Milwaukee

Russ Johnson New Quartet with Aruàn Ortiz, Michael Formanek, Gerald Cleaver

Russ Johnson New Quartet
Saturday, February 18 at 8 PM

The Jazz Estate
2423 N Murray Ave
Milwaukee, WI
 
Aruán Ortiz – Piano “An avatar of creative and progressive improvisation,” Cuban-born, Brooklyn-based pianist, violist, and composer Aruán Ortiz has written music for jazz ensembles, orchestras, dance companies, chamber groups, and feature films. His work incorporates influences from contemporary classical music, Cuban-Haitian rhythms, and avant-garde improvisation; and consistently strives to break stylistic musical boundaries. He has been called “the latest Cuban wunderkind to arrive in the United States” by BET Jazz. Although Aruán tours predominantly with his own trio, he has also played, toured, or recorded with Esperanza Spalding, Terri Lyne Carrington, Wadada Leo Smith, Don Byron, Greg Osby, Wallace Roney, Nicole Mitchell, Steve Turre, Cameron Brown,and Nasheet Waits, to name a few.

Michael Formanek – Bass One marker of bassist Michael Formanek’s creativity and versatility is the range of distinguished musicians of several generations he’s worked with. While still a teenager in the 1970s he toured with drummer Tony Williams and saxophonist Joe Henderson; starting in the ’80s he played long stints with Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, Fred Hersch and Freddie Hubbard. (As a callback to those days, Formanek recorded with hardbop pianist Freddie Redd in 2013). The bassist has played a pivotal role on New York’s creative jazz scene going back to the ’90s when he notably led his own quintet and played in Tim Berne’s barnstorming quartet Bloodcount. Nowadays Formanek’s in the co-op Thumbscrew with Brooklyn guitarist Mary Halvorson and drummer Tomas Fujiwara. Formanek is also a composer and leader of various bands. His principal recording and international touring vehicle is his acclaimed quartet with Tim Berne on alto saxophone, Craig Taborn on piano and Gerald Cleaver on drums, which records for ECM; 2010’s The Rub and Spare Change and 2012’s Small Places both earned coveted five-star raves in Down Beat.

Gerald Cleaver- Drummer Gerald Cleaver, born May 4, 1963 and raised in Detroit, is a product of the city’s rich music tradition. Inspired by his father, drummer John Cleaver, he began playing the drums at an early age. He also played violin in elementary school and trumpet in junior high school and high school. He gained early invaluable experience with Detroit jazz masters Ali Muhammad Jackson, Lamont Hamilton, Earl Van Riper, and Pancho Hagood. While attending the University of Michigan as a music education major, he was awarded a Jazz Study Grant, from the National Endowment for the Arts, to study with drummer Victor Lewis. He graduated in 1992 and began teaching in Detroit where he worked with Rodney Whitaker, A. Spencer Barefield, Marcus Belgrave, Donald Walden, Wendell Harrison, and with visiting musicians Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan, Barry Harris, Kenny Burrell, Frank Foster, Cecil Bridgewater, Ray Bryant, Eddie Harris, Dennis Rowland, Howard Johnson, Diana Krall, and Don Byron. In 1995 he accepted an appointment as assistant professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Michigan, and in 1998 also joined the jazz faculty at Michigan State University. He moved to New York in 2002.
He has toured and/or recorded with Henry Threadgill, Roscoe Mitchell, Lotte Anker, Matt Shipp, William Parker, Craig Taborn, Kevin Mahogany, Charles Gayle, Mario Pavone, Ralph Alessi, Jacky Terrasson, Muhal Richard Abrams, Tim Berne, Jeremy Pelt, Ellery Eskelin, David Torn, Miroslav Vitous, Terje Rypdal, Michael Formanek, Tomasz Stanko, Charles Lloyd, and Bill Frisell, among others.

Paal Nilssen-Love & Ken Vandermark duo at The Sugar Maple

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 at 8 PM – 11 PM

The Sugar Maple
441 E Lincoln Ave
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53207

Paal Nilssen-Love – percussion
Ken Vandermark – reeds

The high impact duo of Paal Nilssen-Love (drums) and Ken Vandermark (reeds) has been working together at an accelerated rate since 2002, and they have put out seven eight of exceptional and wide ranging improvised music since then. Though they have both worked in many critically acclaimed groups- from the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet, Lean Left (with Terrie Hessels and Andy Moor of The Ex) to Double Tandem (with Dutch saxophonist, Ab Baars)- they have continued to return to their duo for more than a dozen years because it remains crucial to their creative output. Their concert at the Sugar Maple on January 25th will follow three days of recording at Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago.

