I always have a ball in my hometown of Milwaukee. The Eastside Jazzfest was a great success all around, and my quartet set was enjoyable as the cats were burnin’:
This festival, in its second year of presentation by the estimable organization Milwaukee Jazz Vision, featured a vibrant cross section of the Milwaukee and regional jazz scene, with emphasis on the newer faces on the scene. It was the first time hearing many of these players for me, and I was impressed with the level of playing and a lot of cool concepts that were being put down instrumentally and compositionally. Milwaukee Jazz Vision intends to revitalize the Milwaukee jazz scene through their efforts, and I think they are going to do just that! Support them at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Milwaukee-Jazz-Vision/156885517694623?sk=wall (Facebook page); http://www.milwaukeejazzvision.org/ (website).
Education is a integral part of Milwaukee Jazz Vision’s mission. So it was natural for school groups to be represented on the Eastside Jazzfest’s program, including the group I mentor as artist in residence for the Wisconsin Conservatory Of Music’s Jazz Institute program for high school age players.The Jazz Institute ensembles’ performances at Eastside Jazzfest was the culmination of the week’s activities I shared with them, including rehearsals, classes and lessons, and performances at local schools and senior centers. We had a great time. Seeing “my kids” perform on the big stage and interact backstage with the older cats at the Jazzfest really reminded me of my own start in Milwaukee and jazz. It’s incredibly touching and great to see, and it means a lot to be a part of this chain of tradition.