9/23-24 | ImprovisationaLU – Lawrence University Festival of Improvised Music


Lawrence University Festival of Improvised Music

Presented by Deep Listeners of Lawrence University

The first annual Festival of Improvised Music will be an all weekend event for the Lawrence and Appleton Communities. The aim of the event is to show case all kinds of improvised music and to engage the audience in as many ways as possible. We are featuring some of the finest improvisers from the LU Community, the Wisconsin Community and from across the country.

Check out this Lawrence Univeristy News write-up:
ImprovisationaLU: Two-day festival features some of music world’s best improvisers

Warch Campus Center–Esch Hurvis Room
8-9PM: Matt Turner & Hal Rammel
9:15-10:30PM: Jen Shyu‘s Solo Rites: Seven Breaths directed by Garin Nugroho

McCarthy Co-op – Late Night House Show (Students Only)
11-12AM: Matt Blair Trio w/ John Christensen and Devin Drobka
12-1AM: Brian Grimm & Sam Genualdi

Warch Campus Center–Esch Hurvis Room
7:15-8:15PM: Carnage The Executioner
8:30-9:15PM: Fred Frith Solo
9:20-10:15PM: White Out w/ Fred Frith

McCarthy Co-op – Late Night House Show (Students Only)
11-12AM: Multa Nox
12-1AM: Pony Pop

Supported by: LUCC, McCarthy Co-op, SAI, Sinfonia, SOL Studios, EMC, Fiddle Club, Band Booking Committee, WLFM, WAC, SLUG, ORC

No Cover – Donations Benefit BLUME-Haiti

5/23 | Madison’s First “Jazz Crawl” @ Schenk’s Corners

Strollin Flyer_Schenk's Corners_8.5 x 11_Color

The Greater Madison Jazz Consortium, WORT, & Isthmus Present:


Brennan Connors & Stray Passage (featuring Tim Russell subbing in for Geoff Brady on percussion) will be playing Friday, 5/23 at Thorps Salon for the first ever “Madison Jazz Crawl“!  We’re thrilled to play along side our buddies John Christensen & Devin Drobka as they shape-shift into Lesser Lakes Trio!  The first show that Stray Passage ever played was at Audio For the Arts with John & Devin (then performing with Luke Polipnick as Deconunisms).  This year I have been the house bass player at The Mason Lounge every Tuesday night from 9-12 with the 5 Points Jazz Collective.  Charlie Painter, jazz guitarist & 5-Points band leader, will be performing with his Trio at One Barrel Brewing.  If you’re around for the late sets, don’t forget to swing by Alchemy Cafe to hear saxophonist Tony Barba guest with Paddy Cassidy & El Clan Destino!

Come on out ‘n bop around!  Celebrate Jazz in Madison & the wonderful, unique local establishments found on Schenk’s Corners!


7/12 | MICHAEL ZERANG (w/ Spires That In The Sunset Rise), John Christensen, and Brennan Connors & STRAY PASSAGE


“Join us for an evening of improvisation @ Shockrasonica on Friday July 12 with percussionist, improviser and composer Michael Zerang as he performs solo on hand drums and set plus collaborating with various formations of Spires That In The Sunset Rise plus sets by Madison’s John Christensen on solo bass and free jazz trio Stray Passage.”

~All The Time In The World//Shockrasonica

Michael Zerang was born in Chicago, Illinois, and is a first-generation American of Assyrian decent. He has been a professional musician, composer, and producer since 1976, focusing extensively on improvised music, free jazz, contemporary composition, puppet theater, experimental theater, and international musical forms.

Michael has collaborated with contemporary theater, dance, and other multidisciplinary forms and has received three Joseph Jefferson Awards for Original Music Composition in Theater, in collaboration with Redmoon Theater, in 1996, 1998, and 2000.

As a percussionist and composer, Michael has over eighty titles in his discography and has toured nationally and internationally to 34 countries since 1981, and works with and ever-widening pool of collaborators.

Michael founded and was the artistic director of the Link’s Hall Performance Series in Chicago from 1985-1989 where he produced over 300 concerts of jazz, traditional ethnic folk music, electronic music, and other forms of forward thinking music. Michael has been a Board Member of Links Hall Since 1989. He continued to produce concerts at Cafe Urbus Orbis from 1994-1996, and at his own space, The Candlestick Maker in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood, from 2001 – 2005.

Michael has taught as a guest artist at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in performance technique, sound design, and sound/music as it relates to puppetry; rhythmic analysis for dancers at The Dance Center of Columbia College, Northwestern University, and MoMing Dance and Arts Center; courses in Composer/Choreographer Collaborations at Northwestern University; music to children at The Jane Adams Hull House.

Michael currently tours and holds workshops in improvisational music, and teaches private lessons in rhythmic analysis, music composition, and percussion technique.

– w/ Madison Experimental favorites > Spires That In The Sunset Rise


Madison’s John Christensen will perform a rare solo bass performance.  John can be seen with killer groups such as free jazz trio Deconunisms  featuring Luke Polipnick (guitar), Devin Drobka (drums).


Brennan Connors & Stray Passage is a jazz trio lead by saxophonist Brennan Connors. The ensemble embraces free and structured improvisation, original compositions, and groove based experiments. Geoff Brady (Yid Vicious) is featured on drums and percussion; BC Grimm on Contra-cello (and a variety of Chinese string instruments). The breadth of the group ranges from focused minimalism to fiery high energy music, all while maintaining a sense of narrative organization throughout performances.

Brennan Connors & Stray Passage + Deconunisms @ AFA 7/16

Hey all, there is a new free-jazz trio in town!

Surrounded by Reality presents:


Brennan Connors & Stray Passage

Monday, 7/16

Audio For the Arts

Doors 7:30


Brennan Connors (sax) leads Stray Passage to it’s first show this Monday, 8pm at Audio For the Arts!  Stray Passage will feature Brian Grimm on cello and Geoff Brady (Glacier, Yid Vicious) on kit.  We look forward to sharing the set with Deconunisms, a killer free jazz trio featuring Luke Polipnick (guitar), Devin Drobka (drums), & John Christensen (bass).

event page

Check out this recent Isthmus article by Scott Gordon about the SBR change of hands