Johannes Wallmann to celebrate a new album Saturday at The Fountain

The UW jazz chair also has a big-band album on the way this year and is collaborating with Rob Dz.

The UW jazz chair also has a big-band album on the way this year and is collaborating with Rob Dz.



Pianist and UW-Madison jazz-studies chair Johannes Wallmann found out at the last minute that he’d be getting in CD copies of his new album, The Town Musicians, this week, which means his show this Saturday at The Fountain on State Street will serve as a release celebration.

The Town Musicians consists mostly of Wallmann’s original compositions and features him in a five-piece with trumpet player Russ Johnson, guitarist Gilad Hekselman, bassist Sean Conly, and drummer Jeff Hirshfield, drums, with saxophone player Dayna Stephens joining in on two songs. Johnson, who talked with us earlier this year, will join Wallmann at this Saturday’s show, along with drummer Devin Drobka and bassist Nick Moran. The album is available through iTunes and so forth. There’s an outtake track streaming here from Wallmann’s SoundCloud page, and he’s got several full songs from the record streaming on his website. I can’t claim to have digested the whole sprawling 75-minute affair just yet, but on first listen I’m enjoying how Wallmann, Johnson and Hekselman all stretch out on the meditative “Lakeshore” and the expansive, conversational ensemble showcases “Town Musicians” and “Concurrencies.”

Wallmann also has posted some finished tracks from the second album he’s releasing this year, Always Something. This one was recorded with his Sweet Minute Big Band, which he told us about last summer shortly before recording the album. The Sweet Minute Big Band will celebrate the release with a Friday, June 19 set at the Isthmus Jazz Festival.

Wallmann’s quartet will also play this summer at Milwaukee’s Bayview Jazz Festival on June 5 and July 17 pm the Union Terrace, plus a few other local gigs over the summer. He also says he’s working on a recording collaboration this summer with Madison MC/spoken-word artist Rob Dz, but isn’t ready to share many details about that just yet.

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