Lakeland News Posting

45th Annual Lakeland Jazz Festival celebrates the 100th anniversary of Dizzy Gillespie’s birth

Posted: March 7, 2017

The Lakeland Jazz Festival celebrates its 45th anniversary this year with a special tribute to jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie. The three-day festival commences Friday, March 17, at 8 p.m. with Northeast Ohio fan favorite and international recording artist Ernie Krivda with an all-star quartet. The Dizzy Gillespie All Stars, featuring legendary members of Dizzy Gillespie's band will perform Saturday, March 18, at 8 p.m., highlighting the music Gillespie performed from the 40s and 50s. On Sunday, March 19, at 4 p.m., the college hosts a Big Band Matinee with two big bands - the Lakeland Civic Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of Dave Sterner and the Kent State Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of Bobby Selvaggio.

In addition, the festival will be honoring Chuck Frank, former Lakeland professor and music department chair who started the Lakeland Jazz Festival 45 years ago, with a special celebration at the Friday night concert.

All performances are held in the Dr. Wayne L. Rodehorst Performing Arts Center in Building D on the main campus of Lakeland Community College, 7700 Clocktower Drive, Kirtland.

Tickets for the Friday night Ernie Krivda All Star Quartet concert are $15 for general admission and $7 for students. Tickets for the Saturday night Dizzy Gillespie All Stars concert are $30 for general admission and $15 for students. Tickets for the Sunday afternoon Big Band Matinee are $10 for general admission and $7 for students. For ticket purchases visit or call 440.525.7134.

The weekend also is dedicated to the jazz education community in Northeast Ohio with middle and high school jazz bands and ensembles performing for adjudication. The concerts are free and open to the public. Visit for the performance schedule.

About Dizzy Gillespie

John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie (1917-1993) was one of the greatest trumpeters of all time. He was a virtuoso who became famous for the monumental impact he had on jazz music. As a band member, band leader, singer and composer, he pioneered a new, more modern sound called “bop” or “bebop” that catapulted jazz music to immense popularity starting in the late 40s. Throughout his lengthy career,he joined many bands and groups, recorded numerous songs and records, and played with some of the greatest names in music, including Ella Fitzgerald, Woody Herman, Jimmy Dorsey and Duke Ellington. Gillespie led tours overseas for the U.S. State Department, headlined on many television shows, performed with symphonies, and later in life led the United Nations Orchestra. He became the tireless ambassador for this new form of music, and his passion and meteoric talent earned Gillespie the title of the elder statesman of jazz. Known for his blossoming cheeks, endearing personality and oddly bent horn, Gillespie became a legend and the inspiration to the most noted trumpet players in contemporary music.

About the Dizzy Gillespie All Stars

The Dizzy Gillespie All Stars perform as a quintet, and the program material is based on Gillespie’s music of the 40s and 50s. The band is led by John Lee, Gillespie’s long time bassist; and includes Claudio Roditi on trumpet and Tommy Campbell on drums, also members of Gillespie’s bands; Cyrus Chestnut on piano; and Eric Alexander on tenor saxophone. This line-up forms a stellar body of musicians who are veterans of Gillespie’s bands or represent some of the best and brightest of the next generation of jazz. All of them are international recording and touring artists in their own right and are well-known throughout the world.

The concert is in celebration of Dizzy Gillespie's centennial birthday.

About the Lakeland Jazz Festival
The Lakeland Jazz Festival is a presentation of the Arts and Sciences Division of Lakeland Community College. The festival was founded by retired professor and music department Chair Charles M. Frank. Lakeland's Jazz Festival has remained true to its original mission of instilling the excitement and magic of jazz education to the younger generation of musicians. Over 30,000 middle and high school musicians from throughout the state have participated in the festival in celebration of this uniquely American art form, jazz.

Festival coordinators are Lakeland professors Dave Sterner whose email is and Stephen Stanziano Ph.D. whose email is

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  • Arts at Lakeland
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