Like a lot of things in this post-bubble era, the Isthmus Jazz Festival endures, but in a compact, shortened format. This year's festival fits into two days, but they are two days' worth of the highest-quality offerings.
For the details, you can reference editor Dean Robbins' preview of the festivities, our arts feature for the week. Robbins, who maintains a lifelong affair with a trumpet, knows his jazz and gives an informed précis for all the performers on Friday and Saturday, June 4 and 5, all but one of whom will be performing outdoors at the magical Memorial Union Terrace. (The action moves into the Rathskeller in case of rain.)
The "but one" is the only ticketed attraction, headliner Tierney Sutton, the Nicolet High School girl who got religion and moved to L.A. Not that L.A. is exactly a religious experience, but Sutton is a longtime adherent of the Bahá'i faith, something she shares with the late great Dizzy Gillespie, as well as a number of other jazzers. She is currently the chair of the vocal department of the L.A. Music Academy in Pasadena.
Sutton will perform at the Wisconsin Union Theater on Saturday, June 5, with her band of 16 years, a quartet that are also her legal partners in the musical enterprise. She places a strong emphasis on spirituality and collaboration - the band share equally in the fruits of their performances and their eight albums.
Featured on Friday evening at the outdoor venue is the young but veteran Chicago tenor player Frank Catalano. On Saturday afternoon on the Terrace, the Francesca Esmé Quartet, out of the unlikely but well-known jazz program at the University of North Texas, will be the other outliers appearing at the Jazz Fest.
All the rest of the slots are filled with strong representatives of the local talent, including the Isthmus High School Jazz All Stars, coached by Edgewood College professor Dan Wallach. For the complete lineup, see Robbins' article and the accompanying schedule.