Paul Dietrich

Paul Dietrich

Paul Dietrich Jazz EnsembleThe Bur Oak — Sunday, May 15, 2022 — 7PM

By Michael Brenneis

Interview date: 04/29/2022

It would be a challenge to run an 18-piece jazz ensemble that plays non-traditional big band music anywhere, but the fact that Paul Dietrich does it in Wisconsin, and attracts the caliber of musicians that he does—and let’s face it, no one’s getting rich off of this—is a testament to his leadership, his composing and arranging prowess, and the individuality of his musical vision.



Kimmel-Ali-Harris Trio

Jeff Kimmel, Ishmael Ali, Bill Harris  — Audio for the Arts — Saturday, May 14, 2022 — 8PM

By Michael Brenneis

Interview date: 4/22/2022

Jeff Kimmel, Ishmael Ali, and Bill Harris commandeered an air b’n’b in the wilds of Michigan during the height of the pandemic in 2020 to record their latest release “Vivary.” The record is an abstract electro-acousitc tour-de-force, and a fitting document of this period of experimental existence.


Darren Johnston playing trumpet

Darren Johnston

Darren JohnstonCafe Coda — Saturday, May 7, 2022 — 8 PM

By Michael Brenneis

Interview date: 04/22/2022

Darren Johnston’s pandemic routine included lots of practicing the trumpet and composing. As things opened up he recorded three sessions of his music with different groups in New York and Chicago. The first of these albums “Life in Time” has now been released and will be showcased in Madison with his quartet of Chicago heavies.

For those keeping track: The name of the bassist Darren couldn’t remember is Joelle Leandre.



BallisterThe North Street Cabaret — Saturday, April 23, 2022 — 8PM

By Michael Brenneis

Interview date: 04/07/2022

Ballister is a trio of muscular disquisitive improvisors, whose palette is equal parts bombast, and subtle nuance. After thirteen years together and ten album releases, including this year’s Chrysopoeia, they’re still going strong.


Ken Vandermark playing tenor saxophone

Ken Vandermark

Ken Vandermark, Nate Wooley, Paul Lytton — Cafe Coda — Friday, April 15, 2022 — 7 PM

By Michael Brenneis

Interview date: 04/06/2022

When Ken Vandermark was last here with (air quotes) Laul Pytton, in March of 2020, although he didn’t know it he was days away from a canceled tour and an 18 month hiatus from the road. He returns triumphantly now with the full trio that was supposed to perform on that date – as his touring schedule ramps up to approach its pre-pandemic pace.


photo by Aleksandr Zykov on flickr

Craig Taborn playing the piano

Craig Taborn

Craig TabornCafe Coda — Thursday, April 14, 2022 — 7 PM

By Michael Brenneis

Interview date: 04/04/2022

Craig Taborn is one of the most brilliant and creative piano and keyboard artists working today. Someone who ordinarily prefers to let the music speak for itself, he was generous enough to join me on this program to discuss his history, and his conception, and approach — which are as deep as they are philosophical.


Ted Piltzecker playing vibes with four mallets

Ted Piltzecker

Ted PiltzeckerThe North Street Cabaret — Saturday, April 2, 2022 — 8PM

By Michael Brenneis

Interview date: 03/22/2022

Ted Piltzecker has a long history of traveling the world, spreading his lyrical approach to playing the vibraphone. He often collaborates with fine local players, and for this performance he has recruited the Lawrence University Faculty Jazz Ensemble.

For the curious: Two up-and-coming vibraphonists that Ted recommends looking for are Isaiah Petrie who is studying in Kansas City, MO, and Oliver Mayman in Ann Arbor, MI.

Quin Kirchner & Rob Clearfield

Quin Kirchner & Rob Clearfield

Quin Kirchner & Rob Clearfield  — Audio for the Arts — Friday, April 1, 2022 — 8PM

By Michael Brenneis

Interview date: 3/18/2022

The new album “Concentric Orbits” from Trans-Atlantic improvisers Quin Kirchner and Rob Clearfield was recorded during the sessions for Quin’s 2020 release “The Shadows and The Light.” Madison is fortunate to host the first night of the release tour for this album of compelling synergy.


Dave King playing drums and wearing a hat.

Dave King

The Bad PlusThe Bur Oak — Saturday, March 19, 2022 — 8PM

By Michael Brenneis

Interview date: 02/10/2022

Whether he’s speaking in a whisper or a roar, Dave King’s voice is distinctive and recognizable. Indeed, along with a very select few others, he has redefined the role of drummer for his generation and those to follow. His originality extends to his compositions and the extraordinary bands with which he affiliates.


Cody Steinmann holding his guitar

Cody Steinmann

Cody Steinmann's Sightless Quartet  — Audio for the Arts — Saturday, March 12, 2022 — 8PM

By Michael Brenneis

Interview date: 2/4/2022

Cody Steinmann is on an earnest quest to realize the sound that fulfills his vision and the direction he wants to take his music. He’s also open about the life struggles early on that formed him as a player and some of the aspects of the music scene where he feels some incongruity.