World-class musicians come to UW-Parkside for Jazz Week

Published: February 25, 2020
By: UW-Parkside Marketing & Communications

SOMERS – The UW-Parkside College of Arts and Humanities is proud to present Jazz Week 2020! From Monday, March 16 to Saturday, March 21, UW-Parkside will be hosting world-class musicians on the cutting-edge of what’s happening in Jazz today. There are seven concerts slated for the week, many of which are free. The concerts are all open to the public and will be held in Bedford Concert Hall of the Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts and Humanities.

This year’s performers include Jaimie Branch & Fly or Die; Ben LaMar Gay; Marquis Hill; The Bad Plus; the Parkside Jazz Faculty and Parkside Jazz Ensemble with high school jazz ensembles; and, Bruce Forman.

Kicking things of on Monday, March 16, come see Jaimie Branch & Fly or Die in Bedford Concert Hall at 7 p.m. In a generation crowded with trumpet talent, Jaimie Branch has emerged in recent years as a unique voice capable of transforming every ensemble of which she is a part. At times fierce and direct, her scintillating tone also has the ability to ignite music from within while propelling a group organically. This concert is free and open to the public, and there will also be a post-concert Q&A session afterward.

Next, on Tuesday, March 17, Chicago native Ben LaMar Gay will grace the Bedford Concert Hall at 7 p.m. Ben LaMar Gay is a composer and cornetist who moves sound, color, and space through folkloric filters to produce electro-acoustic collages. By being active in Chicago’s experimental music scene and having spent a three-year residency in Brazil, Ben has collaborated with several influential figures in the world of music, including Joshua Abrams, the Association of the Advancement of Creative Musicians, Bixiga 70, Black Monks of Mississippi, Celso Fonseca, George Lewis, Nicole Mitchell, Jeff Parker, Theo Parrish, Mike Reed, Tomeka Reid, and Itibere Zwarg. This concert is free and open to the public, and there will also be a post-concert Q&A session afterward.

Then, on Wednesday, March 18, Marquis Hill will take to the stage at 8 p.m. in Bedford Concert Hall. From his beginnings as one of Chicago’s most thrilling young trumpeters, to his current status as an internationally renowned musician, composer and bandleader, Marquis Hill has worked tirelessly to break down the barriers that divide musical genres. Contemporary and classic jazz, hip-hop, R&B, Chicago house, neo-soul—to Hill, they’re all essential elements of the profound African-American creative heritage he’s a part of. “It all comes from the same tree,” he says. “They simply blossomed from different branches.” This concert is free and open to the public, and there will also be a post-concert Q&A session afterward.

On Thursday March 19, The Bad Plus bring their bad selves to Bedford Concert Hall for a 7 p.m. performance. The Bad Plus came together at the end of the 20th century and has avoided easy categorization ever since, winning critical hosannas and a legion of fans worldwide with their creativity, unique sound and flair for live performance. The band consists of founding members Reid Anderson (bass) and Dave King (drums) and newer member Orrin Evans (piano) — a group of passionate collaborators with no single “leader.” Never Stop II was the first full-length release from this lineup, comprised entirely of original music with each member contributing fresh compositions. The New York Times called it "an exhilarating document" that sparked an exciting new chapter for the iconic group. Tickets for this concert are $5 for students/staff/seniors and $10 for general admission.

On Friday, March 20, the Parkside Jazz faculty will perform at 12 p.m. in Bedford Concert Hall. This free, one-hour concert will feature Russ Johnson on trumpet, Chris Madsen on saxophone, Jim Sodke on piano, Tim Ipsen on bass, and Paul Westfahl on drums. Then, at 7 p.m. on the same day, the Parkside Jazz Ensemble will perform alongside several high school jazz ensembles from Case High School, Horlick, Park High School, and Oak Creek High School. Tickets for this concert are $5 for students/staff/seniors and $10 for general admission.

Finally, on Saturday, March 21, critically acclaimed producer, arranger, and educator Bruce Forman will perform in Bedford Concert Hall at 7 p.m. A hectic touring schedule; eighteen recordings as a leader, including his newest release, Junkyard Duo; countless sideman recordings including Ray Brown, Bobby Hutcherson, Roger Kellaway; soundtrack performances on three of Clint Eastwood’s distinguished films—most notably Academy Award-winning Million Dollar Baby; producer, arranger, acclaimed educator, in residence at USC’s Studio/Jazz Guitar Dept., when does Bruce Forman rest? His music and life reflect every step of his journey, and demonstrate the awareness of an artist who’s very much at home in the world, and at the top of his form. This show is sponsored by S.E. Wisconsin Hearing Center, Inc. Though the event is free, contributions to music scholarships are appreciated.

Jazz Week is sponsored in part by contributions from Kenosha Community foundation, the Uline Corporation, the Southeast Wisconsin Hearing Center, and the College of Arts and Humanities. Parking for Jazz Week performances is free in Lot B & C in any unmetered, undesignated space.

For more information, contact The Rita Box Office at 262-595-2564 or visit


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