Russ Johnson’s Headlands at The Sugar Maple

Thursday, September 29 at 8:00pm, $10 cover
The Sugar Maple
441 E Lincoln Ave
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53207

Russ Johnson – trumpet/compositions
Rob Clearfield – keyboard
Matt Ulery – bass
Jon Deitemyer – drums


Trumpeter Russ Johnson is a recent Midwest transplant after spending 23 years as an important member of New York City’s jazz community. He has 7 recordings as a leader or co-leader and performed on more than 75 recordings as a sideman. Russ has worked alongside many of the legendary figures in jazz including Lee Konitz, Steve Swallow, Bill Frisell, and Joe Lovano. In addition, Russ has recorded and/or performed with a long list of the most prominent musicians currently on the international jazz scene, including Myra Melford, Ken Vandermark, and Tony Malaby. Russ has performed in more than 40 countries across the globe.

The Russ Johnson Quartet is his latest project & features 3 Chicago musicians (Jason Stein – bass clarinet; Anton Hatwich – bass; and Tim Daisy – drums) with international acclaim. This group recently performed at the Umbrella Festival in Chicago in November of 2013, and the 2014 Chicago Jazz Festival in Millennium Park. Their new recording “Meeting Point” was released in May of 2014 on Relay Recordings. “Meeting Point” received 4 ½ stars in the May issue of Down Beat magazine & has been listed among the “Best CD’s of 2014” in the January 2015 issue of Down Beat. Magnet Magazine recently placed “Meeting Point” on its “Top 10 CD’s of 2014” in the jazz/improvisation category.

October of 2014 saw the release of “Still Out to Lunch,” on the German label Enja. The group performs the music of Eric Dolphy, and recently headlined “Edge Fest” in Ann Arbor Michigan and has a January 2015 performance scheduled at NYC’s “Winter Jazz Fest.”

Noh Band / David Torn, Tim Berne, Dave King at The Sugar Maple

The Sugar Maple
441 E Lincoln Ave
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53207

Friday, October 28 at 8 PM – 11 PM
$25 — buy tickets below. Seating is limited
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2589398

NOHBAND
Tim Berne – alto saxophone
David Torn – guitars
Dave King – drums

NOHBAND is a new cooperative with Dave King,Tim Berne and Dave King.

Although David and Tim have been working together since the 90’s (Prezens), and Tim and Dave go back to 2007, (Buffalo Collision) this will be their first performance as a trio.

David Hazeltine Trio at Blu

Blu Milwaukee
23rd floor of the Historic Pfister Hotel
424 E Wisconsin Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 298-3196

Friday, September 23rd and Saturday September 24th, 2016, 8pm-midnight

David Hazeltine, piano
Jeff Hamann, bass
Mitch Shiner, drums


“David Hazeltine is for sure the brightest star on the jazz piano horizon. His style has a deep-seated commitment to jazz history while communicating a wealth of ‘today’s’ ideas…”
Cedar Walton

DAVID HAZELTINE is one of a handful of young pianists who has successfully forged his own distinctive style and musical voice out of the accumulated greatness and weight of a modern piano tradition. David’s influences extend from Art Tatum and Bud Powell to such great living masters as Buddy Montgomery, Barry Harris and Cedar Walton.

David made his professional debut at age thirteen in Milwaukee, and later worked extensively in and around Chicago and Minneapolis. In Milwaukee, David served as house pianist at the famed Milwaukee Jazz Gallery, working with such greats as Charles McPherson, Eddie Harris, Sonny Stitt, Pepper Adams and Chet Baker. In fact, it was Baker who encouraged David to make his mark in New York City.

Since moving to New York City in 1992, David has made a name for himself as a “musician’s musician.” In addition to his working trio (with drum legend Louis Hayes and bassist Peter Washington), David is in constant demand as a sideman. Recent credits include work with Freddie Hubbard, James Moody, the Faddis-Hampton-Heath Sextet, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, the Louis Hayes Quintet, and Marlena Shaw, for whom he serves as pianist, arranger, and musical director.  Recently David was spotlighted on Marian McPartland’s “Piano Jazz” radio program. David is also a member of the band “One For All” which features rising tenor star Eric Alexander.

