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Contemporary jazz greats to perform in Madison on Jan. 26 in tribute to historic jazz label Blue Note Records

Posted: 01/16/24

Contemporary jazz greats to perform in Madison on Jan. 26 in tribute to historic jazz label Blue Note Records

A concert celebrating the 85th anniversary of the longest-running jazz label in the world, called Blue Note Records, will come to Madison, Wisconsin, on Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Wisconsin Union Theater’s (WUT's) Jazz Series.

The 90-minute Blue Note Records 85th Anniversary Tour event at Shannon Hall in Memorial Union will feature a collective of jazz stars that includes pianist and musical director Gerald Clayton, alto saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins, vibraphonist Joel Ross, drummer Kendrick Scott, and bassist Matt Brewer. The collective’s tour performances around the country celebrate the label, which has a history that includes many music styles – including hot jazz and blues to cool jazz, bebop and fusion – and that built the bridge into today’s avant-garde jazz. 

“Blue Note has been such a wonderful home for the community for incredible musicians, for creativity for all these years,” Clayton said.

The label that The New York Times called the most storied label in jazz tunes has been a label home for such jazz greats as Art Blakely, Wayne Shorter, Annie Lennox, Willie Nelson, Miles Davis and John Coltrane. In addition to the anniversary tour quintet artists, Blue Note Records artists currently include Anita Baker, Elvis Costello and the Roots, DOMi and JD Beck, Al Green, and Norah Jones.

“I urge everyone who loves music to come on out and catch the 85th Blue Note Quintet,” Blue Note Records President Don Was said. “What I love about all these guys is that, despite their incredible technical knowledge and proficiency, they all play from the heart first. They’re telling stories through their instruments.”

German Jewish immigrant Alfred Lion founded Blue Note Records in 1939 in New York with the mission to serve the uncompromising expressions of hot jazz or swing. His childhood friend Francis Wolff soon joined the endeavor. The duo built a reputation for supporting jazz visionaries and embracing new jazz styles. The founders declared a dedication to creating uncompromising music rooted in authenticity. 

WUT and the student-led Wisconsin Union Directorate (WUD) Performing Arts Committee (PAC) are co-presenting this performance and all of the WUT 2023-24 season

Theater-goers can save 20% on WUT season events through the build-your-own subscription, with options of three to five events for 15% off or six or more events for a 20% discount. 

Additional WUT season events include international music, jazz and chamber music. 

Patrons can purchase tickets to the Blue Note Records 85th Anniversary Tour performance in Madison and other WUT season events online, at the Memorial Union Box Office or by phone at (608) 265-2787.

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