anders svanoe/thomas ferrella interview with jonathan zarov, WORT 89.9 fm, 2/23/18

serendipity

is often the harbinger of great things, maybe it’s a sense of awareness that things are possible, living an open life, allowing worlds to collide…well that is exactly the formula that allowed for the genesis of this jazz series

on a non-descript spring day in 2016 i get a whisper phone call from a fellow cigar-smoking frame-building buddy, kevin metz, “hey…ferrella…you know a guy named roscoe mitchell?… “yes”, a lil thought bubble emerges – who the hell doesn’t?… ”well, I’m in his basement installing new floors and he is upstairs with all of these guys making the craziest noise, you’d love it”, second thought bubble – that’s music, for f***’s sake!

now the light-bulb moment: by then i had already met jolynne roorda, proprietor of the non-profit arts+literature laboratory and thought, just maybe, mr mitchell would like to perform there while he is back in town – as a sidebar mr mitchell used to live here in madison, but took off for a more welcoming california environment where he is a professor in jazz studies at mills college; this wackadoodle idea was floated to kevin who in turn floated it to roscoe and the next day i get a phone call

“is this thomas?… this is roscoe mitchell”   …gulp…  and that particular collision led to this jazz series

i simply book what i like, so pick an adjective – avant-garde – free jazz – improvisational jazz – experimental … does it really matter?  i personally don’t pigeon-hole anything and semantics are not important here, but what is important is that this just happens to be the type of music that moves the jazz art form forward, these are the musicians that don’t hesitate in allowing worlds to collide, in fact they embrace it – my kindof folks! – to name drop some of the ALL musicians: ken vandermark, greg ward, russ johnson, tomeika reid, andrew cyrille, tim daisy, makaya mccraven, eddie gomez, dave king, chris speed, tim berne, michael zerang, jeb bishop, hamid drake, dan phillips, mars williams, bill mchenry, caroline davis, larry ochs, nate wooley, chris tordini, fareed haque, reid anderson, paal nilssen-love…oh hell yea!… and our beloved local musicians have stepped up to the plate and have held their own with consistent home runs… michael brenneis, john christensen, brennan connors, anders svanoe, matt blair, devin drobka, russ johnson, jonathan greenstein, paul dietrich, dave cooper…, these folks have blessed us humble mid westerners with the anointment of sonic love – thank you!

caroline davis called our venue “a national icon” – you have to love her on many levels, first she floats that alto… is that getz?, then she writes, arranges and plays these personal poignant melodies piercing the limbic with integrity grit and love, yes that makes you flip and oh yea…btw she does the same thing with her voice!  that’s a trifecta my friend, a hat trick..lucky cherries…but national icon?  …hhhmmm… the remark was reiterated about a month later  by trumpeter, russ johnson and then vandermark said “ferrella is working at the highest level to produce concerts for an important audience in america, and for one of the most significant groups of musicians in the world – those who belong to the avant-garde.”…so…that got me a thinkin…

i simply opened a door, offered a small quiet listening room, no contracts, enthusiastic respectful listeners showed up, a diy culture where everyone shares in the same vision, respect and love become the constant, the musicians get it…and that is where those comments come from, fans are digging – musicians are digging, it is simply beautiful

and of course as with all great things, nothing happens in a vacuum, i am fortunate to surround myself with respectful, mildly-touched individuals like dave stone, ed ahrens, rick campbell, + several sponsors like mr anonymous who has helped us financially and me personally as a cultural sensei, mike at ALCHEMY and rajan at DOBHAN – where our musicians eat for free! …and more worlds collide…

will the revolution start with music?  – i am hopeful

tf

since these humble beginnings, I have officially partnered with dave stone in 2019 and have launched our new venture, BLUE STEM JAZZ! We are continuing our services of presenting progressive jazz in madison, however we have now partnered with 6 local venues as a means of expanding our services and increasing exposure for this valuable art form. These venues range from quiet recording-studio listening rooms to full on killer clubs. All dedicated to the progressive, avant-garde, experimental musician. And as always we do this simply as volunteers and do not take a penny. What we get in return is much more valuable. Beautiful, beautiful music in our own town. This is making a couple old guys really happy!

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bluestem jazz launched  non-profit sponsors/presenters of progressive jazz in madison, wi.   https://isthmus.com/music/bluestem-jazz-nurtures-growing-madison-jazz-scene/

wort 89.9 fm fire worship with joanne pow!ers 5/14/19 – interview on the state of jazz in madison

badger herald by emilie burditt 1/28/19 https://badgerherald.com/artsetc/2019/01/28/davu-seru-jamal-r-moore-combine-traditional-jazz-with-nontraditional-instruments/

isthmus by allison geyer 11/29/18  https://isthmus.com/music/plutonium-jazz-drummer-michael-brenneis/

isthmus by kiel majewski  5/3/18  https://isthmus.com/music/madison-arts-literature-lab-jazz/

wort 89.9fm 8 o’clock buzz with tony castaneda  5/3/18 – interview on the ALL JAZZFEST

wisconsin state journal by gayle worland  4/27/18    http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/know-your-madisonian-former-er-physician-immersed-in-art-and/article_76e8962b-0ab4-555d-ab5a-6676b82e5c60.html

wort 89.9fm 8 o’clock buzz with jonathan zarov  2/23/18

capital times by erik lorenzsonn  2/27/17  http://host.madison.com/ct/entertainment/music/concert-series-brings-big-jazz-names-to-a-diy-space/article_9881e660-4c5c-56ac-962c-1d1e56fb21e3.html