2023 Entertainment Lineup
Kavon Cortez Jones & The Next Paperback Hero
2018 WAMI Nominee, The Group, is known for playing the “Funkiest Jazz” on the planet and features Milwaukee’s finest musicians performing at the top of their game.
Members include: WAMI Hall of Fame inductees and Summerfest/Jazz in the Park veterans Eddie Butts (Drums) and Warren Wiegratz (Sax and Flute), Mike Derose (Guitar), Dwayne Williams (Bass) and jazz master keyboardist Jerry Weitzer. Joining the band will be one of Milwaukee’s finest vocalists, Mr. Joe Jordan.
The Group covers material by Davis Sanborn, Grover Washington Jr., Jeff Lorber, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Joe Sample with their own spin. If you enjoy great jazz played with a “killer groove,” don’t miss The Group.
Opening for The Group from 6:00 – 6:15 pm is Kavon Cortez Jones & The Next Paperback Hero, featuring Milwaukee poet Kavon Cortez Jones and guitarist Nathan Honoré.
B.D. Greer & The Gents
Having lived and worked as a professional singer in New York City for 21 years, B.D. is thrilled to be living back in her home state. Her resume includes the National Tour of Smokey Joes Cafe, Cats the Musical, Regional Theatre around the U.S., Leading Vocalist for the NYC USO Troupe, vocalist for Lt. Dan Band by the actor Gary Sinise, Leading Cruise Ship singer for NCL, and back up vocalist for some amazing Broadway stars cabarets in NYC. Recent and humbled winner of Shepherd Express’s Best Female Vocalist of Milwaukee this year, B.D. has definitely been making a name for herself in the music circuit of Wisconsin. B.D. offers a fresh take on contemporary jazz/blues music that is performed regularly at Lupi and Iris, Blu at The Pfister Cafe, Cafe Centro, Jazz Estate prior to their change, Milwaukee Woman’s Club, Sharon Lynne Wilson Center, Solu Winery, Saint Kate Hotel, and more. Last summer, 2022, she was asked to sing at Summerfest with Johnny T Bird and the MPs, Headliner at the St Francis’s 4th of July Party, White Fish Bay’s night of music and Art, Washington Heights Night Fair, Sharon Lynne Wilson Center’s Summer Series, and more. You can find her shows at www.bdgreer.com.
Altered Five Blues Band
Altered Five smokes, smolders and burns like a swig of good whiskey. The hip Milwaukee quintet is known for its strong brew of tough, original blues and hard-hitting live shows. Blues Blast raves that barrel-chested front man, Jeff Taylor, possesses a “smooth, warm-toned voice as monumental and undeniable as Howlin’ Wolf with the finish and flourish of B.B. King.” Downbeat declares stealth guitarist Jeff Schroedl “reaches the high bar of mixed invention and fluidity.” Fueled by a rhythm section laying down the deepest grooves this side of the MGs, the five blues blasters hit the ground running 20 years ago and show no sign of easing up. Their sixth studio album, Holler If You Hear Me, debuted at #3 on the Billboard Blues Chart with the title track receiving significant radio airplay.
The new record kicks hard like the three award-winning records preceding it. Cryin’ Mercy nabbed “Best Self-Released Album” at the International Blues Challenge in 2015. Charmed & Dangerous garnered “Song of the Year” at the Independent Music Awards and Wisconsin Music Awards in 2018. Guitar World magazine called the title track a “menacing, swampy blues” and it was in regular rotation on SiriusXM’s Bluesville in addition to many other programs and playlists. In 2019, Ten Thousand Watts reached #10 on the Billboard Blues Chart, hit #1 on both the iTunes and Amazon blues charts, while “Great Minds Drink Alike” captured first place in the blues category of the International Songwriting Competition.
All band members contribute as a songwriting team to be reckoned with. Memorable, incisive lyrics run the gamut from slyly suggestive (“Ten Thousand Watts“) to blues history tributes (“Three Forks“) and inventive contemporary themes (“Urgent Care”, “Back Button”).
