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Maggie Cousin Shapes Quintet, Maestranza at Bur Oak

April 13 @ 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm

A publicity photo shows musician Maggie Cousin posing and holding a saxophone, with a brick wall in the background.

As a saxophonist, Maggie Cousin draws on many threads of jazz improvisation and composition. As a producer, Cousin brings an equally versatile approach to hip-hop. They’ve spent the past few years contributing both sax and beats to live hip-hop outfit D’Funk And The Grease Monkeys, creating music for sprawling multimedia projects with a multidisciplinary arts residency and Tandem Press, performing in various ensembles both on and off campus, and occasionally DJing at the Hot Summer Gays series. And capping off their undergrad music studies at UW-Madison with a recital in 2022.


What Cousin hasn’t gotten to do just yet is to pick off where their “Millennial Jazz” residency at Café Coda left off. Launched in fall 2019, the recurring gig gave Cousin and other forward-looking musicians a great platform to showcase their own original music, and to explore compositions from a whole range of forebears—Ornette Coleman, Joe Henderson, and Jaimie Branch, to name a few. A balance of deep perspective and youthful defiance made the residency one of the most rewarding things in Madison’s music landscape (for my money, at least), but the pandemic cut things off all too soon. At this Bur Oak show, Cousin will be playing some new originals they conceive of as “a collage of shapes,” with trumpeter Charlie Palm, pianist Luke Leavitt, drummer Jordan Kowalski, and bassist Aden Stier.

“This project is kind of a return [to] focusing on playing original instrumental music after just kinda doing Grease Monkeys and playing other people’s gigs for a while,” Cousin says. “It’s gonna be groove-based stuff with hip-hop and dance music influence. The shapes concept is something I’ve been thinking about as a way of encouraging listeners to engage with the music based on what they hear and not about how complex or technical it is. I want the main idea to be something that anybody can feel like they can grasp and think about.”  That accessible spirit, paired with an adventurous vocabulary, runs through all the memorable work Cousin has done so far.

—Scott Gordon

  Photo by Dimitrius Olver.


April 13
8:00 pm - 11:00 pm
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Bur Oak
2262 Winnebago St
Madison, WI 53704 United States
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