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Friday, December 26, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 43.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
The Daily
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Bassist extraordinaire Richard Davis to headline the 2014 Isthmus Jazz Festival
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Isthmus Jazz Festival headliner Richard Davis.
Credit:Bryce Richter

In its search for a 2014 headliner, the Isthmus Jazz Festival found a superstar close to home. Richard Davis is not only a longtime music professor at the UW-Madison, but an internationally celebrated jazz bassist. He will perform with pianist Willie Pickens on Saturday, June 21, in the Wisconsin Union Theater.

Davis is known for his work with such jazz legends as Sarah Vaughan, Miles Davis and Dexter Gordon, not to mention pop stars like Bruce Springsteen, Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand. He has also recorded a dozen notable albums as a leader. This year he was honored with a prestigious Jazz Master Award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Isthmus Jazz Festival runs June 20-21 in various venues at the UW Memorial Union. It features over a dozen sets, from big band to Gypsy swing to salsa. Among the performers are gutsy saxophonist Frank Catalano, avant-garde pianist Joan Wildman, vocalist Jan Wheaton, pianist Dave Stoler, Latin band Madisalsa, and the University of Wisconsin Jazz Orchestra with guest artist Vern Sielert. All performances are free.

Befitting a summer event, most of the festival takes place outside on the Memorial Union Terrace. But festival-goers will also get a first look at the renovated Wisconsin Union Theater and Fredric March Play Circle. The Play Circle will host late-night jam sessions on both Friday and Saturday.

The complete schedule follows.

Friday, June 20

  • 4:30 p.m.: High School Jazz All Stars (Terrace)
  • 6 p.m.: Caravan Gypsy Swing Ensemble (Terrace)
  • 7 p.m.: Joan Wildman Quartet (Play Circle)
  • 8 p.m.: Darren Sterud Orchestra (Terrace)
  • 9 p.m.: Madison jazz jam (Play Circle)
  • 10 p.m.: Madisalsa (Terrace)

Saturday, June 21

  • 1:30 p.m.: Edgewood Big Band (Terrace)
  • 2:45 p.m.: UW-Whitewater Big Band (Terrace)
  • 4 p.m.: Jan Wheaton (Terrace)
  • 6 p.m.: University of Wisconsin Jazz Orchestra with guest artist Vern Sielert (Terrace)
  • 7:30 p.m.: Richard Davis with Willie Pickens (Wisconsin Union Theater)
  • 9 p.m.: Dave Stoler Trio (Play Circle)
  • 9:30 p.m.: Frank Catalano (Terrace)
  • 10:45 p.m.: New Breed jam session (Play Circle)

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