Altered Five have consistently checked all the boxes, making lasting, deeply expressive original blues for the mind and body. Up front and leading the big blues train, Taylor exhorts and cajoles while carrying the weight of the lyrical content. Neither imitating nor hiding his debt to the legendary blues singers of the past, he commands deserved attention on his own. Schroedl propels, embellishes, and adds palpable power through his varied rhythm accompaniment and riveting guitar solos. While inspired by, but not tethered to the kings and titans of blues guitar, he has found his own estimable path to personal expression always at the service of the song.
The muscular yet limber rhythm section of bassist Mark Solveson and drummer Alan Arber lock into the full range of blues grooves from classic slow Chicago drag (“Holding on With One Hand“) and romping Texas shuffles (“Mint Condition“) to soulful R&B worthy of Stax Records (“Gonna Lose My Lady“). In addition, returning keyboardist Steve Huebler always provides a rich pad of lush harmony along with his own and soaring solos.
Whether live or on record, Altered Five performs seamlessly as a powerhouse entity encompassing the timeless blues virtues of passion and unwavering commitment funneled through technical excellence.
Opening for the Altered Five Blues Band from 6:00 – 6:35 pm is Tommy Odetto, singer and guitarist inspired by guitar greats including Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and many more.
Urban Empress & The Urbanites
Hailing from Milwaukee, Urban Empress & The UrbanItes have been creating and performing their original music for over 15 years. This infusion of Roots Reggae, Neo-Soul, Dub, Jazz, and Hip Hop creates a vibration that not only makes audiences want to dance, but also brings a positive message that aims to motivate, heal, and empower the listener. The UrbanItes performances include renditions of classic Reggae covers that will have you singing, dancing and maybe even mesmerized by The Urban Empress & The UrbanItes.
Christopher’s Project is a melting pot of diverse musical styles. Led by saxophonist Christopher Pipkins, the Project provides upbeat, family-friendly songs, something everyone will enjoy. Christophers Project is a concert you won’t want to miss!
CNJ Latin Jazz
Founded in 2012 by Multi-Percussionist Cecilio Negrón Jr., this all-star lineup of musicians brings to life unique interpretations of Latin Jazz standards and classics. In collaboration with veteran Latin Percussionist Alberto Rivera, Bassist Joey Sanchez, Vibraphone virtuoso Mitch Shiner, Guitarist Neil Davis, and Pianist Jeno Somlai, this ensemble brings over 60 years of combined performing experience and is a representation of some of the most esteemed musicians the midwest has to offer. CNJ’s infusion of Afro-Latino rhythms, Jazz improvisation, and musical versatility inspires listeners, moves dancers, and aims to strengthen the Milwaukee music scene by keeping alive the rich traditions of Latin jazz and Afro-Latino culture in our city.
See VIDEO here.
Break- No Shows
Bastille Days & July 20
Be sure to visit us during the Bastille Days! To see a complete schedule of Bastille Days entertainment and activities, click HERE.
Bill Bonifas & Friends
On July 27th, Bill Bonifas is bringing his Electric Band back for a special night of music at Jazz in the Park. During this exciting performance, Bill and the band will be adding some exclusive “friends” from Milwaukee’s diverse music community such as Evan Christian, Greg Marcus, and others.
This concert harkens back to the founding of the Electric Band which was formed when multi-Grammy Award winner Brian Lynch and Bill Bonifas teamed up to perform together for the “Legends of Milwaukee Jazz” in 2017. Since that time, the band performed live for the Milwaukee Ballet’s production of Conflux which was a collaborative performance choreographed by Petr Zahradnicek featuring Bill Bonifas’ original jazz compositions. Ballet critic Elaine Schmidt noted “Conflux was a gleeful fusion of jazz and dance.” Besides other concerts, the band continues to play regularly at Caroline’s Jazz Club.
