Isthmus Jazz Festival


Brent Nicastro

In 1987, organizers roped Ben Sidran into playing a set — and Steve Miller stopped by. Then came Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Betty Carter and Herbie Hancock. This year’s Isthmus Jazz Festival celebrates the event’s 30th anniversary. more

Jun 15, 2017 5:00 AM Isthmus Cover Stories 1 Comments


Henry Adebonojo

Jazz legend Terence Blanchard headlines 30th anniversary Isthmus Jazz Festival June 16-17. more

May 5, 2017 3:45 PM MUSIC

Joey Alexander, the 12-year-old Indonesian jazz pianist who wowed the audience at the 2016 Grammys, is coming to Madison to headline the Isthmus Jazz Festival on June 22. more

Apr 15, 2016 3:04 PM MUSIC


Reese Moore

Freddy Cole, brother of Nat King Cole, has forged a luminous career, performing all over the world and recording more than 20 albums. He joins a lineup of local luminaries for the Isthmus Jazz Festival, June 19-20 at the UW Memorial Union. more

Jun 16, 2015 2:47 PM MUSIC


Austin Jeffries

Ralph Russo, cultural arts director of the Wisconsin Union Theater, warned the near-capacity crowd Saturday night that there are "lots of touchups to finalize" in the renovated auditorium space now known as Shannon Hall. But iconic bassist and UW mus more

Jun 22, 2014 4:07 PM MUSIC


Joe Engle

I walked out to the Union Terrace at sunset for an entirely different sort of musical pleasure. The Darren Sterud Orchestra played a set of punchy big-band jazz, heavy on Thad Jones. more

Jun 21, 2014 6:18 PM MUSIC

Bassist Richard Davis' star power should draw a big crowd to Isthmus Jazz Fest at the UW Memorial Union June 20-21, but the event is also a chance to celebrate other acts that keep the genre alive close to home and around the world. more

Jun 19, 2014 2:00 PM , MUSIC

The Isthmus Jazz Festival is the first event at the new, improved Wisconsin Union Theater, which has been under construction for the past two years. Richard Davis and Willie Pickens will be the inaugural performers at Shannon Hall, the theater's prim more

Jun 19, 2014 2:00 PM MUSIC


Timothy Hughes

It takes only a few minutes of conversation with Richard Davis to figure out that this is a man who likes to wing it. That's true whether he's recording an album, teaching a group of aspiring bassists or mapping out a concert set list. more

Jun 19, 2014 2:00 PM MUSIC

This year's Isthmus Jazz Fest on the Terrace takes place at the UW Memorial Union on June 20 and 21. All events, including Richard Davis' appearance with Willie Pickens, are free and open to the public. Acts perform on the Terrace unless noted otherw more

Jun 19, 2014 2:00 PM MUSIC


Dean Robbins

The 2012 Isthmus Jazz Festival began Friday afternoon under blue skies, with sailboats drifting behind the UW Terrace stage. It's hard to be in a bad mood in such conditions, and the Ladies Must Swing big band made it even harder. They hark back to t more

Jun 2, 2012 1:22 PM MUSIC