Sixteen bands selected to perform June 23-24 at Playhouse Square

CLEVELAND — Nearly 24 hours of live music showcasing the best of Northeast Ohio will take place at the summer’s hottest downtown music festival, the 38th annual Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland, presented by KeyBank.

The free performances will start at 2:30 p.m. and end at midnight Friday and Saturday, June 23-24, at Playhouse Square. Gifts from the George Gund Foundation and Strassman Insurance Services helped stage the shows.

A jury of music industry professionals vetted more than 100 bands to select those chosen to perform on the Strassman Insurance Stage on Euclid Avenue at East 14th Street.

“The outdoor lineup runs the gamut from blues and gospel to jazz and funk,” said Terri Pontremoli, festival director. “One thing is for sure: The dance floor on the avenue under the GE Chandelier will be jumping.”

Look for the following acts, listed by day of performance. A full schedule with performance times will be posted at closer to the event.

Friday, June 23

Montage: The runner-up at the 2017 Tri-C High School Rock Off comes to the stage from the Cleveland School of the Arts, where the trio attends classes.
Frisson: Led by composer and vibraphonist Matt DiBiase, this eight-piece collective of Oberlin Conservatory graduates combines jazz, fusion, R&B, rock and electronica.
Evelyn Wright Quartet: The powerful voice of Evelyn Wright — a 2008 Cleveland Jazz Legend Award winner — adds richness to the group’s offerings of traditional jazz, swing, Latin and R&B.
Eric Seddon’s Hot Club: This New Orleans-style roots jazz band is led by clarinetist Eric Seddon, who has performed with Grammy-winning musicians such as Doc Severinsen, the Moody Blues and the Emerson String Quartet.
Yosemight: The band’s live experimentation with musical genres promises to satisfy any harmonious hunger with tasty servings of rhythm, bass, guitar and piano.
Hubb’s Groove: The band dishes hard-hitting grooves with a mix of soul, jazz and R&B.
FunkyardX: This high-energy group of 10 musicians delivers funk like no other.

Saturday, June 24

East Central Jazz Educators Big Band: Class will be in session as this all-star collection of jazz professors from Ohio and Pennsylvania pays tribute to Cleveland’s own Tadd Dameron.
Sam Blakeslee Big Band: Prepare for a swinging and soulful tribute to Duke Ellington.
Bobby Selvaggio 4: Frontman Bobby Selvaggio presides as one of the leading alto saxophone voices on today’s jazz scene.
Lucas Kadish TUNDRA: This brilliant 21-year-old guitarist returns to his Cleveland roots with his NYC quartet.
Humbly Submitted: This group began its gospel journey more than 20 years ago and has worked with gospel greats such as BeBe Winans, Hezekiah Walker, Pastor Kim Burrell and Jonathan Nelson.
Eddie Baccus Sr. Quartet: Eddie Baccus Sr. — known for his “chatty” organ style — is a 1999 Cleveland Jazz Legend Award winner and master of the B-3.
Splitroot: This New Orleans-inspired group features banjo, clarinet and a delta feel.
Ernie Krivda’s Fat Tuesday Big Band: The 19-piece group and its legendary frontman have a well-earned reputation as one of the region’s hardest-swinging bands.
Sammy DeLeon y su Orquesta: Percussionist Sammy DeLeon — recipient of the 2016 Cleveland Jazz Legend Award — has performed with some of the world’s greatest Latin musicians and always rocks the stage.

The festival’s outdoor kickoff party — “Keyed Up!” — begins at 5:15 p.m. Friday, June 23, and will feature street musicians, the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Parade the Circle puppets and a line dance.

Other free outdoor activities during the weekend include the U.S. Bank KidBop children’s zone; cooking demonstrations; food trucks and vendors; games; Chemical Bank Jazz Talk Tent; and a Saturday morning yoga session.

JazzFest also features eight ticketed concerts with musical icons such as Chris Botti, Dianne Reeves, Boz Scaggs and more in Playhouse Square’s historic venues. Tickets are available through the Playhouse Square Box Office at 216-241-6000 or

For a complete indoor lineup, show times and ticket costs, visit