David’s debut cd as a leader Four Flights Up (featuring Slide Hampton,) released in 1996 on the Sharp Nine Label, received high praise from critics and musicians alike.  Since then, he has recorded seven more cds for Sharp Nine, the latest being The Inspiration Suite.  David has also recorded six cds for the Criss Cross label, the most recent being Blues Quarters Volume 2.  In Japan, David’s six piano trio releases for the Venus label, including tributes to Bill Evans, Horace Silver, Bud Powell, and Burt Bacharach, have won him a large and growing following.

In addition to David’s twenty three dates as a leader, his recorded work as a featured sideman reflects his status as one of the first call pianists in New York.  Recent efforts include sessions with James Moody, Freddy Cole, Marlena Shaw, Jon Faddis, and Louis Hayes.

As a dedicated teacher, Hazeltine’s career reflects his intense commitment to the advancement of jazz culture and awareness. In Milwaukee, he was co-founder and director of The Jazz School, and Department Chairman at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music.  Recently, he served as Associate Professor at Berklee College Of Music.  Currently, David is on the piano faculty at S.U.N.Y. Purchase.

Perhaps David best sums up his feelings about his art and his career: “… the development of the body of music we call jazz is one of the marvels of the 20th century. To contribute to that tradition is all I want to do.”

 

Geoffrey Keezer & Gillian Margot at Blu

Blu Milwaukee
23rd floor of the Historic Pfister Hotel
424 E Wisconsin Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 298-3196

Friday, August 26th and Saturday August 27th, 2016, 8pm-midnight

Geoffrey Keezer, piano
Gillian Margot, voice


With his highly regarded discography, unique compositions, and acclaimed performances in a variety of configurations, pianist Geoffrey Keezer commands the attention typically reserved for the living legends of jazz. Whether recording with jazzy chanteuses Diana Krall or Dianne Reeves, touring with trumpet king Chris Botti, or collaborating with pop icon Sting, sax legend Wayne Shorter, guitar wizard Jim Hall, star bassist Christian McBride or vibes master Joe Locke, Geoffrey “has more than enough virtuosity and sheer musical wit and intelligence to weave all of his apparently disparate strands of influence into an original and compelling whole” (Time Magazine).

A native of Eau Claire, WI, Keezer was playing in jazz clubs as a teenager, holding down the piano chair for Art Blakey at age 18, and touring in the company of Joshua Redman, Benny Golson and Ray Brown in his 20s. More recently he has toured with David Sanborn, Chris Botti, Joe Locke and Christian McBride; worked with vocalist Denise Donatelli on projects garnering three GRAMMY® nominations, and released a series of albums drawing influences from Hawaiian, Okinawan and Afro-Peruvian folk traditions. Perhaps the most exciting turn in Geoffrey’s career is his recent focus on solo piano and his first solo release in thirteen years, Heart of the Piano (2013, Motema Records). On a mission to redefine solo jazz piano as a personal and interactive showcase of melody, energy and groove, Keezer brings to Heart of the Piano his most direct and focused artistry to date.

Geoffrey Keezer’s singular style of intellectually abstract lyricism woven over exotically complex rhythms and harmonies makes him one of the most sought-after artists on the modern jazz scene. Regardless of the nature of his projects, from solo to duo to quartet, from bandleader to big band, from post bop jazz to electronica to global fusion, from composer to arranger, Geoffrey delivers music from the heart of the piano to the ear–and heart–of the listener.

 

Preservation Hall Jazz Band at Summerfest

JULY 7 – 10:00 PM @ JOHNSON CONTROLS WORLD SOUND STAGE WITH BLUE MOON AND 88NINE RADIO MILWAUKEE

Tickets Here: http://summerfest.com/artist/preservation-hall-jazz-band

Preservation Hall was founded in 1961 to promote traditional New Orleans jazz in all its authenticity. Legendary players like George Lewis, Sweet Emma Barrett and Kid Thomas Valentine, all rooted in the formative years jazz, were its original stars. That generation is long gone now, yet the hall is still in business and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band continues to tour the world.

Therein lies a paradox: how does an institution based on an early 20th century musical culture prosper in the 21st? When asked that question on the occasion of the Hall’s 50th anniversary, Creative Director Ben Jaffe had a ready answer: “This anniversary is about the next fifty years.”

