How Tri-C made me a Jazzhead | Blog

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How Tri-C made me a Jazzhead | Blog

Gill & Tommy LiPuma Center for Creative Arts

Since 2007, I have looked forward to Cuyahoga Community College’s (Tri-C) Jazz Fest. My introduction to the Fest was as a volunteer during adjudication days, and I had no clue about what I was in for. I got to the Metro Campus before 9:00 a.m. then school buses filled with kids started to roll up. As I stood behind the coat check counter, grade school kids entered then handed me their instruments. One constant thought I had throughout the day was: this young person knows how to play this thing. I couldn’t call the thing by its actual name because I didn’t know it. A second non-stop thought I had was one of self-reflection: what was I doing at 12 or 13 or 15 years of age. My answer to myself was: probably not something as constructive as what these youngsters are doing. Then I watched the school kids perform before professional jazz musicians and that thought, feeling, and sight are something I have experienced for fifteen years which is one of complete awww.   

I wanted to be like these young people so much that I took the Survey of Jazz and wha-la, I understand what the jazz musicians and vocalists are doing. Prior to taking this course, I didn’t really care for Louis Armstrong’s singing but that has changed. I had not heard of Bill Evans, but now he is on my ultra short list of favorite jazz musicians – primarily because I could see myself playing the piano like him, but not like Oscar Peterson. My favorite vocalist is Ella Fitzgerald – primarily because my vocal coach told me, “you should be able to sing her because your voice sits where hers does.”  Yes! 

Because of a bunch of grade schoolers, Tri-C Jazz Fest is at the top of my annual must do list. The only one I have missed since my first was in 2021. I will not go into specifics why I missed but I will disclose that I was so happy to go to Jazz Fest in 2022. I also can’t wait for Jazz Fest 2023! 


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