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Isthmus Jazz Festival


  • Memorial Union 800 Langdon Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)
Terence Blanchard. Photo by Henry Adebonojo

Terence Blanchard. Photo by Henry Adebonojo

This year's Isthmus Jazz Festival boasts a ticketed headlining performance in the Union Theater by trumpeter Terence Blanchard (Saturday, 8 p.m.), whose career has spanned from playing with Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers to scoring most of Spike Lee's films, in addition to a formidable body of work as a composer and bandleader. The festival's free performances on the Terrace, though, include some younger jazz voices worth seeking out. Milwaukee drummer Kevin Hayden's trio (Friday, 8 p.m.) has its beginnings in jazz, but has expanded its compositional approach over the years to incorporate elements from hip-hop and R&B. The band's recorded output spans from conversational, keyboard driven jazz workouts to loop- and beat-rooted experiments to surprisingly mature jazz-vocal pieces. On Saturday at 6 p.m., the UW Jazz Orchestra will perform Madison-based trumpet player Paul Dietrich's "Scenes From Lake Mendota." Commissioned just for the festival, it's a three-part composition that celebrates the Terrace itself. —Scott Gordon

Earlier Event: June 15
Barry Rothbart (multiple showtimes)
Later Event: June 16
Bluelight IV