Lakeland Jazz Festival Features Pros in Concert and Student Ensembles

Chuchito Valdes

Fri 3/17-Sun 3/19

The Lakeland Jazz Festival, at Lakeland Community College in Mentor, is a hybrid event: an adjudicated competition for student ensembles and concerts for jazz lovers, taking place over three days.

Daytime Friday from 9am-3pm is dedicated to the middle school and high school ensembles competing; it’s free and open to anyone who just wants to enjoy hearing what talented young people can do.

That evening at 8pm, jazz lovers can take in what some of the upcoming generation of professional musicians are working on when guitarist Dan Bruce’s eight-member :beta collective performs his original compositions and arrangements. Admission is $15, $7 for students. And ticketholders can come at 7:15 to hear Bruce talk about the band and what his intentions are for the music.

On Saturday March 18 at 8pm, the festival brings audiences a special treat: the lively Latin jazz of Chuchito Valdés’ All-Star Cuban Quartet. Chuchito is well-known to local audiences from his performances at Nighttown; this is a rare chance to hear him with his international quartet. He’ll also be doing a pre-concert talk at 7-7:30pm. Tickets are $30, $15 for students.

Thing wrap up on Sunday March 19 with the Big Band matinee, featuring two jazz orchestras: the Lakeland Civic Jazz Orchestra led by Demetrius Steinmetz and the Cleveland State University Jazz Ensemble, led by John Perrine. The Lakeland ensemble will play music from the library of Sammy Nestico, known for his arrangements of the Count Basie Orchestra, as well as some blues and bossa nova. Tickets are $10, $7 for students.


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