Brennan Connors & Stray Passage returns to the Mason Lounge for a night of fascinating adventures into jazz, sound, and musical narrative. Geoff Brady on drums, homemade electronics, and Theremin. Brian Grimm on electric Frankencello and electric bass. Brennan Connors on saxophones. Craft Brew, Jazz Delights, No Cover.
“Their sets embrace plenty of sinuous melody and conversational interplay, but can just as easily dive into minimalism and dissonance.”
– Tone Madison
“For those who seek to shake themselves out of musical complacency, there’s Stray Passage, an improvisational jazz trio that explodes boundaries, playing off the energy in the room and audience. The group, led by saxophonist Brennan Connors, includes master percussionist Geoff Brady and Brian Grimm on bowing cello, contra-cello and electric bass. The album they’re releasing on an Italian label (Setola di Maiale) was recorded live by Steve Gotcher at Audio for the Arts.“
Wow!! After playing bass with the Five Points Jazz Collective at the Mason Lounge every Tuesday for 7 years, the Covid-19 pandemic hit and shut everything down. Hard stop. It was one of the many bizarre experiences resulting from the global pandemic that all musicians had their upcoming gigs cancelled immediately. What a shock and unfamiliar place to find our whole community and then of course we felt it in our pocket books for all of 2020, and now half of 2021. This is the least I’ve performed in a long, long, long, long time. Not only did all of that income straight up disappear, but many of us who teach music as well as perform, &/or hold down multiple part time jobs DID NOT qualify for the new “pandemic gig worker unemployment insurance” (which seems like a huge crack to fall in as a professional musician…). But, more importantly, we didn’t get to hang out with all of our bandmates in rehearsals or on stage for over a year… what a drag!
We’re all very aware of the times we live in, so let’s get on to the good news…. the Five Points Jazz Collective is BACK baby, and we’ll be the first group playing live-music at our most beloved craft brew bar, the Mason Lounge! We’ll be bringing you a classic 5 Points set on Tuesday, 7/6/21, filled with Jazz, Funk, Blues and Originals. And for the record, we plan to write a whole bunch more originals moving forward, which I know you’re excited to hear. Come on, just think of Kyle’s tune “Start Somewhere” or Trey’s originals “Unspiration”, and “After Close” – you know you want to hear more of those jibbiddy-jamz. Plus you better believe that I’ve got a few tunes for the 5PJC up my sleeve. There Will Be Funk.
TIME First thing for all of you regulars to note is that our time has changed, we are bumping the whole show an hour earlier! From now on, we’ll be playing from 8-11pm. A lot of people have been requesting this change, even some of the bandmembers! So come down a little earlier and enjoy local Jazz for a little longer before you head home. We’re pretty excited about this earlier time slot, and we hope it means that we can see more of more of you at the Mason. 😉❤
EVERY TUESDAY? Speaking of time and timing… “are we going back to our EVERY Tuesday of the year schedule???”NO. We will not be playing every Tuesday. We’ve talked with the owner, and he’s got some new, cool plans for the music at the Mason. Five Points will play something closer to once a month. However, that probably won’t always be at the Mason, we are looking to branch out and play other spots too. We’d love to hear suggestions from you, what’s a great place you love to see Jazz and Funky music where you think the Five Points would fit in? Leave a comment or contact us and let us know about cool venues we should check out! There will still be themed music nights at the Mason, for instance Jazz night on Tuesday and Bluegrass night on Thursday… however, it won’t be the same house-band playing each week. Which is cool for you, because that means there will be more variety of music for you to check out! Speaking of the owner….
OWNERSHIP Right around when the pandemic hit, the ownership of the Mason changed hands. Many of you regulars got to know Bryan, the tall and good natured bartender serving up delicious beers, but maybe you didn’t realize that baseball cap wearin’ son-of-a-gun was the owner! Now the Mason Lounge is in the hands of Matt, also a baseball cap wearer… but with glasses & beard, so don’t get them confused. Matt has been tending bar at the Mason for years and we know that the joint will be in good hands. The Five Points crew went down to visit, and we can confirm that it still looks and feels like the Mason. Matt has kept up the vibe very well! We wish Matt all of the best luck as he takes the Mason into it’s next chapter!
