut. Preminger released his debut album, Dry Bridge Road, just after his 21st birthday and was named Debut of the Year in the Village Voice Critics Poll. Preminger’s second and third albums as a leader came in 2011 and 2013 while signed to the Palmetto Records label. The Boston Globe says Preminger’s music is “… impressive, challenging, and beautiful.” The saxophonist has performed on key stages from the United States to Europe and Australia, and he has played and/or recorded with the likes of Billy Hart, Dave Holland, John Patitucci, Fred Hersch, Dave Douglas, Rudy Royston, Rob Garcia, Joe Lovano, Victor Lewis, John and Bucky Pizzarelli, Billy Drummond, George Cables, Roscoe Mitchell, and Dr. Eddie Henderson.
Don’t miss a very special evening at BLU with this rising-star saxophonist from Brooklyn – get your tickets today![read more]
6:00 pm, 8:00 pm
$20 ($10 students w/ ID at door)Buy Tickets
Saxophonist Donny McCaslin and his band, featured on David Bowie’s Blackstar, made their Motéma Music debut with the October 2016 release of Beyond Now, a highly anticipated album dedicated to Bowie. Recorded nearly three months after Bowie’s passing, the project is deeply influenced by their extraordinary experience collaborating with one of the greatest artists of all-time on his final album.
“It was like a dream except it was something I never could have dreamed of,” reflects McCaslin on working hand-in-hand with Bowie on Blackstar. “David Bowie was a visionary artist whose generosity, creative spirit, and fearlessness will stay with me the rest of my days. Beyond Now is dedicated to him and to all who loved him.”
Comprised of core Blackstar personnel, bassist Tim Lefebvre (Tedeschi Trucks Band, Saturday Night Live), drummer Mark Guiliana (Meshell Ndegeocello, Brad Mehldau), and Jason Lindner(Now Vs Now) along with guitarist Nate Wood and producer David Binney, Beyond Now’s repertoire is expansive, comprised of two Bowie songs, covers of Deadmau5, MUTEMATH, and the Chainsmokers, as well as compelling McCaslin originals including the title composition, inspired by a track inspired by a song McCaslin recorded for Blackstar that didn’t make the album.
With three GRAMMY® nominations and 11 albums to his name, McCaslin’s path to Bowie and Beyond Now can be traced back to 2011 with the release of his album Perpetual Motion, taking on an electric direction for the first time in contrast to his previous acoustic projects. Two subsequent albums Casting for Gravity (2012) and Fast Future (2015) released with his working band were directly influenced by electronica artists (covering groups such as Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, and Baths), which netted McCaslin a 2013 GRAMMY® nomination for “Best Improvised Jazz Solo.”
The once in a lifetime opportunity to work with David Bowie came after composer Maria Schneider, a longtime collaborator, recommended McCaslin and his group to Bowie. Schneider and Bowie were collaborating on the track “Sue (Or in a Season of Crime),” which featured McCaslin as a soloist. In June 2014, Bowie heeded Schneider’s advice and made a visit to hear McCaslin and company at the 55 Bar in Greenwich Village. Soon after, Bowie began corresponding with McCaslin over email and sending music, forming a new collaboration and friendship that transpired through the recording of Blackstar until Bowie’s passing. The result is Beyond Now, which documents “David Bowie’s Last Band” as they were processing both their grief and Bowie’s distinctive impact.
“This new album is an expression of that journey for all of us,” says McCaslin. “David allowed Blackstar to be what it was going to be regardless of how people might have categorized it. More than anything, it was his fearlessness in crossing musical boundaries and genres in his music and life that inspired the approach I’m taking in Beyond Now. I am indebted to Bowie for showing me the risks and rewards of going for your uncompromising musical vision.”[read more]
6:00 pm, 8:00 pm
$20 ($10 students w/ ID at door)Buy Tickets
Monika Herzig has experienced first hand how difficult it is for women to break into the jazz world. With her passion for excellent music and empowering fellow musicians, “The Whole World in Her Hands” was born.