For Jaffe, 41, this not just a business question: he’s carrying on a family tradition started by his parents, Allan and Sandra Jaffe, who were instrumental in founding the Hall and turning it into an internationally known cultural icon. When Ben took over the operation in 1995, he faced the challenge of keeping it going with a dwindling band of veteran musicians and an aging audience base. His solution has been to inject the touring band with new blood, bringing in some younger players with fresh musical ideas and to form collaborations with groups and musicians from outside the New Orleans tradition. In recent years, the PHJB has performed and recorded with a wide array of musicians, ranging from groups like My Morning Jacket, Tom Waits, Merle Haggard, Pete Seeger, and the Del McCoury Bluegrass Band. The culmination of this collaborative effort was the sellout 50th anniversary concert that the PHJB hosted at Carnegie Hall in January 2012.

This album breaks new ground for Ben and the PHJB: it’s the first time in the history of the band that it has recorded an album made up of entirely original material—most of it composed by Jaffe and members of his group. The album was co-produced by Ben Jaffe and Jim James, leader of My Morning Jacket, and encouraged by songwriters Paul Williams, Dan Wilson and Chris Stapleton, who co-wrote three of the titles with the band. Band members Charlie Gabriel, Rickie Monie, and Clint Maedgen also pitched in on some of the compositions.

Once the material was written and rehearsed, Jim James and his sound engineer Kevin Rattermandrove down from Louisville with a van full of equipment and set it up among the splintery wooden benches and smoky paintings in Preservation Hall. That recording session produced the eleven tracks on this historic album.

Though it was not unheard of in the past for Preservation Hall musicians to compose some of the music they performed—drummer Paul Barbarin wrote “Bourbon Street Parade” and clarinetist George Lewis wrote “Burgundy Street Blues,” for example—this album marks the first time that a substantial body of new music was created by the band and entered the Preservation Hall repertoire. This constitutes a rich lode of fresh material not only for the current members of the touring PHJB, but also for other musicians who play at the hall and may be inspired to pick up on some of these songs. In the heyday of the Jazz Age, New Orleans musicians learned new tunes all the time by listening to what their peers were doing in the dance halls and on their recordings. One of the aims of this album is to stimulate that kind of cross-pollination among today’s New Orleans jazzmen.

Though some traditional jazz purists may be surprised, the broader public will hopefully find this music engaging, enthralling—and irresistibly danceable. No one who hears Jaffe’s funky tuba lines, Joe Lastie’s backbeat drumming and the band’s groove on tunes like “The Darker it Gets” could doubt the group’s traditional New Orleans roots.

On the other hand, Clint Maedgen’s boozy “August Nights,” with it’s haunting tenor sax riffs and sultry muted trumpet work by Mark Braud, is a Tom Waits-like hymn to urban despair that would be at home on any barroom jukebox in the world. The punchy horn-section riffs on “Come With Me” and “That’s It” have a bite and exuberance that recall the Ellington big band sound. “I Think I Love You,” is a pop tune with a Caribbean beat and a smooth, sexy vocal by 80-year-old reedman Charlie Gabriel (with Jim James singing backup).

In addition to Gabriel, Ronell Johnson (“Dear Lord Give Me the Strength,” “Halfway Right, Halfway Wrong”) and Fred Lonzo (“Rattlin’ Bones”) turn in strong vocal performances that underscore the wide variety of talent this band embraces.

In short, “That’s It” is an eclectic album that draws on the collective experience of players nurtured in the New Orleans tradition but determined to build something fresh and exciting on that foundation. It marks an important milestone in Jaffe’s crusade to carry forward the Hall’s original mission while making it relevant to today’s audiences. For his part, co-producer Jim James is convinced that the PHJB has a future as vibrant as its past: “The music will speak forever,” he says. “Will people stop listening to Beethoven? Will people stop listening to Bob Dylan? Will people stop listening to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band?”

Not if Ben Jaffe can help it. “My parents were never preservationists in any strict sense,” he says. “They simply presented the music the way the old jazzmen wanted to play it. This is the music we want to play today. We’ll continue to do the old standards, along with new material that allows us to be creative and relevant. With this album, I wanted to do something that would challenge us and make us proud.” That’s it.

