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5 things to do in NEO: Cuban jazz, Juneteenth celebrations and more

 Piano player Chuchito Valdés  plays the piano.
Jim Wadsworth Productions
Cuban jazz pianist Chuchito Valdés performs at the Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights Saturday night.

Hot Latin jazz, “Ragtime” music and Juneteenth festivities are on the to-do list this week. Here are five artistic offerings in Northeast Ohio for you to explore.

Latin jazz at the Grog Shop

Cuban jazz master Chuchito Valdés is the third-generation progeny of Cuban piano players Chucho, his father, and Bebo, his grandfather. A master of the mambo, Chuchito carries on the traditions of his late grandfather, the band leader for Havana’s famed Tropicana Club, and his father, the founder of the Grammy-winning band, Irakere. Valdés attacks the ivories with his Latin grooves Saturday night at the Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights starting at 7 p.m.

Juneteenth celebrations

Juneteenth is Monday and events across Northeast Ohio are taking place this weekend celebrating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Kent State University hosts its on-campus Juneteenth Jubilee Friday from 4-6:30 p.m., featuring poet Mwatabu Okantah and musician Vince Robinson. Meanwhile in Cleveland, the two-day Juneteenth Freedom Fest kicks off Friday at Mall C in Downtown Cleveland with a block party, concert by DJ and rapper Kid Capri and a fireworks finale.

‘Ragtime the Musical’ in Akron

Based on E.L. Doctorow’s 1974 novel, “Ragtime the Musical” won four Tony awards in 1998, and it was praised for its depiction of racism, police violence, feminism and the rights of immigrants. Weathervane Playhouse in Akron stages “Ragtime” Thursday at 7:30 p.m., with a run through July 9.

‘Legendary Ladies of Jazz’ dance tribute

A trio of female choreographers pay tribute to jazz masters like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone in a new work set on the Dancing Wheels Company. The Cleveland troupe is the preeminent dance company dedicated to the inclusion of disabled dancers with non-disabled dancers. The stand-up and sit-down members of the Dancing Wheels Company present “Legendary Ladies of Jazz” at Playhouse Square in Cleveland Friday at 8 p.m.

Akron Recording Company’s 5-year anniversary

In 2018 the Akron Recording Company moved into a 19th century factory building on Furnace Street where it’s welcomed Northeast Ohio artists to experience its unique combination of analog and digital recording technology. ARC celebrates the fifth anniversary of their home with DJs, live music, food and beverages Friday at 7 p.m.

Dave DeOreo is coordinating producer for Ideastream Public Media’s arts and culture team.