Volume 40

Holy Toledo II: Jazz in Toledo

Toledo’s Hot Jazz Spots and Highlighters


  • Cynthia Kaay
  • Jon Hendricks
  • The Skip Turner Band
  • Trombone Shorty

It does not take long to realize Toledo has some fantastic venues for enjoying all types of Jazz!   One of the newest locations in the heart of downtown and on the historic river, “Jazz on the Maumee”, in the new and exciting Best Western Hotel on the renewing Summit Street. Kay Elliot, the spokesperson for Art Tatum Jazz Society, is leading the push for Jazz being revitalized here in downtown Toledo. In the last 6 months I have enjoyed Jon Hendrix, Clifford Murphy, and now Trombone Shorty. The weekly venue at the Premiere Best Western “Aqua Bar” is a place any visitor or native of Toledo can enjoy some quality local jazz musicians.


To continue up the Maumee River to Maumee Ohio, one can catch some fantastic Jazz at Dégagé Jazz Café in the Red Wells/Historic Commercial Building. Fine food, top jazz, and other musicians can be enjoyed. Cynthia Kaay Bennett and her trio/quartet perform once a month along with The Skip Turner Band in other weekend gigs. A voice like Cynthia’s and a big jazz band sound from Skip Turner can make a boring night--simply awesome! Besides the music, some fine food and spirits can make a night something to enjoy.


Last but surely not least is the world wide renown Toledo Art Museum and the beautiful Peristyle. The highlight of my visits, was the incredible Ray Charles and the Toledo Symphony jamming together just before his death just a few years ago. “Trombone Shorty” (Troy Andrews), danced his way into the hearts of many Toledoans in September! What a tribute to “New Orleans” jazz in Toledo.


Toledo historically has had a super jazz tradition. Located “in between” the more populated Chicago and Detroit--many jazz lovers have enjoyed the very best in musical attractions here on the Western Basin of Lake Erie.



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