The Band & Friends Include:
Bill Bonifas – Guitar
Eric Jacobson – Trumpet
Theo Merriweather, Greg Marcus – Keyboards
Eric Hervey – Bass
Evan Christian – guitar & vocals
Fresh Coast Jazz ft. The JazzMen
JazzMen was created in 2019 and is formed of the most skilled and experienced musicians the world has to offer.
Led by trumpet, the band blends jazz, soul and R&B music styles.
The FunkClub boys love to put their unique spin on funky classics and you can find their 2022 self titled studio release on all streaming platforms.
The FunkClub Wagon is a collective of prominent Milwaukee musicians who came together as a result of the Covid lockdowns. While the live music scene was evaporating, these innovative musicians found a way to bring people live music while allowing them to stay socially distant. They played on a trailer while touring MKE neighborhoods and on a boat for kayaking music lovers, and they spread some much needed joy in the community.
see VIDEO here.
Milwaukee Jazz Institute: WE SIX
From hard bop to world beats, original compositions to soulful standards, We Six explores the full range of jazz in their straight-ahead style. A consistent favorite of festivals and clubs, We Six features trumpeter Eric Jacobson, tenor saxophonist Scott Burns, guitarist Paul Silbergleit, pianist Mark Davis, bassist Jeff Hamann, and drummer Dave Bayles. They have appeared in concert with jazz luminaries such as Benny Golson, Phil Woods, and Brian Lynch, and can be heard on their recent album Vivid Dreams. We Six is a resident ensemble of the Milwaukee Jazz Institute.
See VIDEO here.
Cache Mke. ft. Salsabrositas Rumba Caliente
EVENT CANCELED DUE TO EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING
Cache Mke. (class-classy) is an exuberant Latin musical ensemble headed by Cecil Negron, who has been performing in Milwaukee and the Midwest and has made a major impact on the latin music scene for over 50 years.
Bilingual and multicultural, Cache’s music features a wide variety of Afro-Latin Caribbean (Salsa Y Merengue) and Latin American music influenced songs and rhythms ranging from traditional up to contemporary, including original compositions and Latin Jazz. Cache MKE established a local reputation for it’s unique interpretations of latin music showcasing rich vocal harmonies, and for making this music accessible to non-Spanish and native speakers alike.
Cache Mke.’s easy rapport and on-stage humor makes their music accessible to audience of all ages, and their bilingual presentation attracts, and engages a wide diversity of listeners.
KBP & “Come Together”(The Beatles Soulfully Reimagined)
“Kal Bergendahl is the guy with the top notch smooth-jazzy, soulful, R&B funkalicious band.” – Paddy Fineran, Kenosha News
“…cinematically evocative instrumentals glossy enough to please fusion aficionados and possessed of sufficient technical command to merit respect from mainstream jazzbos.” “There are hooks aplenty.” – Jamie Lee Rake, Shepherd Express
“…spicy grooves and ensnaring solos.” “Kal Bergendahl Project execute cohesion, fun, passion, and excellence all in one…” – Ben Slowey, Breaking and Entering Milwaukee
The Kal Bergendahl Project (KBP) is a six-piece instrumental jazz-funk band. The vibrant unit features some of the area’s most familiar jazz faces displaying extraordinary musicianship and technical precision.
Blending free-flowing funk and memorable melodies; the ensemble is driven by a stellar horn section.
Groove and melodic hooks are weaved in their deeply focused musical landscape of Jazz-Funk, R&B and Soul.
The group’s latest release “Parallels Ch. IV” is available on all streaming platforms.
Joining the group for Jazz in the Park will be Milwaukee vocalist Donna Woodall “Come Together” The Beatles Soulfully Reimagined. Spanning the Beatles catalog using versions from artists such as: Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Marcus Miller & Herbie Hancock, the group funkifies the Fab Four.