Are you ready for The Madison Jazz Festival? Better be.

“Night and Day, you are the one”: You can’t beat the festival’s free live jazz on the hip and picturesque Union Terrace, overlooking Lake Mendota in Madison.

The Madison Jazz Festival is loaded and ready to bust out, starting Friday, June 10 to 19. Plenty of free-admission music as well as ticketed events. It seems to grow stronger and more richly conceived every year.

This one is headlined by the Christian McBride Quartet, Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band, bassist-singer-songwriter-bandleader Chris Morrissey, The Jon Irabagon Quartet, The Thaddeus Tukes Trio and much more.

McBride, he of the eight Grammy Awards, and Grammy-winning Blade are established jazz giants, but one somewhat less-known act I’d love to see again is Irabagon, an astonishingly gifted saxophonist and clarinetist. Alas, I have a previous commitment that night. I am aiming to get into town for the “rising-star” vibist Thaddeus Tukes on Thursday June 16th at the Art Lit Lab.

Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band

Multi-instrumentalist Jon Irabagon

Vibraphonist Thaddeus Tukes

But there’s music galore throughout the city of Madison. And consider some intriguing side streets beyond pure concertizing:

Hip-hop-jazz word artist Rob DZ, a not-really-secret Madison weapon (for peace and understanding), hosts the New Breed Jazz jam for those who want to get musically involved.

Hip-hop word artist Rob DZ

Plus, our old friend, jazz maven Howard Landsman will host a listening session of “Rare Ellingtonia,” which should be mysteriously spiced and aurally delicious.

Another precious and soon-departing jazz amigo, Steve Braunginn, will present a live conversation with renowned drummer-bandleader Brian Blade. You’re getting the idea, I hope.

I’ll leave it at that, but do check out the website schedule with fine bio links to the artists:

Just click Here: https://artlitlab.org/programs/greater-madison-jazz/madison-jazz-festival

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