Isthmus Jazz Festival

Now in its 21st year, the Isthmus Jazz Festival is a two-day celebration of America’s homegrown art form. The free festival kicks off the summer season in one of Madison’s most beautiful outdoor settings, the Memorial Union Terrace, with Lake Mendota as a glittering backdrop. A diverse crowd of students, jazz aficionados and casual fans fill the tables to hear a lineup that reflects a century’s worth of jazz styles. Dixieland, big-band swing, bebop, Latin jazz and free jazz are all part of the mix, along with contemporary derivations like funk and hip-hop. The festival is committed to honoring jazz’s glorious tradition while keeping one eye fixed on the future.

Check out more on it here.


Friday, June 5

4 – 5:30 pm: Patrick Breiner Trio
6 – 7:30 pm: Gerri DiMaggio
8 – 9:30 pm: New Breed Quintet
10 – close pm: Madison Jazz Orchestra

Saturday, June 6

12:30 – 1:30 pm: Mama Dig Down’s Brass Band (beginning on Library mall)
2 – 3:30 pm: High School Jazz All-Stars
3:30 – 4:30 pm: Edgewood College Big Band
5 – 6 pm: Jan Wheaton
6:30 – 8 pm: Tim Whalen Nonet
8 – 9:30 pm: Headliner David Sanchez, ticketed event in the Wisconsin Union Theater
8:30 – 10 pm: Get Down, Mr. Cat!
10:30 pm – close: Madisalsa

Sax Master Sam Butera R.I.P.


Sam Butera, the hard-driving, hard-swinging New Orleans saxophonist who was Louis Prima’s longtime musical partner, died Wednesday in Las Vegas following a long illness. He was 81. Mr. Butera joined Prima’s band in 1954. With singer Keely Smith, they built one of the most popular acts in the golden age of Las Vegas. Mr. Butera cooked up the arrangements that gave the likes of “Just a Gigolo”/ “I Ain’t Got Nobody” and “Jump Jive An’ Wail” maximum impact. “Louis’s ace-in-the-hole was Sam Butera,” said Gia Prima, the fifth of Louis’s five wives and the singer in his band from 1962 to 1975. “That animal attraction that they had, with Sam’s honking sax and Louis’s jumping and jiving — without Sam, Louis couldn’t have pulled it off.” Mr. Butera grew up in the 7th Ward. His father owned Poor Boys Grocery & Meat Market. One evening the elder Butera took his son to see a big band, and asked the boy which horn he liked the best….”The saxophones were closest, so I pointed to the saxophones,” Mr. Butera recalled in a 1996 interview. “The next day I had a horn.”

Please see the rest of the article from Keith Spera here.

R.I.P QUEEN of the blues

There was a moment where even the blues took a break, Grammy Award-winning blues legend Koko Taylor, 80, died on June 3, 2009 in her hometown of Chicago, IL, as a result of complications following her May 19 surgery to correct a gastrointestinal bleed. On May 7, 2009, the critically acclaimed Taylor, known worldwide as the “Queen of the Blues,” won her 29th Blues Music Award (for Traditional Female Blues Artist Of The Year), making her the recipient of more Blues Music Awards than any other artist. In 2004 she received the NEA National Heritage Fellowship Award, which is among the highest honors given to an American artist. Her most recent CD, 2007’s Old School, was nominated for a Grammy (eight of her nine Alligator albums were Grammy-nominated). She won a Grammy in 1984 for her guest appearance on the compilation album Blues Explosion on Atlantic.

Please see the entire news piece from Miss Taylor’s website here and take a moment to remember how she sang those blues to you.