We’ve got nothing but love for Bryan (even though he spells it with a “y”), he really took care of us and became our friend. One of my favorite things about Tuesdays was when he would come over to the band to ask if anyone needed a drink. I would simply describe how I was feeling, or give him an abstract prompt. He’d scratch his chin, give it a ponder, then say “yea… I think I’ve got something for that…” Then he’d come back with a beer that perfectly interpreted my mood, fancy and indulgence. A sport for the challenge and never did he disappoint. Thanks for all of the Thanksgiving wines and Christmas socks Bryan; and for being an all around upstanding dude. We will all miss seeing you when we play at the Mason, but hopefully you will stop by sometime when we are playing… for old times sake.
LEADERSHIP / LINE UP: Speaking of changes in ownership, or leadership in this case… Charlie Painter, our long time fearless bandleader and friend, has officially decided to step down from his roll as bandleader and also to step away from his roll as guitarist for the Five Points Jazz Collective. Charlie decided he really wants to focus on his Charlie Painter Jazz Trio and put his creative energy there. Charlie’s trio has been active around Madison, even in spite of the pandemic. So go check him out at one of his trio gigs and continue to support his music! Charlie is the one who put the band together in the first place and held down the Tuesday night slot at the Mason for an entire DECADE! Can you believe that, that is a lot of Tuesdays. Charlie came up with our setlists, directed the vision of our arrangements, sorted out who would be soloing and when, took care of the money management and booking duties. That’s a lot of work! Not only that but he showed up each week with the whole 2+ hour set memorized and played his heart out. I don’t think I ever heard Charlie be ‘lazy’ up there on stage, he never gave you any half-assed Jazz. Charlie came to play his best each week and approached the bandstand with respect. And he’s been making good use of this pandemic, studying new courses in Jazz Theory from some cats in New York, so you know he’s going to keep learning and ripping. Go see his trio and hear what he’s up to!
Charlie, we love ya buddy and wish you the best on your new Jazz journeys. Thanks for bringing Trey (piano), Rin (violin), Kyle (trombone), Eric (drums) and myself (bass) together to form the Five Points Jazz Collective (we’ll be keeping the name). We’ll miss playing with you and appreciate all of the work you put in for this group and for the Mason Lounge the past 10 years! 🎶🎵🎼♥♥♥♥
FRANKENCELLO Lastly (I think…), speaking of line up changes, I’ll still be playing fretless bass and fretted bass for the Five Points; but in an exciting turn of events, I’m adding Frankencello to my quiver on stage (*applause and cheers*)!! For those of you who don’t know… #Frankencello is my homemade electric cello that I normally play with Madison Free Jazz Trio Brennan Connors & Stray Passage, and with psychedelic Jazz Rock Sextet Lovely Socialite, and solo as BC Grimm. However, now it is slinked up with traditional gut strings and it sounds freakin’ fantastic. It’s almost unbelievable how much more natural and cello-like it sounds with gut strings on an electric cello, rather than steel. More warmth, more resonance, more bass, and of course more girth. I’m excited for it to open up some new sonic possibilities for the band. As an example, we’ll now have two bowed string instruments in our group, and there’s been some discussion of other instruments sneaking on stage as well….
That’s all for now, just wanted to give you all the inside scoop on this juicy gossip, straight from the source. We hope to see some of your shining faces at the Mason next week! ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤
9pm – 12am No Cover | Five Points Jazz Collective Live at the Mason Lounge
416 S Park St, Madison, WI 53715
After 7 years of keeping the time in-line at the Mason Lounge every Tuesday night with the Five Points Jazz Collective, our drummer Eric Shackelford is stepping down. Come join us tonight to celebrate his seven years in service of the groove! Also, we’ll be celebrating the birthday of our fearless bartendress, Kate!
