Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts
Press Release

Telepathically Tight John Scofield Trio Headlines International Guitar Festival

Seventh Annual Wilson Center Guitar Festival Features Free Masterclasses, Music, Competitions

By - Aug 6th, 2019 11:19 am
John Scofield Trio. Photo by Nick Suttle.

John Scofield Trio. Photo by Nick Suttle.

Brookfield, WI (August 6, 2019) In a three-day, all-ages celebration of the greatest guitarists of today and tomorrow, one of the most popular jazz guitarists of all time is back with his great friends Steve Swallow and Bill Stewart to headline the seventh annual international Wilson Center Guitar Festival (Festival) taking place at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts (Wilson Center) on August 15-17, 2019.

The “telepathically tight” John Scofield Trio will close out the Festival on Saturday, Aug. 17, at 7:30 p.m., with a performance that explores a repertoire of savvy original compositions and standards that have kept jazz vigorous and visceral since its birth. A true musical chameleon, John Scofield’s raw and rugged style remains recognizable, whether he plays acoustic jazz, electric funk, or gospel. In the early 1980s, he played with Miles Davis before launching a successful solo career. Scofield has been part of a trio since the late 1970s with Swallow, an undeniable innovator of the electric bass, and together they recorded on influential albums such as Shinola and Out Like A Light. Since the 1990s, Scofield celebrated great successes with drummer Stewart in various line-ups that include famous musicians such as Joe Lovano, Randy Brecker, and Larry Goldings. In 2004, the trio Scofield/Swallow/Stewart released the album EnRoute (Verve), which was recorded live at The Blue Note.

Tickets for this performance are $47-$80 (prices subject to change based on demand) and may be purchased online at, via phone at 262-781-9520, or in person at the Wilson Center Box Office, located at 19805 W. Capitol Drive in Brookfield’s Mitchell Park.

In addition to his ticketed performance, Scofield will lead a jazz guitar masterclass on Friday, Aug. 16, at 3:00 p.m. Additional masterclasses will be offered throughout the day on Saturday, Aug. 17, featuring top performer and educator Bill Stone leading a blues masterclass at 1:00 p.m., UW-Milwaukee’s Suzuki Guitar Director Elina Cheka leading a classical masterclass at 2:30 p.m., internationally renowned guitarist and clinician Troy Stetina leading a rock masterclass at 3:00 p.m., and National Fingerpicking Champion Eric Lugosch leading a fingerstyle masterclass at 4:00 p.m. Two lecture/panel discussions will also be offered on Friday, Aug. 16, including a “Caring for Your Hearing as a Musician” lecture led by Dr. Stacy Ryan of the UW-Milwaukee audiology department at 10:00 a.m., and an “Advancing Your Career” panel discussion at 12:15 p.m. moderated by esteemed programming consultant Lynn Lucius and featuring internationally renowned guitarist Troy Stetina, founder of CandyRat Records Rob Poland, and Backline MKE Program Director Mag Rodriguez. All masterclasses, lectures, and discussions are free and open to the public; space is limited and advance registration is recommended at

This year’s Festival also offers a three-day line-up of free concerts for music lovers of all ages. The Festival will kick off on Thursday, Aug 15, with two back-to-back concerts featuring Ireland’s own virtuoso fingerstyle guitarist and composer Shane Hennessy at 6:00 p.m., followed by award-winning classical guitarist Rene Izquierdo at 7:30 p.m. On Friday, Aug. 16, at 6:30 p.m. festivalgoers will experience a free outdoor concert featuring the guitar-driven, genre-busting synthesis of the Troy Stetina Project, and on both Friday and Saturday beginning at 11:45 a.m. and continuing into the evening, guests can enjoy delicious brews from Biloba Brewing Company and live performances from Guitars for Vets artists in the outdoor Festival Beer Garden. Seating for both Thursday evening concerts is limited and advance ticket registration is recommended at or by calling 262-781-9520; no advance registration is needed for the Friday evening outdoor concert or the afternoon Beer Garden performances.

