After months of planning, composing, songwriting, and more planning, the time has finally come. On May 3, get ready to sit comfortably or dance beautifully in the beauty and comfort of The Harris Theater at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts in Brookfield. Milwaukee’s own Jay Anderson is returning from New Orleans to join forces with his mighty jazz trio, Stomata, and the one-and-only queen of Milwaukee R&B, B~Free, for a very special album release show that will showcase the amazing sounds of both bands in one of the Milwaukee area’s premier music venues.
On May 3, Stomata will debut their sophomore album, Crawfish And High Life, which features mostly original compositions and highlights Anderson’s connections to the two places he calls home: New Orleans and Milwaukee. Now based in The Big Easy, Anderson spends most of his time playing 1920s Memphis jug music, traditional 1940s jazz, and even some reggae in a variety of bands; not to mention New Orleans boogie and soul with his new project, Jay Anderson And The Night Trippers.
Anderson’s recent musical experiences have inspired all kinds of new ideas that he has now brought to his longest-standing project, Stomata. The Milwaukee jazz trio features Anderson on woodwinds and vocals, Dave Schoepke on drums, and John Simons on bass. Schoepke, a self-taught Milwaukee drummer and prolific session musician, has appeared on more than 50 albums in a wide range of genres. Simons, a member of the MYSO Jazz Studies Faculty, has called the bass his main instrument for 20 years and performs often with Milwaukee’s finest jazz and Latin musicians. Stomata will also have some special guests along for the Wilson Center show.
If you don’t know B~Free (Britney Freeman-Farr) by now, where have you been?! The singer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, curator, and educator from Milwaukee has dedicated her life to music. Her training in flute, voice, and piano have earned her degrees in musical studies from the Milwaukee High School of the Arts, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, and VanderCook College of Music, but her abilities go far beyond the academic.
Her self-produced sophomore album, Ode 2 A Luv Affair LP, was hailed as the year’s top Milwaukee album by Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel in 2016. Having performed in a number of venues throughout the country, B~Free has shared stages with a variety of major artists, and provided direct support as the opening act for Janelle Monáe at Summerfest in 2018.
She will bring her full range of vocal and instrumental talents to the stage on Friday, May 3, along with her full band. B~Free will be joined on stage by Quinten Farr on keyboards, Alex Julien on bass, and Jonathan Harris on drums. Members of her band were recent visitors to the Wilson Center, playing with For The Culture at the 2018 Wilson Center Guitar Festival.
Milwaukee music supporters Transfer Pizzeria Café and Canni Hemp Co. are sponsoring the event. Tickets for the 7 p.m. show are on sale now, both online and at the Wilson Center box office. They cost $27, or $20 when you enter the code “MR18” on the ticketing page.