Podcast: The state of jazz venues in Madison

Pianist Dave Stoler discusses how the infrastructure and economy around local music have changed.

Pianist Dave Stoler discusses how the infrastructure and economy around local music have changed.


Darren Sterud, left, and Rob Dz at the Cardinal's New Breed Jazz Jam. Photo by Jess Horn.

Darren Sterud, left, and Rob Dz at the Cardinal’s New Breed Jazz Jam. Photo by Jess Horn.

Madison native and veteran jazz pianist Dave Stoler recently wrote a guest column for Tone Madison arguing that the city is ready to support a new venue that elevates jazz and improvised music. While editing Dave’s column and then watching people weigh in after it ran, I kept wanting to expand the discussion and hear Dave’s response to some devil’s-advocate questions about his idea. For instance, do we really need a new jazz venue when groups like the Greater Madison Jazz Consortium and the New Breed Jazz Jam are making good use of various spaces that we already have? And what has killed previous venues in Madison that focused heavily on jazz.

Dave elaborated on what a successful jazz club in Madison would need to do, and we talked more broadly about the atmosphere and finances surrounding music in town generally, including but not limited to jazz. After recording stopped, Dave mentioned that he plays every year at a club in New York City called Small’s, owned by a friend of his, whose novel business model includes profit-sharing with musicians.

Dave’s proposal that a developer or hotel open a new jazz club combining food service and live music might not convince everyone, but he argues well for it and has an interesting perspective based on his 30-odd years as a working musician in Madison. Listen to our conversation here.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and catch WORT-FM’s weeknight news show In Our Backyard, which partners with us to produce these. Thanks to Dylan Brogan for producing this interview.

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