Admission: $20 advance / $25 door
The Madison Jazz Festival kicks off with a special performance by the Dayna Stephens Quartet on Thursday, June 8, 2023 at Cafe CODA. Seating is general admission. Online ticket sales end 2 hours before showtime. Tickets are also available at the door beginning at 6:30pm. Ticket sales open May 3 at 10am.
Dayna Stephens is globally recognized as a saxophonist, composer and arranger, and is the first place recipient of the 2019 DownBeat Critics Poll in the category Rising Star—Tenor Saxophone. Stephens has led a storied career travelling and recording with Kenny Barron, Brad Meldhau, Tom Harrell, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Fred Hersch, and Esperanza Spalding, among many others — as well as leading the iconic Dayna Stephens Quartet. Now in its second iteration, the Quartet, featuring young, inspired musicians, represents a new chapter in jazz, and in Stephens’ career. One that embraces his role as a mentor, carrying on the legacy of the music while evolving it alongside the next generation.
NPR’s Kevin Whitehead says: “Dayna Stephens can cry and rip it up on tenor, but at heart, he’s a streamlined melodic player. His handsome down-the-middle tone is not too heavy or light, though he can lean either way. His sound is sleek, with very light vibrato. And the lines he improvises are uncluttered and well-organized. His horn sings”.
Playing with pureness of intention, Dayna admits he’s always searching to find what’s “singable.” That search often results in live improvisations and written compositions that challenge traditional concepts of harmony, pushing phrasing and sending beautiful melodies in unlikely directions. Dayna’s soulful lines have resonated through the halls of such internationally renowned venues as the Village Vanguard, Blue Note Jazz Club, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Birdland, Yoshi’s, The Blue Whale, Marians Jazzroom in Switzerland, Blue Note Milano, Philharmonie de Paris, Le Duc des Lombards, Red Rocks and San Francisco Jazz Center.