Following his sold-out show in the ballroom in 2017, Ignacio Berroa, drummer for the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, will return to the Fitton Center on Saturday, Sept. 21 at 7:30 p.m. with the “Ignacio Berroa Trio: Straight Ahead from Havana.” CONTRIBUTED

Legendary drummer returning to Fitton Center for Hamilton show

Ignacio Berroa played with Dizzy Gillespie and other jazz greats

The Fitton Center will present the “Ignacio Berroa Trio: Straight Ahead from Havana” in the theater on Saturday, Sept. 21, as part of the Fitton Showstoppers! series.

“Fitton Showstoppers!, which is our premier series in the theater, focuses on high quality entertainment. We have national and international touring artists performing here, as well as local artists. We try to find a way to have incredible, affordable entertainment right here in downtown Hamilton,” said Ian MacKenzie-Thurley, executive director of the Fitton Center.

Berroa will return with his Cuban trio for an evening of Afro-Cuban jazz.

“I’m really excited about our first show of the year on September 21 with Ignacio Berroa. Ignacio was here for a sold-out show a couple of years ago up in the ballroom. This year, he will perform in the theater with his trio from Miami, Florida. Ignacio was Dizzy Gillespie’s drummer. We are talking about one of the finest jazz drummers on planet Earth, and I really mean that. … He has played everywhere, and he loves coming to Hamilton,” MacKenzie-Thurley said.

Berroa was born in Havana, Cuba in 1953, and by 1975, he became Cuba’s most sought-after drummer. He joined the Dizzy Gillespie Quartet in 1981, and remained the drummer for Gillespie’s multiple bands — including The Dizzy Gillespie 70th Anniversary Big Band, The Dizzy Gillespie All Stars Big Band and the Grammy Award-winning, United Nation Orchestra — until Gillespie’s passing in 1993. Berroa has also performed and recorded with McCoy Tyner, Chic Corea, Freddie Hubbard and Wynton Marsalis, to name a few.

While attending the concert, guests can stop by the Fitton’s latest exhibition, “Inner Fragments and Sign of the Times,” which will remain on display through Friday, Oct. 4.

Also, coming up in September, guests can attend Celebrating Self on Wednesday, Sept. 4 at 11:30 a.m. with the Butler County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Response Services. As part of the Fitton Family Fridays series, Aesop’s Fables presented by Lexington Children’s Theatre will come to the stage on Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m. On Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 7 p.m., the Fitton Film Club will present “The Big Lebowski” (Rated R).

Other upcoming season performances will include “Shades of Buble’ — A Three-Man Tribute to Michael Buble’” on Saturday, March 14 and a night of musical reflections on the Shifty Art Exhibition at the Fitton with a concert by the Butler Philharmonic Orchestra on Saturday, Feb. 1.

After the success of their previous “David Bowie,” “Women of Rock” and “Kickin’ Some Brass” shows, the Just Strange Brothers band will return on Saturday, May 16 with “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” featuring the sights and sounds of Sir Elton John.

The “Fitton Christmas Show” led by Nancy James and backed by the River City Band will include two shows this year on Dec. 14 and 15. For a complete list of performances, events and activities, and to purchase tickets, go to

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