The Bridge: Keefe Jackson, Dave Rempis, Peter Orins

The Bridge: Keefe Jackson, Dave Rempis, Peter Orins  — Audio for the Arts — Sunday, December 19, 2021 — 7PM

By Michael Brenneis

Interview date: 12/11/2021

The Bridge is an exchange of music and culture between France and Chicago that began in 2012. Each edition includes a new batch of improvisors who join forces over an extended period of time, performing numerous shows in Europe and the U.S., and combining their individuality into a group sound that is coherent and unique. The performance in Madison includes Chicago reedmen Keefe Jackson and Dave Rempis, and French drummer Peter Orins.

For those keeping score: Christine Wodrascka joins this performance now that a piano is available.


Tony Barba

Tony Barba, John Christensen, Devin Drobka — Audio for the Arts — Saturday, December 18, 2021 — 8PM

By Michael Brenneis

Interview date: 11/28/2021

Bay Stater Tony Barba has hung his hat in Madison for almost a decade now, and built a solid musical career over that time. He’s as serious about work/life balance as he is about writing and performing at the highest level. While his melodic approach harkens back to tenor giants like Sonny Rollins, Tony’s unique voice rings true in any context.


Rodrigo Villanueva playing drums

Rodrigo Villanueva

Rodrigo Villanueva's I Remember Bill — Cafe Coda — Saturday, December 4, 2021 — 8PM

By Michael Brenneis

Interview date: 11/10/2021

If there is a fundamental theme to Rodrigo Villanueva’s career in music, perhaps it is in cycles of ambition, struggle, and success. From his beginnings as a successful young drummer in Mexico, through his education at North Texas State, to his Jazz Studies professorship at Northern Illinois University, these cycles continue — and include an ambitious performing schedule.


Tom and Dave

BlueStem Jazz's David Stone and Thomas Ferrella

Interview date: 11/08/2021

On this episode we’re talking to Thomas Ferrella and David Stone who founded the non-profit, volunteer-led BlueStem Jazz in 2019, although their history of booking creative, improvised music goes back to 2016. As our conversation makes clear, they’re devoted to this music, they believe in the benefits that it brings to the community, and they’re dedicated to supporting passionate improvising musicians. Dave and Tom both retired from demanding, high-powered careers; they’ve long been movers and shakers. On this program they’ll detail their philosophies about this music and the goals they have for the future of BlueStem Jazz. 


Arun Luthra playing saxophone with other musicians

Arun Luthra

Arun LuthraThe North Street Cabaret — Saturday, November 13, 2021 — 8PM

By Michael Brenneis

Interview date: 11/03/2021

With Arun Luthra multiculturalism is a fundamental tenet of his artistic expression, but it also informs his ethos as a person. Raised in a family about as international as they come, it’s second nature. While his residency at the University of Wisconsin-Madison concludes in a few weeks, interested folks still have a couple of opportunities to take in what he has to offer — including at the BlueStem presentation of his Madison-Konnakol project — before he jets off to New York to resume his full professional schedule.


Zacc Harris with guitar

Zacc Harris

Zacc HarrisCafe Coda — Friday, November 12, 2021 — 8PM

By Michael Brenneis

Interview date: 10/27/2021

Zacc Harris puts all of the pieces together to build a celebrated career as a musician, composer, educator, and record label honcho. This year the Zacc Harris Group’s fall outing brings this sextet of accomplished and sought after twin-cities and twin-cities associated musicians to select cities in the Midwest to celebrate the release of their new album “Small Wonders.”


Tim Daisy playing the drums

Tim Daisy

Tim DaisyThe North Street Cabaret — Friday, October 29, 2021 — 8PM

By Michael Brenneis

Interview date: 09/29/2021

Tim Daisy is an acclaimed improviser, composer, and performer who has been working in the experimental, Jazz, improvised, and composed music realms for decades as a solo artist, and in collaboration with other leading creative musicians — both here in the U.S. and internationally. 

Although a decorated composer, it’s his instant composing chops — and those of his cohort — that will be emphasized at his upcoming Madison show.

For those keeping track: Ed Thigpen relocated to Copenhagen, Denmark in 1972.


Justin Dillard

Justin Dillard

Justin Dillard TrioThe North Street Cabaret — Saturday, October 23, 2021 — 8PM

By Michael Brenneis

Interview date: 10/01/2021

Justin Dillard propels the Hammond Organ into the 21st century with his trio, and as a sought-after sideman. Building on the legacies of the legends who came before him, including the recently departed Dr. Lonnie Smith, Justin Dillard continues to grow into the role of Jazz organ elder statesmen.


Matt Ulery

Matt Ulery

Matt Ulery's Delicate CharmsThe North Street Cabaret — Friday, October 15, 2021 — 8PM

By Michael Brenneis

Interview date: 09/29/2021

Matt Ulery, ubiquitous Chicago bassist and composer, brings his Delicate Charms quintet to Madison's North Street Cabaret on October 15th. This first-call sideman on so many of Chicago's coolest gigs also leads a handful of his own bands, and has released albums under his own name numbering about a baker's dozen. His latest release "Delicate Charms Live at the Green Mill" — just out this month — was recorded during the pandemic, and deftly captures the ambiance and atmosphere of this moment in time.


Dave Cooper

Dave Cooper

Dave Cooper — Garver Feed Mill Patio — Friday, September 24, 2021 — 7PM

By Michael Brenneis

Interview date: 09/08/2021

It’s hard to frame the Jazz or classical scene in Wisconsin or the Upper Midwest over the last 30 years without considering the contributions of Dave Cooper. He has been an Associate Professor of Trumpet and Jazz Studies at the University of Wisconsin--Platteville for 15 years, and an essential member of more groups than I can possibly mention here. Dave’s latest chapter is propelled by his study of the modern improvisational techniques practiced by some of today’s most innovative improvisers, as evidenced by his writing for his group QUAD.

For those keeping score: the composer’s name that I couldn’t remember is Georg Friedrich Haas, and the saxophonist who explores microtonality that Dave didn’t name is Steve Lehman.