It’s been so much fun playing bass in the Five Points Jazz Collective with Eric at the helm of the pocket. Famous for his “buh-da-dun dun dun, _ duh-nunt!” endings and exciting solos, Eric has been the bedrock of the the Five Points sound for 7 years! In that time, Eric and I have developed what I would describe as an effortless groove. It’s easy and it just goes… You don’t have to think about it or calculate, you simply play. And for me, that’s when it’s really fun. If I ever throw a funky surprise at Eric, he’s ready to catch it and throw it right back at me. And when it’s time for a drum-and-bass-trade during solos, I know things are gonna get interesting because of his careful listening and conversational style. In fact, some of my favorite memories during my time with “the Tuesday Night Squad” have been those drum’n bass trades!
A versatile drummer, Eric also plays heavy in the blues trio Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo. It’s actually not common nowadays to play with a Jazz drummer who can bust out a solid blues style. Well, Eric’s got a whole bag of blues baby. I’ve always enjoyed hearing the blues side of jazz come out in The Shack’s playing. Sometimes just for a chorus during a solo, always in good taste.
One of my favorite memories playing with Eric and the Five Points Jazz Collective happened this past Fall 2019, when we collaborated with Music con Brio at the Barrymore Theater (pictures below). It was a crashing together of worlds for me, because I also teach cello at Music con Brio! Eric did such a fantastic job playing fun drum beats to fit the children’s songs and the kids had a great time. The cello group’s favorite moment was performing the surf-rock edition of “Drunken Sailor”!
Eric has the unique gift of an experienced drummer who know’s how to play-the-room. It’s a rare thing indeed for a drum set player to keep the volume at a low, manageable level yet also hold up the energy and create an exciting group sound. The Shack-man has always found the sweet spot at the Mason Lounge and never overplays the room. Quite a feat! This is but one of the many reasons why Eric will be leaving some big shoes to fill for the next drummer of the Five Points!
We tip our hats to you Eric and raise a glass… or two or three. We’ll miss you and your drumming at the Mason Lounge each week. It’s been a blast and we cherish the friendship & music we’ve created with you over the last 7 years!
We wish you the best! from solid-blue-Brian, the Five Points Jazz Collective & The Mason Lounge
This April, I had the fortunate luck of catching a thrilling late night set from Hanging Hearts punk/jazz trio in Detroit. Ben Willis and I were performing on a different side of town & stopped by afterwards to catch one of our favorite drummers, one of Wisconsin’s best, Devin Drobka. Devin, Chris & Cole of Hanging Hearts brought the house down with incredible energy, driving compositions, and excellent group communication. Even after a quite robust set, people were hungry for more. This in-studio concert will help Hanging Hearts prepare to go back into the studio this June to record their next album, produced by drummer Dave King of The Bad Plus.
Thr, 5/5 | @ Audio for the Arts Studios
7 S. Blair St., Madison, WI
$10 Doors at 7:30p / Music at 8p
Hanging Hearts is a Chicago-based jazz trio with rock energy dedicated to the fearless exploration of group improvisation. Described by critics as “hammering the walls between genres,” their music bridges the gap between jazz, rock, and experimental music. The band features Chris Weller on tenor saxophone, Cole DeGenova on keyboards, and Devin Drobka on drums. While Chris and Cole grew up in Chicago, playing professionally in jazz and blues clubs by the age of 15, the trio was completed at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where all three members graduated. The trio’s repertoire consists of their original compositions and free improvisations.
Members of the group have performed around the world and shared the stage with Joe Lovano, Jerry Bergonzi, Greg Osby, Tony Malaby, Tower of Power, Lettuce, Kurt Elling, Snarky Puppy, Lupe Fiasco, Greg Ward, Tim Daisy, and Dave Rempis, among others. Notable performances as a band include the Jazzinec Festival in Czech Republic and Nádasdy Castle in Sárvár, Hungary. Though they have been playing together for years, the group released their debut album in October ’14, with supporting US shows and European tour (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, & Romania).