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Terrence McManus Solo at West End Conservatory

Thursday, July 7th 2016
8pm, $10

West End Conservatory
5500 W Vliet St
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53208
(414) 502-9378

Terrence McManus, guitar

A native of Brooklyn, New York, guitarist/composer/sound artist Terrence McManus has been called “… one of New York’s latest guitar heroes …” (All About Jazz), and that he has “… hit on an entirely new language.” (Gambit), and “… possesses the goods to impart a significant impact …” (jazzreview.com). Time Out New York calls him a “Texture-minded guitar abstractionist …” and the NY Times times has described him as a “guitarist drawn to abstract texture”.He has performed or recorded with many of the major innovators in contemporary music, including John Zorn, Bill Frisell, Tim Berne, Gerry Hemingway, Mark Dresser, Don Byron, Ellery Eskelin, Herb Robertson, Mark Helias, John Hollenbeck, Ben Monder, Russ Lossing, Randy Peterson, Mat Maneri, Tom Rainey, Michael Sarin, and Marty Ehrlich. He has performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall, the New York Guitar Festival, Jazz Festival Willisau (Switzerland), Jazzfestival Saalfelden (Austria), the New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park, and the inaugural month at John Zorn’s The Stone. Terrence was featured in the book State of the Axe: Guitar Masters in Photographs and Words, by legendary photographer Ralph Gibson.

Peter Bernstein Trio featuring Larry Goldings, Bill Stewart

Tuesday, April 19, 2016
8:00pm | $20
Tickets: Here

Shank Hall
1434 N Farwell Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 276-7288

Peter Bernstein, guitar
Larry Goldings, organ
Bill Stewart, drums

Guitarist Peter Bernstein, organist Larry Goldings, and drummer Bill Stewart make up one of the best organ jazz trios of the past two decades. The respect the musicians have for one another comes through in the subtle and intricate manner of their musical conversation on stage. Indeed, you can hear them listening to each other. Drawing mainly on jazz standards, and a few original pieces, they re-imagine the organ jazz trio in a quiet, sensual, and grooving presentation.


Jazz guitarist Peter Bernstein (b. 1967, New York City) has been a part of the jazz scene in New York and abroad since 1989. During that time he has participated in over 80 recordings and numerous festival, concert and club performances with musicians from all generations. As a leader, Peter has released nine albums and a DVD, Live at Smoke.

He got his first break while attending the New School when he met the legendary guitarist Jim Hall. Hall asked Peter to participate in his Invitational Concert as part of the 1990 JVC Jazz Festival. The event featured such guitarists as John Scofield and Pat Metheny and was release as Live at Town Hall Vol. 2. by Music Masters. Hall noted that Peter “…has paid attention to the past as well as the future. He is the most impressive guitarist I’ve heard. He plays the best of them all for swing, logic, feel and taste.”

Also in 1990, Peter Bernstein was discovered by alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson and took part in the first of four recordings with him. He was a regular member of his group throughout the 1990s. “Some people just have it.” Donaldson said. “…most of the time you have to teach someone what to do, but Peter knows it all.”

Peter has also enjoyed long musical associations with legendary drummer Jimmy Cobb (Cobb’s Mob), as well as organist Larry Goldings and drummer Bill Stewart as a member of their highly acclaimed trio. The New York Times called them “the best organ trio of the last decade”. Together they recorded a dozen of records, all of which display their distinctive sound, whether exploring the depths of jazz standards or playing their original compositions.

From 1995 through 1997, Peter was a member of Joshua Redman’s band and played on Redman’s Freedom in the Groove CD. He played with Diana Krall’s quartet from 1999 through 2001 and with Dr. Lonnie Smith, the legendary organist who made his debut on the George Benson Cookbook albums. He has also recorded five CDs with organist Melvin Rhyne, known for his association with Wes Montgomery. In addition, Peter has appeared in groups led by Nicholas Payton, Sonny Rollins, Lee Konitz, Tom Harrell, and Eric Alexander.

Current projects include his recent album, Monk, recorded for the newly reactivated Xanadu label. Together with Doug Weiss and Bill Stewart, he put their own spin on the rich legacy of Thelonious Monk.

In September, Bernstein released a solo guitar record, Solo Guitar – Live at Smalls (Smalls Live), an intimate recording that makes you feel like you’re sitting in the front row at Small’s jazz club in New York City.