They Often Cry Outreach

St. Lucian roots reggae artist Taj Weekes launches TOCO SOCCER in St. Lucia, through his charity They Often Cry Outreach (TOCO), by bringing hundreds of soccer balls, uniforms and equipment to both primary and secondary schools and local charity groups on the island. The soccer gear will be distributed during a press conference in the Conference Room at the Olympic Committee, Olympic House in Barnard Hill on Friday, May 29th at 1:00 pm. Built on the belief that one soccer ball can be not only a source of joy to a child but also improve health, self-discipline, self-esteem and confidence, TOCO SOCCER was inspired by Weekes’ own childhood in St. Lucia, where he experienced first-hand the benefits of the game. Building these traits in children strengthens their ability to move through society with the knowledge that they can live beyond their circumstances and take responsibility for their own health and well-being, an important element in diabetes prevention, so prevalent in St. Lucia today. Through TOCO’s recent efforts, BIOLA University of Southern California has pledged five annual scholarships to qualified soccer players who exhibit strong grade point averages and testing scores. These scholarships will be awarded to St. Lucian students through TOCO SOCCER and are an exciting asset to the charity’s mission. TOCO is collaborating with RISE (St. Lucia) Inc. for this event and is honored to have the support of Dr. Jacqueline Bird and Dr. Stephen King, the latter whom will be addressing the group at the press conference. RISE and TOCO share the common goal of supporting and engaging youth so that they may take the lead in their own development and contribute something of value to the community as well. They Often Cry Outreach (TOCO) was founded in 2008 by Taj Weekes in effort to help underprivileged, at-risk and orphaned children in the Caribbean and beyond through sport, enrichment, educational and wellness programs. With the support of the World Association of Former United Nation Interns and Fellows (WAFUNIF), the International Consortium of Caribbean Professionals (ICCP) has named Taj Weekes a Goodwill Ambassador to the Caribbean in recognition of his efforts through TOCO.

For more information on Taj Weekes, visit and,

R.I.P. Wayman Tisdale

Wayman Tisdale, who scaled the heights in two high-profile careers as a professional basketball player and a chart-topping recording star, died May 15 of cancer at a hospital in Tulsa. He was 44…..” That is how the article in the Washington Post starts, but from knowing some folks who know him so very well, there is so much more to the man, the smile, the grace and the talent. You as a caring and observant person will be able to find out Wayman’s basketball stats (An incredible college career, an Olympic gold and a long NBA career) and locate the tunes he created by going to many varied musical getting spots of your liking~but it is from the people who knew him best that i recall how the “Big Man” was a gentle soul with a smile that made things better….I will staill be able to share Wayman’s music with you but there’s more to pass along. Before his tragic death on May 15, 2009, he created The Wayman Tisdale Foundation, which is committed to making a difference in the lives of individuals with cancer as well as amputees. “I believe the best way to help is to provide support and resources. I know we can make a difference one person, one family at a time”.


Let’s all work together to finish what Wayman has started.

Donations can be made to:
The Wayman Tisdale Foundation
c/o Paul Samuels
Morgan Stanley
2200 S. Utica Place
Suite 500
Tulsa, OK 74114.

WORT Block Party

This Sunday May 17th was a beautiful day for the WORT block party. Come one and come all and they did. When neighborhoods take time to get together and listen to tunes and share moments around, beer…’s bound to be a good thing. This was the 12th annual filled with activities for kids of all ages.


Big thanks to the Block Party Sponsors:
The Madison Homebrewers & Tasters Guild, Madison Blues Society, Community Pharmacy, Harmony Bar & Grill, High Noon Saloon, The Malt House, Mother Fool’s Coffeehouse, Smart Studios, & Willy Street Co-op!

Overture in ’09-’10

The new season was announced today with a special “Media Day” event to unveil the variety of shows set to make their way into Madison for the 2009-2010 season at the Overture Center for the Arts. I took a behind the scenes tour of the facility, which certainly was impressive and mingled with some others in the local media world while keeping my friends with the hors d’oeuvres busy and laughing. Here are what I would consider some highlights of the upcoming season:

10/13~ An Evening with David Sederis
11/10-15~ Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39th Steps
11/12~ Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana
12/4~ Step Afrika!
1/14~ Chris Botti w/the Madison Symphony Orch.
2/9~ Pilobolus Dance Theatre
2/11 Lily Tomlin
2/14~ Peking Acrobats
3/6~ International Festival
~Sones of Mexico
3/19~ Shidara
3/26~ Gladys Knight
4/9~ Bobby Osbourne
4/29~ Monterey Jazz Festival:
~Kenny Barron Trio
~Regina Carter
~Kurt Elling
~Russell Malone

For more information of the mission of this center for sharing ideas, arts and cultures visit their website and tell them I sent you along.

