The regionally focused series returns May 13 with the Alison Margaret Quintet at the Central Library.
Last year a local non-profit called the Greater Madison Jazz Consortium launched the free Indigenous concert series, which showcased regional jazz musicians in the Madison Public Library’s Central branch performance space and the Play Circle Theater in the Memorial Union. It accomplished two big things: Giving lesser-known jazz performers and composers a generous platform of one or two full sets to showcase their original compositions—for instance, David Cooper, a trumpeter and UW-Platteville professor who headlined one of the Play Circle shows—and putting them in unusual configurations—most notably, last fall’s “piano summit,” in which four local jazz pianists played solo and collaborative pieces, and closed out the night with all four of them playing a group piece on two pianos. Yes, you can often see local jazz musicians tucked into obscure corners and playing sets at bars, but at an Indigenous show, it’s really their night, it’s about new original works and improvisations, and the setup encourages the audience to listen close.
This year, the series resumes with three spring shows at the Central Library and four fall shows at the Play Circle. It begins on May 13 with Madison-based jazz vocalist Alison Margaret in a quintet format and will feature other Madison jazz fixtures taking the spotlight with their bands, including bassist Ben Ferris (May 27, Central Library) and pianist Tim Whalen (November 18, Play Circle).
But what’s standing out to me the most in this schedule are a few group collaborations we don’t often see, at least in a setting where they’re the real focus. The Organic Quintet, on June 10 at the Central Library, is comprised of jazz organist Mike Cammilleri, versatile sax player Tony Barba, trumpeter Eric Siereveld, drummer Keith Lienert, and guitarist Dan Flynn of Milwaukee R&B revivalists Kings Go Forth. Milwaukee-based trumpeter Russ Johnson kicks off the fall portion of the series on September 30 with his group Russ Johnson’s Headlands, a product of his frequent collaborations in Chicago, featuring Matt Ulery on bass, Jon Deitemyer on drums, and Rob Clearfield on Piano.
The October 14 show comprises sets from two locally centered groups: Major Vistas, which pairs adventurous Madison percussionist Geoff Brady (also of Brennan Connors & Stray Passage) with guitarist Chris Bucheit and keyboardis Mike Weiser, and baritone sax player Anders Svanoe’s trio with drummer Rodrigo Villanueva and bassist John Christensen.
The full lineup is below; all shows are free and begin at 7:30 p.m. The event organizers at the Jazz Consortium will also be announcing more details soon about the annual Strollin’ series, which this year will take a suburban detour.
May 13, Central Library: Alison Margaret Jazz Quintet
May 27, Central Library: Ben Ferris Quintet
June 10, Central Library: The Organic Quintet (trumpeter Eric Siereveld, saxophonist Tony Barba, Hammond B3 organist Mike Cammilleri, guitarist Dan Flynn, and drummer Keith Lienert)
September 30, Play Circle: Russ Johnson’s Headlands (trumpeter Johnson, with pianist Rob Clearfield, bassist Matt Ulery, and drummer Jon Deitemyer)
October 14, Play Circle: Major Vistas, Anders Svanoe Trio
November 14, Play Circle: Nuggernaut
November 18, Play Circle: Tim Whalen Nonet