Dr. John, Krall & Other Stars To Honor LiPuma at Tri-C Jazz Fest


Dr. John (pictured) is among the performers who will salute producer Tommy LiPuma on June 23 as part of the Tri-C Jazz Festival in Cleveland.

(Photo: Bruce Weber)

The city of Cleveland will honor a hometown hero when Tommy LiPuma, one of the most successful producers in jazz history, will be feted with a special 80th birthday concert featuring performances by Diana Krall, Al Jarreau, Dr. John, Leon Russell and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra on June 23.

Billed as Tommy LiPuma’s Big Birthday Bash, the show will kick off the 37th annual Tri-C Jazz Fest (June 23–25) at Cleveland’s Connor Palace at Playhouse Square.

LiPuma is widely acknowledged as an innovator in the music industry, respected for his keen ear and knack for identifying new talent. His career milestones include stints at such venerable institutions as A&M, Blue Thumb, Warner Bros. and Elektra. He was also president of The GRP Recording Co. and chairman of The Verve Music Group.

As a producer, LiPuma has collaborated with Miles Davis, Natalie Cole, George Benson, Sir Paul McCartney and Barbra Streisand.

LiPuma, a native of Cleveland, has produced albums that have combined for sales in excess of 75 million units. Additionally, LiPuma has won five Grammy awards among his 36 nominations.

Beginning as a professional saxophone player, LiPuma became a record promoter in his mid-20s, joining M.S. Distributors in Cleveland in 1960. He made his recording debut with the O’Jays in 1965 and went on to become the very first A&R man at the just-launched A&M Records.

In 2012, the board of trustees of Cleveland’s Cuyahoga Community College named the campus arts center the Tommy LiPuma Center for Creative Arts in recognition of LiPuma’s support of the college and its students. Though he currently lives in New York, he continues to serve the college as a guest lecturer and faculty adviser.

LiPuma produced the forthcoming album by trumpeter Dominick Farinacci, whose Short Stories is due out June 10 on Mack Avenue. The recording marks the first time that nationally recognized artists, engineers and producers have made an entire album at Tri-C’s Tommy LiPuma Center for Creative Arts. Farinacci, who is also a Cleveland native, first met LiPuma at age 16, when he was a participant in the Tri-C Jazz Studies program.

In addition to Tommy LiPuma’s Big Birthday Bash, the 2016 Tri-C Jazz Festival will include performances by pianist Chick Corea (June 24), David Sanborn and Maceo Parker (June 24), Terence Blanchard’s E-Collective (June 25), Melissa Aldana and Somi (June 25) and more.

For a complete lineup, visit the festival’s website.

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