Lea Zeldin Memorial

Long time community activist and W-O-R-T volunteer Lea Zeldin passed away recently following a massive stroke. Lea’s family invites her many friends from throughout the community to a memorial on Saturday, April 11th beginning at 5pm, at the Madison Labor Temple, 1602 S. Park St. The memorial will begin with a potluck. Bring your favorite dish for Lea who so loved great food and conversation. (Beverages will be provided by the family.) Following the potluck there will be an opportunity to share stories and remembrances of Lea.

Lea Zeldin, an activist for social justice, world peace, civil rights, and health care for all, died Thursday, April 3, 2009, from complications of a stroke in Madison, at age 80. Lea was born in Chicago, Ill., April 20, 1928, to Edward E. Kellner and Julia (Weisbrot) Kellner. She became involved in issues of social justice after a school trip to an Ohio prison, and by walking the picket lines for a telephone workers strike. She met her husband, Lawrence Zeldin, at Ohio State University while attending a lecture series. They were married in Columbus, where he completed a Ph.D. in Chemistry. They moved to Madison in 1953. Lawrence died in 1955 from polio. Lea was active in the anti-nuclear movement in the 1950s. She worked with Congress On Racial Equality or CORE, in the 1960s to integrate Sears. Her anti-Vietnam War actions included demonstrations at the 1964 Wisconsin Republican and Democratic State Conventions, participating in the Dow Chemical protests at the University of Wisconsin, and performing in the anti-war play “MacBird!” Lea lived in Bologna, Italy from 1964 to 1966. She worked as a community organizer in Minneapolis, Minn., from 1969 to 1971. An intrepid traveler, she attended conferences on health care, Slow Food, women’s rights, community radio, and small farms in Mexico, Libya, Jordan, France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Lea organized the Martin Luther King Free Community Dinners, worked with Response to Hunger Network, Health Writers, Woman’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Low Power Radio (WIDE), the Socialist Potluck, Freedom House Free School, and other organizations. Lea was a volunteer at WORT (89.9FM) Radio, hosting Kitchen Review, Health Writers, Public Affair, and book reviews. Lea is survived by her sons, Stephen (Rebecca Ludwig), Robin (Jeanette), Paul (Sarita), and Eric (Shari); and grandchildren, Rachel, Raphael, Emma, Noah, Jacob, and Julia. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to WORT-FM89.9, 118 S. Bedford St, Madison, WI 53703.

Although i didn’t know Lea very well or for that long, she is someone I aspire to be more like.

Sounds of Baseball

The season starts tonight and I am ready. I have the transistor radio dusted off with many choice: Brewers and Bob Uecker calling the game and both Windy City teams come in on the AM dial. Certainly one of the loves of my life is the cerebral sense-appeal that baseball gives me. PLAY BALL and listen in with the crackle only found on an old time transistor radio.

Albums I am listening to

but maybe not sharing over the airwaves………hey there is only so much time!!

Retrograss-Grisman/Hartford/M. Seeger
the Jungle Book- Dissidenten
If I Been Born an Eagle- Huun Huur Tu
L’ Echelle Du Desire- Jack Dupon
Enter Panola County- Cashman
Shotgun Daisy- Stacie Rose
The Opposite Side of the Sea- Oren Lavie
Boxing Dreams- Sean Noonan’s Brewed by Noon
Redux- OGOGO
Shootenanny- Eels
Kingmaker- ProCon
Awake at the Funeral- Deep 6 Holiday
Pictures and Sound
Gypsy Jazz- Kalman Balogh & the Gypsy Cimbalom
75- Joe Zawinul & the Zawinul Syndicate

Keep WORT Weird..err..Wired

This is the time of year where we at the local listener sponsored community radio here in Madison, WORT looks to have those we reach…..reach back a little. WORT-FM is a non-commercial, listener sponsored, member controlled community radio station broadcasting to south central Wisconsin. WORT volunteers and staff provide quality programming and services to a broad spectrum of the community through:
* promotion of communication, education, entertainment, and understanding by providing a forum for both the discussion of public issues and the expansion of musical and cultural experience;
* facilitation of community expression and provision of community access to the airwaves for the purpose of sharing music, culture, news, and information;
* challenge of the cultural and intellectual assumptions of our listeners through unique and diverse programming;
* orientation towards the audience with concern for those under- represented by other media.

