7/20 | Brennan Connors & Stray Passage Jazz Trio @ the Mason Lounge

Tuesday, 7/20/2021 | 7-10pm, No Cover @ the Mason Lounge

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
Watch the trio’s first return to Cafe Coda since the pandemic hit, live streamed on Facebook in May 2021.

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.

~ Isthmus Daily Page
Check out Brennan and Geoff playing as a Duo (due to pandemic performance restrictions) at Cafe Coda back in May of 2020!

Episode XXI: Return of the Five Points!

Tuesday, 7/6/21 8-11pm No Cover @ the Mason Lounge!
416 S. Park St.

On the left side you can see the Five Points set from our last Tuesday night hit at the Mason on 03/10/2020, before the Covid shutdown happened. On the right side, you can see our set list for 07/06/2021 – the first set we’ll play since the pandemic hit! That squiggling green line down the center of the page represents the last 16 months…. Crazy!

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.

THE CHANGES

  1. 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. 😉❤

  2. 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….

  3. 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.

  4. 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! 🎶🎵🎼♥♥♥♥

  5. 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! ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤


6/2 | Uncle Valentine (Philly) + BC Grimm, Tarek Sabbar, Raj’r Taim @ Art In

Sun, 6/2 | 7:30pm, $7 @ Art In, Madison WI
1444 E Washington Ave, Madison, Wisconsin 53703

Two electric cellists Uncle Valentine and BC Grimm come head to head for a duo set at Art In + sound scaping analog electronic sets from Madison’s own Raj’r Taim and Tarek Sabbar!

Uncle Valentine (Philly, on tour) + BC Grimm duo set
The solo project of Rachel Icenogle, a versatile cellist based in Philadelphia with a mind for new and interesting sounds. Uncle Valentine thrives in the scratchy, creaky, whirly sounds the cello can make, layering diverse musical textures in a lush groundwork for wild fables about insects and impressionistic stories about human batteries.

Rachel also composes music for puppet shows with Company Aiello, and is also a member of the Philadelphia band Upholstery.  Rachel has performed improvisation with Roscoe Mitchell and has collaborated as a musician with several independent theater and dance groups in Philadelphia (BRAT Productions, Ombelico Mask Ensemble, Transmissions Theater, SWARM, and Birds on a Wire). She also often records cello for other bands, including in the last year on new albums from both Eric Slick and Hop Along.  With a passion for the unique and unexpected, Rachel sets herself apart as a performer, always seeking opportunities to diversify and discover new artistic expression.


Raj’r Taim (Mad)
Live P.A. All analog electronic soundscape. Unique rhythms and catchy synth melodies bring otherworldly yet familiar moods that coax the listener to contemplate the complexities and texture of sound.


Tarek Sabbar (Mad)
Austere electronic music combining motorik drums, bleak ambience, and angular synthesis.