Don’t you wish you didn’t have to work or go to school? What would you do instead? Well, judging by the packed house at the Cardinal last Tuesday many of us would play and listen to jazz.
My schedule only allows me down to the jam about once a month, but I attend regularly enough to say that had to be one of the New Breed’s best attended jams, many new faces and many students. Promoting the jam via Facebook and having theme nights (last Tuesday it was New Year’s resolution songs) is helping to build a larger following, but something more was going on. The best explanation seems to be many people were off work or school.
It was a great night and a lot of fun. The only downside was the announcement that the Cardinal is closed Tuesday, Jan 3rd for refinishing the wood floors. The New Breed is back the following week.
If you want to jam your next chance is the Madison Jazz Jam, Sunday, January 8th from 4-7 pm at Liliana’s Restaurant. The band is the New Breed’s Nick Moran on bass, Bernie Brink on keys, and the fantastic Rodrigo Villanueva on drums.
Just a quick heads-up: former New Breed tenor saxophonist Patrick Breiner is back in Madison for the week and will be joining the New Breed at their weekly jam session Tuesday night 9 pm at the Cardinal. Patrick is a fantastic player, there is no one else like him in Madison. He lives in Connecticut now so see him while you can.
For years, people have said jazz is dead. Don’t tell that to the jazz lovers that crowded into the Cardinal Bar last night for the New Breed jam session. The jam has steadily gained momentum since relocating to the Cardinal in February, and now seems to have reached a tipping point. Judging by all the new faces and filled seats the word is out: the New Breed jam at the Cardinal is the place to be on Tuesday nights.
By the end of the first song last night the room was packed. It was Patrick’s final session before he moves to Connecticut and the band was especially focused. They stretched out on a full first set of intense, highly engaging modern jazz, all originals. The audience hooted and hollered in appreciation.
By the second set the crowd had spilled out into the bar area and was filling that room as well. The night was off to a great start but there was no letdown when the jammers hit the stage.
A great night at a jam session has more than terrific music, it also has new faces, and surprises. The first of these occurred during the second song of the jam when Jamie was called up to play drums. Jamie is going into his junior year in high school and this was his first time at the New Breed jam. He is short with a very young face and the New Breed looked apprehensive. Surprise! Jamie can swing!
More new faces and great music followed. The night progressed and the group I came with left while I stayed. I made the right decision. A fortyish looking tenor sax player was up on the stand. I figured he was probably like me, has a day job and plays on the side. Then he starts playing. Whoa, who is this guy? I’ve watched Patrick play alongside other great tenors and he’ll get a very determined look, kick it up another notch, and pull out the circular breathing and other tricks. Not last night. It was the first time I’ve seen Patrick appear to acknowledge greatness. This guy was all over the horn, incredible technique, fluent and melodic in the altissimo range. Really a treat to hear!
On my way out I stopped and met Eric, an excellent tenor player new to Madison from Chicago who also played and plans to come down regularly. He told me the amazing tenor saxophonist is Matt Olson from South Carolina, up here to teach for 4 weeks at a UW summer music program.
So as one great player leaves the scene another appears, at least for the next 3 weeks. And who will it be after that? With new people coming to Madison regularly for school and jobs you can be sure another great player will appear soon. They always do. And where will you hear them first? At the New Breed jam – where jazz is alive!
Pay attention Madison jazz fans, this is important! Madison’s premier jazz saxophonist, Patrick Breiner, is leaving town in August….. for good. That’s right, he and Emily are moving back east in the middle of August.
This isn’t too surprising; Patrick has been touring more and more and much of it is on the east coast, his original home base. He’ll be touring all of July and making preparations to move when he gets back in August. This means your last chance to catch him playing with the New Breed is tomorrow night and next week! Don’t miss it! Cardinal Bar 8:30 – 11 pm Tuesday nights.
Sorry for the short notice; I just found out yesterday Tim Whalen is in town and will be joining in the fun at the Cardinal Bar tonight. And Patrick will be back after a busy road trip out east. Should be some fireworks!
New Breed Jam, 8:30 – 11 tonight at the Cardinal Bar. See you there.
At many jams, the crowd is thin until the second set when the jam session begins. Sometimes musicians are there only to jam, not listen , but I think it’s more than that; the house band often sounds like a group of really good jammers. In other words, they don’t sound like a band, a group that’s either worked out polished arrangements or are doing original material.
I’ve always gone to the first set of the New Breed jam because I love listening to them as much as jamming; I love the music and it’s like a mini-lesson, too. Now there’s another reason to get there for the first set: they’re doing mostly original tunes. They have their own band identity now with songs that range from deep spirituality to quirky playfulness, and bravado. Great tunes! Listening to them it’s easy to imagine you’re in New York or Chicago, they sound that good.
But what if listening to them isn’t important to you, you just want to jam. Their new format will make you happy, too. Lately, they’ve been starting the jam session during the first set, and they’re giving everyone lots of chances to play. Since they started their Tuesday night 8:30-11:30 jam at the Cardinal a few weeks ago the audience has been light, and that means more playing time for those that are there. It’s just a matter of time until the secret is out and you have to compete with a bunch of other musicians to jam, so as they say, “Now’s the Time!”