The Greater Madison Jazz Consortium wants locals to soak up spirits and song on the near-west side for its second musical pub crawl. The event, called Strollin' Monroe Street, runs from 4 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, July 19, and comes on the heels of Strollin' Schenk's Corners, a near-east side event that took place on May 23.
Howard Landsman, the Consortium's coordinator, says Strollinâ€™ was initially conceived as a series to bring live music to commercial districts around the Madison area.
"We're especially interested in walkable districts that have multiple venues in close proximity," he says. "Schenk's Corners and Monroe Street were always at the top of our list of areas that fit the profile."
Landsman notes that 2014 is a year of trial runs for Strollin' events.
"[This year] is when we work out the kinks in the program concept, show prospective supporters how Strollin' can be beneficial to them, and hopefully set things up for the program to become financially sustainable, while encouraging our 2014 participating venues to consider booking more live jazz year-round," he says.
Six venues will take part in Strollin' Monroe Street. The festivities begin at 4 p.m. on the Monroe Commons Outdoor Stage, where the Madison West High School jazz combo Quantum Dots and a youth ensemble from Madison Music Foundry will perform. Spoken-word performances at the Monroe Street branch of the Madison Public Library also start at 4 p.m. Featured artists include Flowpoetry (Adam Pergament), Heymiss Progress (Sabrina Madison) and Rob Dz, all of whom will be backed by the Lucas Koehler Combo. Brocach shifts its focus from Irish music to jazz from 5 to 7 p.m., when Standard and Pours and saxophonist Clay Lyons perform. HotelRED turns into a laid-back lounge around 8 p.m., beginning with a performance from vocalist Gerri DiMaggio and pianist Paul Hastil and ending with a multi-instrumental set from the Paul Dietrich Quartet.
Jazz sounds from around the world are a highlight of this Strollin' event. Baci hosts Brazilian music from the University Pagode Church and Grupo BalanĂ§a from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Then, beginning at 10 p.m., gypsy jazz acts Caravan Gypsy Swing Ensemble and Harmonious Wail will end the night at Brasserie V with odes to Hot Club de France, guitar legend Django Reinhardt's Parisian stomping grounds.
There will be more chances to stroll in the near future as well. Landsman says another musical pub crawl is tentatively planned for September, and that the Consortium is considering King Street, South Park Street, and downtown Middleton and Sun Prairie for future strolls.