Good news for the Madison jazz scene: UW Madison is looking to hire a Jazz Studies Professor. I suppose this could be to replace Richard Davis or Les Thimmig but my understanding is neither of them have that title. I believe Joan Wildman was the last UW Madison Jazz Studies Professor and she retired well over 5 years ago. She was never replaced so it appears they’re finally getting around to that.
This is great news for jazz in Madison because the lack of a quality jazz program at the UW affects the entire community. A quality program attracts quality students, some of whom will settle in Madison and enrich the city’s cultural milieu. Currently, UW-Madison does not offer a jazz degree and students who play in the UW Jazz Orchestra don’t receive performance credit! Quality jazz musicians are choosing other universities and Madison is missing out on fresh talent to replenish and invigorate the jazz scene.
Hiring a new Jazz Studies Professor is definitely a step in the right direction. With all the talented jazz musician/educators out there it will be exciting to see who we get.