The best high school jazz program in the Midwest is arguably right here in Dane County, at Sun Prairie High School, under the direction of Steve Sveum. This coming Sunday, 11/24/13, the school continues its ongoing relationship with the outstanding jazz program from Northern Illinois University (NIU), with a day-long clinic and an evening concert featuring performances by the NIU Jazz Ensemble, guest artist Rodney Whitaker on bass, and the magnificent saxophonist Ronald Carter, director of the NIU jazz program.
The concert will be held at the Sun Prairie High School Performing Arts Center, 888 Grove Street, starting at 7:00 PM. Tickets will be available at the door, costing $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and students.
I received an envelope from Overture today and inside were my free tickets to the Oct 3rd Tiempo Libre concert. Last week I received an email from Overture explaining how I could choose tickets from one of several shows because the Bebel Gilberto concert did not meet their standards. If you attended the show and Overture has your email then you should have received a notice. If not, check out this Cap Times article for info on ordering your tickets.
People are thanking me for Overture’s response but I had no expectations when I wrote the Bebel Gilberto concert review. It was such a bizarre concert I just felt a need to share my experience. Of course, I appreciate Overture is trying to keep us happy. Thanks, Overture.
I play in a guitar-sax duo with Chris Bucheit and we do a fair share of bossa nova: Jobim, Gilberto, Getz, that kind of stuff. When Chris asked if I wanted to hear Bebel Gilberto in concert I said sure. My brief internet search turned up a chill, electronic version of her father’s music. I expected to be quietly entertained, a pleasant distraction from the messiness of life.
Um, it didn’t quite go as expected.
It started alright. The Capital Theater was surprisingly full, she started on time, and the first two tunes were lightly pleasant. Then the strange stuff started and it just snowballed from there.
She wasn’t happy with the sound and stopped to do a sound check of the whole band. Hmmm, seems unprofessional. Lots of talking between songs, kind of hard to understand, maybe it’s a language thing. Weird stuff to talk about, though: something about being the black sheep of her family, she needs some lipstick, they write bad things about her, she hasn’t gotten together with her band in a while, sorry for the mistakes, sorry for this, sorry for that. Okay, definitely unprofessional.
Oh no, she’s wound herself up in her microphone cord and having a hard time getting untangled. Good, it’s fixed. Wait, it’s not. She walks briskly across stage, the cord catches and yanks her and she barely avoids falling over. Aggggh! This is uncomfortable to watch.
This Wednesday, Jazz at Five begins its 5 week series of free Wednesday evening jazz concerts at State St and the Capital square. The Rand Moore quintet plays from 5 to 6:30 followed by Randy Sabien and the Fiddlehead Band.
New this year, Jazz at Five is kicking off its first three performances with a local high school jazz combo. The high school combos start at 4:15 and play to 4:45. Please arrive a little early and give the young artists an audience. This new initiative was made possible by a grant from the John and Carolyn Peterson Charitable Foundation.
The UW Jazz Orchestra
photo courtesy Michael R. Anderson
The University of Wisconsin Jazz Orchestra is important. It provides a vital training ground for talented students who will take jazz into the future. It gives those students a foundation in one of the genre’s root forms while exposing them to the masters of yesterday and, in some cases, the masters of today. 45 years after its founding the UWJO concluded its season playing increasingly complex music under UW director of jazz studies Johannes Wallmann. Continue reading
The UW Honors Jazz Band plays its first gig under Professor Johannes Wallmann.
Photo courtesy Michael R. Anderson
The UW Honors Jazz Band is the best jazz idea in Madison in 2013. But it isn’t just an idea. These kids can flat-out play. As a veteran “listener” I’ve listened to a lot of good musical ideas. They don’t always work. The UW Honors Jazz Band from the fertile musical mind of Professor Johannes Wallmann proved at its inaugural concert that it is a really great working idea.
The Honors Band was the early May opening act for the UW Jazz Orchestra. I’ll say more about that band’s fine performance next week.
The impressive set list for the Honors Jazz Band included Matt Dennis’ classic Angel Eyes and Thad Jones’ The Farewell plus A Single Sky by Dave Douglas and Samba de Los Gatos from Mike Steinel, a prominent jazz faculty member at the renowned University of North Texas. With a set like this the auditions for the by-invitation-only band must have had a sign reading, “No wimps allowed.”
The band worked together for just three, albeit very long, rehearsals. The players looked very serious, expected from a young group making their initial public appearance. At the same time, the listener felt a sense of swing from the group. These are talented musicians playing more than notes. They seem to have a surprising understanding of the music they are playing. Continue reading