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Fresh Coast Jazz Festival w/ Carl Brown

Carl Brown
Imagine MKE
Carl Brown

When Carl Brown’s late father was dying, he challenged his son to think about putting others "before" himself. Brown, a retired advertising executive, was always a jazz lover—like his late father—often traveling far and wide to experience contemporary jazz performances with his wife. One day, while experiencing a jazz festival, his wife posed the idea of launching a jazz festival in their home city of Milwaukee with the proceeds going to charity.

Now in its fifth season, the Fresh Coast Jazz Festival has been delighting Milwaukee audiences and attracting travelers from all over the world to experience the joy and creativity of jazz music from some of the most preeminent jazz musicians. But it’s also “a party with a purpose.” At the heart of the festival model is a philanthropic focus. The festival supports college scholarships, grants to support music programs in area schools, as well as financial literacy and healthcare initiatives benefiting Milwaukee youth.

In the conversation, Brown touches on the power of music “to lift, to move, to guide...”and to bring diverse communities together. Brown talks about the impact of COVID on the jazz music scene, jazz as a “group sport,” and the changes that have come about within the musical landscape since lockdown. He also touches on the history and present of jazz music in Milwaukee, and how this festival is helping to put Milwaukee on the map globally for contemporary Jazz and contributing to Milwaukee's creative economy.

Learn more about Fresh Coast Jazz Festival, including the artists who will be performing, the organizations it supports, and purchase tickets at their website.

Additional Resources

Kirk Whalum

Dizzy Gillespie

Manty Ellis

Milwaukee Jazz by Joey Grihalva

Wisconsin Conservatory of Music

Milwaukee Jazz Institute

Jazz Gallery Center for the Arts

Club Gibraltar

Cosmic Endeavors

Elisabeth Gasparka, a creative producer and storyteller living in Milwaukee, is the host of Creative MKE.