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InDIGenous: Johannes Wallmann: Love Wins (free)

  • Memorial Union Play Circle 800 Langdon Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)

Jazz pianist Johannes Wallmann has already released two albums over the past few years—Always Something, recorded with a big band, and The Town Musicians, recorded with a smaller group—while settling into his role as UW-Madison's director of jazz studies and a busy collaborator on and off campus. In the midst of all that, Wallmann and his husband, Keith Borden, were among the plaintiffs in Wolf V. Walker, the ACLU-led lawsuit in which a federal court struck down Wisconsin's same-sex marriage ban in 2014, a little under a year before the United States Supreme Court took marriage equality national. Wallmann's forthcoming album Love Wins draws on that experience in an exuberant collaboration that celebrates the victory ("We (Will) Love"), grapples with the painful (and sometimes literal) fights for gay rights over the decades ("Stonewall Was A Riot"), and braces for the struggles to come in a political climate of reinvigorated bigotry ("Equality!" and "Go On"). The music, stuffed with contributions from a bunch of Wisconsin musicians, doesn't fit easily alongside the heady conversations of The Town Musicians or the elegance of Always Something—it's both more tense and more rollicking. Beloved Madison MC Rob Dz's spoken-word performances throughout the album bolster its thematic backbone. On the album's most memorable track, "The Seventh Circuit," the musicians stir up a tempestuous groove around audio from the actual oral arguments in Wolf before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, with Dz's voice occasionally cutting in to offer emotional rejoinders to the legal arcana. Wallmann will perform the album and other new material here with Borden (who is also a singer), Dz, trumpeter Russ Johnson, saxophonist Jonathan Greenstein, guitarist Andrew Trim, bassist John Christensen, drummer Devin Drobka, and vocalist Jan Wheaton. Wallmann points out that the show will be exactly one month before the three-year anniversary of marriage equality becoming effective in Wisconsin and four other states. Maybe he'll also give a shout out to judge Richard Posner, a Reagan appointee who authored the Seventh Circuit's majority opinion in Wolf and recently retired. —Scott Gordon

Earlier Event: October 6
La Santa Cecilia