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All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

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  • Anonymous wrote on August 14, 2006 report

    The joke of this is that there is *NO* jazz at summerfest, none. There used to be a whole stage devoted to jazz, the "Miller Jazz Oasis". Freddie Hubbard, Pat Metheny, Spyro Gyra, etc. etc. would perform to huge crowds at the Oasis.

    In the early 90's Miller Genuine Draft launched a marketing effort that sponsored bands. They found promising bands in local markets, attached the Miller Genuine Draft name to them and sent them out on tour. One logical stop on that tour was Summerfest but Miller only had the one stage so they decided to nix Jazz altogether on the Jazz Oasis, change its name to the "Oasis" and put these bands on there. They kept one token night of Jazz for about two years and then that was the end of that.

    A local radio station tried to bring Jazz back to Summerfest with a stage first in a tent near the main entrance then a stage located near the Marcus Amphitheater side of the park. Despite getting really good talent they couldn't compete with the larger stages. When the radio station folded so did the stage. WJZI never followed suit with that for lots of other reasons.

    The nice thing about the days of the Miller Jazz Oasis was that it exposed Jazz and contemporary Jazz to a huge, diverse group of otherwise non-jazz listeners.