Her newest release, The Whole World in Her Hands, on Whaling City Sounds features a cast of female all-star instrumentalists including Leni Stern, Jamie Baum, Jane Bunnett, Lakecia Benjamin, Linda Oh, Reut Regev, Jennifer Vincent, Arianna Fanning, Mayra Casales, and Anna Butterss. Previous releases on Owl Studios and ACME Records received rave reviews. Thomas Garner from Garageradio.com writes, “I was totally awed by the fine musicianship throughout”. As a recipient of the 1994 Down Beat Magazine Award for her composition “Let’s Fool One” and with several Big Band Arrangements published with the University of Northern Colorado Press, Herzig has also gathered international recognition for her writing skills. The Monika Herzig Trio can be heard every Saturday at Rick’s Cafe Boatyard at Eagle Creek Reservoir in Indianapolis.[read more]
$20 ($10 students w/ ID at door)Buy Tickets
James Johnson III began playing the drums at the age of five in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. James’ early music experiences were centered around family life and shaped by the music of the church. His father, Dr. James Johnson Jr., a nationally known pianist and educator, sparked his passion for music. Johnson attended CAPA — Pittsburgh’s high school for the creative and performing arts. It was here he came under the mentorship of the drummer Roger Humphries.
In 1999, James was invited to tour with jazz legend Ahmad Jamal for many years. With Ahmad, James has performed all over the world, appearing in major jazz venues and festivals. As a member of the Ahmad Jamal trio, James has performed in some places such as the Cully jazz festival in Switzerland, the North Sea jazz festival in South Africa and the Dublin jazz festival and many others. Mr. Johnson has performed with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. James has played with jazz greats such as George Coleman, James Moody, Kenny Garrett, Benny Golson, Mulgrew Miller, Russell Ferrante, Bob Mintzer and Kenny Werner. James released his first solo album in 2014 entitled Between. James is presently working as head of the drum department at the Afro-American-Music-Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is also serves as artist in residence at Pitt University’s music department working with various jazz ensembles under the direction of Geri Allen. James also spends a great deal of time producing music for national and local artists.
Join us at BLU Jazz+ as we welcome this sensational drummer & his all-star band for an evening of premier live jazz – get your tickets today![read more]
Huntertones is a high energy horn-driven group founded in Columbus, OH and currently based in Brooklyn, NY. Their signature sound is a marriage of inspired improvisation and adventurous compositions that meld jazz, funk, soul, hip-hop, R&B, and rock. The band met at The Ohio State University and got their start playing house shows at their Hunter Avenue apartment. In addition to covering a wide range of genres, they’re known for the ability to shift from a dynamic six-piece ensemble to an unconventional trio featuring saxophone, sousaphone, and beat-boxing.
The band started 2016 with a month-long tour of North America, South America, and Africa through the American Music Abroad program. They were selected by the U.S. Department of State and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to engage international audiences, students, and artists from around the globe. In September, Huntertones will release their second album, ‘Live.’ This record captures the band in its element, performing genre-bending music while feeding on the energy of a hometown crowd.
Individually, members of Huntertones have compiled a diverse resume of collaborations with top artists in the pop, jazz, soul, and musical theater worlds. This includes work with Jon Batiste and Stay Human (The Late Show with Stephen Colbert), O.A.R., Snarky Puppy, Andy Grammer, Ed Sheeran, Allen Stone, Gary Clark Jr., Phillip Phillips, Ricky Martin, Umphrey’s McGee, Red Baraat, and more.
Don’t miss your chance to hear one our favorite artists in their return to the Rubber City – get your tickets today![read more]
Drummer, composer and arranger, Xavier Breaker has played with various artists throughout his career including Joe Sample, Randy Crawford, Howard Hewitt, Lalah Hathaway, Ernie Watts, Joey DeFrancesco, Bob Mintzer, Brad Leali, and Jonathan Scales.
He has also played for some of Chicago’s finest including Corey Wilkes, Kahil El Zabar, Dee Alexander, Chicago Jazz Orchestra, Chicago Yestet, Sidewalk Chalk, and many others.
The Xavier Breaker Coalition was formed in 2013 as an effort to design a group that can thrive in a variety of musical situations. The Coalition opened for many groups, including Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express and HBC (Scott Henderson, Jeff Berlin, Dennis Chambers). They have been featured in many festivals including the Chicago Jazz Festival and have been the first-call house band for the Keilworth “Saxophone Idol” competition since 2013. The Coalition released their debut album, “Dreamology,” in 2015. Xavier endorses Paiste Cymbals.
Join us as this very special artist makes his debut at BLU Jazz+ with a swingin’ all-star band, get your tickets now![read more]
|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.|