June 17th & 18th, 2016 – Isthmus Jazz Festival Free Concerts

June 17th & 18th, 2016 – Isthmus Jazz Festival Free Concerts

Produced by the Wisconsin Union Theater and held on the UW Memorial Union Terrace (or in Shannon Hall, if bad weather), Day 1 includes free performances by three local ensembles and a headline performance by the Chicago Yestet.

 June 17th

  • 4:30-5:30 PM: High School All-Stars.  This group is comprised of Dane County’s best high school jazz players, selected each year by Edgewood College jazz director Dan Wallach.  Besides the Festival, the All-Stars play several gigs throughout the summer.
  • 6:00-7:30 PM: Ladies Must Swing.  Now in their 18th year as Greater Madison’s only all-female big band, LMS features five saxophones, four trumpets, four trombones, piano, bass, drums, congas, guitar, and vocals.  http://ladiesmustswing.com/.
  • 8:00-9:30 PM: Chicago Yestet.  Back in town after a terrific performance at The Brink  Lounge last September, this little big band is led by trombonist and Madison native Joel Adams.  Playing original socially-conscious music, the Yestet includes some of Chicago’s most in-demand jazz players and features 7 horns, a rhythm section, and Madison-based master improvising spoken word poet Rob Dz. www.chicagoyestet.com/.
  • 10:00-11:30 PM: Madison Jazz Orchestra.  Directed by trombonist Don Deal, and now celebrating its 30-year anniversary, Madison’s longest-running big band performs classic and modern repertoire from the libraries of Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Bob Mintzer, Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson and much more.  www.madisonjazzorchestra.com/The_Madison_Jazz_Orchestra/Home.html.  

June 18th

Day 2 on the Terrace includes free performances by six Wisconsin-based bands including four college ensembles performing standard and contemporary big band music, a return engagement by outstanding Washington DC-based vocalist Sharόn Clark, and Madison’s own jazz diva, Gerri DiMaggio.


  • 2:00-3:00 PM: Edgewood College Jazz Ensemble.  Led by alto saxophonist Dan Wallach, the Ensemble features a mix of Edgewood College students and community members, some of whom are students at UW-Madison.
  • 3:15-4:15 PM: UW-Whitewater Jazz Ensemble One.  Led by Professor of Saxophone Matthew Sintchak, this is UW-Whitewater’s premier student jazz ensemble. 
  • 4:30-5:30 PM: UW-Platteville Jazz One.  Led by Jazz Studies Director and Professor of Saxophone Allen Cordingley, this is UW-Platteville’s premier jazz ensemble.
  • 6:00-7:30 PM: Gerri DiMaggio.  The iconic Madison-based vocalist changes things up each time she performs at the Festival. This year, she’ll appear with a quartet and perform originals, Brazilian Samba, and straight-ahead jazz.
  • 8:00-9:30 PM: UW Jazz Orchestra with Sharόn Clark.  A master interpreter of jazz standards, Sharón Clark appears regularly as a featured soloist with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and at major jazz festivals.  She has won New York City’s Bistro Award for Best Vocalist, and placed first in the Billie Holiday Vocal Competition.  Her most recent CD is “Do it Again: My Tribute to Shirley Horn.” Check out her music at www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrLS0KSmy3Y&list=PL1EE5F289C48158E0.  For the Isthmus Festival, Sharón reunites with the UWJO (UW-Madison’s student big band directed by Johannes Wallmann) with whom she gave a very well-received concert at Old Music Hall this past February.  
  • 10:00-11:30 PM: Charanga Agozá.  Day 2 wraps up with Madison’s great 10-piece band, Charanga Agozá.  The band plays traditional Afro-Cuban dance music including danzόn, chachacha, and mambo in addition to charanga.  http://www.charangaagoza.com/about/.