Saturday, December 9, 2023

Second Annual Glass City JazzFest Features Renowned Artists

The City of Toledo, in partnership with The Great Lakes Jazz Society, Metroparks Toledo, Lucas County, Toledo Area Transit Authority (TARTA), Destination Toledo, Fifth Third Bank, and a host of nonprofits, have united to bring you the second annual Glass City JazzFest happening Saturday, Aug. 12. It’s being held along the banks of the Maumee River at the Glass City Pavilion, 983 Front St., from 12 pm to Sunset.

Hosted by Toledo’s own world-renowned jazz internet station “The H-Factor Jazz Show,” this year’s line-up of artists includes native Toledoans. Singer and songwriter Ramona Collins, as well as pianist John Cunningham, featuring the Rock Steady Band.

This year’s lineup also includes Salsa and Latin Jazz percussionist and band leader, Sammy Deleon Y Orquesta, the Toronto-based electro-jazz grooves of Four80East, Jazz/R&B saxophonist Jeanette Harris with multi-Billboard charting artist and guitarist, David P. Stevens, and Grammy Award-winning keyboardist composer-producer, Jeff Lorber.

“Jazz evolves over time, all the time,” Cheryl Catlin, Treasurer of the Great Lakes Jazz Society, said. “What we try to do with the festival is show traditional and modern forms of Jazz while also serving as a reminder that so much of modern music is rooted in Jazz. Even in the early days of Hip Hop, the most sampled artists were Jazz artists. It’s America’s original artform; it’s still very much alive, takes on many forms and is represented by many cultures all around the world”. 

Catlin also explained the Jazz Society’s motto is that Jazz cannot be defined, but rather experienced.

“We want people to experience it to grow new Jazz lovers,” Catlin said. “It’s not just about appreciating the past, it’s also showcasing how the past is evolving and influencing the next generation of listeners, players and performers.” 

A portion of the proceeds generated at the festival will go toward Jazz education for our local youth thanks to the efforts of the Great Lakes Jazz Society and BeInstrumental, including scholarships to provide musical instruments and lessons.

“Music is really important for our youth; you don’t know who the next Miles Davis is unless you can put an instrument in their hands,” Catlin said.

Compared to 2022, the 2023 installment of the Glass City JazzFest wanted to showcase national and international jazz talents while also showcasing local talent. Outside of Toledo, this year’s lineup features performers from Texas, Cleveland, Toronto, Fresno and Los Angeles. The Great Lakes Jazz Society also organized “Toledo Jazz Week,” running Aug. 7 through Friday, Aug. 11, to shine a spotlight on local and regional jazz artists to help build momentum and anticipation for the JazzFest itself. 

Another goal of the Glass City JazzFest is to help make Toledo more of a destination city and more employment opportunities for local and regional musicians.

“Toledo has a fabulous infrastructure, a clear example being our metroparks,” Catlin said. “We need people to be proud of them and to make people out of town aware of the facilities we have here. Also, we want to make people aware of the history Toledo has, not just for Jazz.”

The Great Lakes Jazz Society invites all residents throughout Toledo, Northwestern Ohio and Southeast Michigan to join them at the Metroparks Glass City Pavilion for a full day of good food, local arts, crafts vendors and live Jazz music for people of all ages.

Glass City Jazz Fest. Saturday, August 12. 12 pm to Sunset. 983 Front St, Toledo, OH 43605,

Toledo Jazz Week: August 7 to August 11,

Tanner Wertz

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