WORT is committed to radio programming with a human perspective — respecting all peoples and their environments.


Celebrate youth

After the show Saturday, went to the Monona Terrace for a gathering to celebrate youth. 2009 marks the 10th anniversary of Wisconsin Youth Company’s annual showcase of youth arts and performance. It’s a day to let young people know how much we value their contributions to our communities. It’s a celebration of the youth in our region and the diversity of their cultures, talents, and interests. We highlight the amazing talent and dedication of our youth, and give them a chance to shine and share their passions. There were multiple stages of youth performances, a visual art exhibit, hands-on activities, and exhibit booths with resources on programs and services for youth and families. It was a day filled with fun for all ages! This year’s theme is “Up in the Air.” The sky is the limit in 2009! The day showcased all things that fly and float. They actually managed to incorporate the beauty, color and captivating nature of kites as well as trapeze, juggling, aviation, birds and much more.


the WOLFGANG by E. Van Halen

Dutch/American rock star Eddie Van Halen has managed to create a new indestructible guitar with bosses of a top medical tool company. The Wolfgang, which has been named after Van Halen’s son and his band mate, features custom-made stainless steel frets and metal accessories. And Van Halen knows that his new instrument is unbreakable, because he tried to trash it on the last tour. “During the last show, I actually tried to break a Wolfgang, and it wouldn’t break. I picked it up and I couldn’t break the damn thing. I threw it up in the air, and later put it out in the rain. I picked it up half an hour later, and it was still in tune. It p**sed me off,” Contactmusic quoted him as telling CNN. The price for Van Halen’s new guitar has been set at 3,000 dollars. I personally wonder what unique sounds this “Super Hero” of guitars can offer, since you would never need another guitar again if it won’t bust up….also, how will this machine adapt to the advances of the near future and beyond?


Langerado Canceled

Today, the 2009 Langerado Music Festival is cancelled due to sluggish ticket sales. The 7th annual event was slated to happen March 6-8 at their new home in downtown Miami’s Bicentennial Park. Langerado’s independent local promoters, faced with a very tough decision in a dismal economy, cancelled the 2009 event only after every possible option was exhausted. As Langerado Co-Promoter Ethan Schwartz explains, “Langerado has always put the fan experience first. Unfortunately, during these difficult economic times, and facing a first year in a new venue, it’s become apparent that we cannot execute a production that lives up to the high standards of our past events. Putting Langerado on hold was the toughest decision we have ever had to make. We are very grateful for the support of the greater-Miami community and the music community during this difficult time.” All tickets purchased will be refunded. Please look for ticket refunds to be processed in the next 5-7 business days. Each order will be refunded to the credit card in full, minus the included order processing fees. Shipping fees will also be credited for those orders that did not select the free shipping promotion. Visit for more information.


Sitar concerto #3 live

Tickets are on sale for the world premier concerts of Ravi Shankar’s “Sitar Concerto #3 for Anoushka and Orchestra. Anoushka will be performing with the fabulous Orpheus orchestra, famous for performing without a conductor! .

The mini-tour kicks off in Chicago with shows at:

25th January: Chicago, IL
29th January: Easton, PA
30th January: South Orange, NJ
31st January: Carnegie Hall, New York, NY

(details about each show are up on Anoushka’s myspace page)

Don’t miss this unusual concert!

Anoushka Shankar 2001.jpg

Back on somewhat

Well, after many years of decent service…the old computer box is going to be laid to rest after getting sorting through for all the essentials. Got a set-up going that is in “just for now” mode but all should be restored to where it once was right around the corner. Working on setting up a few interviews but with the frigid temperatures outside–I have been in little rush to make my way downtown. Coming up next week will be the Disco Biscuits, which should make the air moist with a certain warmth.