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Mr Chair, Darren Sterud’s Gate Check

October 21 @ 8:00 pm

Doors 7:00PM / Show 8:00PM

$15 ADV / $20 DOS

This is a seated show.

Mr. Chair, Madison’s genre-defying music ensemble, announced a limited physical release event for their highly anticipated second album, Better Days. The release party and show is Friday, October 21 at the Bur Oak.

The music on Better Days is expansive and varied, toying with fusion, prog rock, jazz, and classical elements, but never settling into a singular musical style. Mr. Chair’s dynamic and fresh sound abounds in the nine sweeping journeys that comprise the record. Original album art from Dequadray White.

Better Days features Chicago-based guitarist José Guzmán and a special appearance from poet/spoken word artist Buzz Kemper, both of whom will join Mr. Chair at this performance. The album also features saxophonist Eddie Barbash – well known as a member of Jon Batiste’s Stay Human, his performances on the Late Show with Steven Colbert, and for his work with Cory Wong and the Wong Notes.

Mr. Chair announced plans to print 150 copies of their recording, and will only make them available in-person at their event at the Bur Oak.

“We want this to be a special event for our friends, families, and collaborators. They make us who we are as a band and we wanted to share this project with them first and foremost. We’re excited to make the music available one night only in an old-school format – if you want to hear the record, come to the Bur Oak and grab a CD!” said drummer Mike Koszewski.

Details about a larger release of Better Days will be announced at a later date.

Supported at the Bur Oak by Darren Sterud’s Gate Check: Comprised of some of Madison’s most notable jazz musicians, Gate Check plays original music rooted in jazz, inspired by travel and played for music lovers of all genres. Their debut album “Places” will be performed live, with Cole Bartels on trombone, adding another layer of timbre to the already unique sounds the group produces. Gate Check and a Carry On, will play extensions to the suite composed by Sterud, as well as one new piece, composed specifically for the event, featuring 3 trombones. Gate Check is: Ben Ferris on Bass, Matt Endres on Drums and Cymbals, Chris Rottmayer on Keyboards and Cole Bartels/Darren Sterud on Trombones.


Based in Madison and winner of the 2021 Wisconsin Area Music Industry Award for Best Jazz Artist, Mr. Chair brings a truly unique performance to every stage they play.

Mr. Chair looks like a jazz combo, enchants like a string quartet, and electrifies like a rock band, all while delighting listeners with their fresh and authentic sound. As classically-trained musicians well-versed in jazz, electronics, prog rock, world music and beyond, Mr. Chair is a contemporary fusion ensemble for music fans of all backgrounds. Their sound palette is diverse, and used to tell stories in styles cinematic, surreal, romantic, funky, and whimsical.

Their projects are as diverse as their sound. They have been commissioned by UW-Madison Geoscientist Dr. Stephen Meyers to write music inspired by science concepts. They are working with former UW-Madison First-Wave Scholar, activist, and singer Dequadray James White to write an orchestral hip-hop album. The ensemble has also created a reimagined “Pulcinella Suite,” based off of Igor Stravinsky’s ballet, infusing their sound into baroque music that Stravinsky himself had also rearranged.

Arrangements of their music feature string quartet, string orchestra, additional brass/winds, and symphony orchestra. They have presented this music with KASA Quartet, the Caroga Lake Music Festival, and members of the Akron Symphony Orchestra.

“The euphonious elements at the heart of Snarky Puppy’s appeal are also present in Mr. Chair’s debut.“ (PROG UK)


October 21
8:00 pm


Burr Oak


The Burr Oak
2262 Winnebago St
Madison, WI
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