In keeping with the mission of the Festival to celebrate the greatest guitarists of today and tomorrow, 61 semifinalists from 50 cities around the world will be competing live on August 16-17 in the five genres of blues, classical, fingerstyle, jazz, and rock for their share of $40,000 in cash prizes and a chance to perform on the Coors Light/Parkview Stage at Milwaukee Irish Fest on Sunday, Aug. 18, at 11:00 a.m. Semi-finalists advancing to the final rounds will be announced on Friday evening prior to the Troy Stetina Project concert. First-, second-, and third-place winners in each of the five genres will be announced on Saturday evening prior to the John Scofield Trio concert. The full list of semi-finalists with links to their preliminary round YouTube video submissions is available online at All competition rounds are free and open to the public to attend and advance registration is not required; to see the complete competition schedule, visit

Additional free Festival activities will include a vendor hall filled with guitar gear from Cascio Music, Cream City Music, Jonathan Marshall Guitars, Tim Reede Guitars, and UW-Milwaukee Audiology Group; an exhibition of artist-upcycled guitars presented in partnership with Guitars for Vets’ Art Strings program; acoustic yoga on Friday and Saturday mornings at 7:30 a.m. led by Peaceful Plum Yoga and Meditation with accompaniment from 2018 Festival classical semi-finalist Emma Bo Peng; a free family guitar art workshop on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. led by Wilson Center teaching artist Tiffany Knopow; and more. A complete schedule of events is available online at Unless otherwise indicated on the website, all Festival activities are free and open to the public to attend. Where indicated, advance registration/purchase is recommended. All dates, times, artists, locations, and activities subject to change.

Throughout the Festival, the Wilson Center will also be partnering with Milwaukee-based Guitars for Vets to serve as an official guitar drop-off location for those who would like to put the healing power of music in the hands of heroes. For more information, call the Wilson Center Box Office at 262-781-9520.

The 2019 Wilson Center Guitar Festival is made possible through the support of Headliner Show Sponsor Krause Funeral Homes & Cremation Services, Classical Category Sponsor Mark & Sharon Cameli in memory of John Cameli, Rock Category Prize Sponsor John Shiely, Classical Show Sponsor JoAnne & Don Krause, Supporting Sponsors The Les Paul Foundation and Vince Shiely, and Promotional Partners 88Nine Radio Milwaukee, Biloba Brewing Company, Cascio Interstate Music, Guitars for Vets, and WPR 90.7 The Ideas Network.

For more information on the 2019 Wilson Center Guitar Festival, visit

(Picture included with press release: John Scofield, photo by Nick Suttle. Additional images available upon request.)

Established in 2013, it is the goal of the Wilson Center Guitar Festival to celebrate the greatest guitarists of today and tomorrow. As the only guitar festival in the world to feature five different genres—Blues, Classical, Fingerstyle, Jazz, and Rock—the weekend is filled with activities for music lovers of all ages. In addition to ticketed concerts, the Festival offers many activities that are free and open to the public, including: semi-final and final competition rounds, master classes, leading industry vendors, and live music from local artists. To learn more, visit

As a multidisciplinary nonprofit cultural arts facility with a 17-year history of excellence, it is the mission of the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts to serve as a catalyst for lifelong discovery and exploration of the arts. Situated in Brookfield’s beautiful Mitchell Park, the Wilson Center is recognized as a cultural anchor in the Greater Milwaukee community and focuses on three main disciplines: performing arts, arts education, and visual arts. Since opening in 2002, the Wilson Center has continued to celebrate its five core values of excellence, innovation, passion, stewardship and collaboration through a diverse array of premier performances, educational programs, classes, festivals, and special events. The Wilson Center annually welcomes more than 45,000 people, including more than 10,000 students every year—many of whom are being introduced to the arts for the first time. Through arts education programs such as Beyond the Classroom, ArtsReach, and Arts Camp: The Art of Nature, as well as year-round visual art classes and exhibitions, the Wilson Center offers access to the arts for children, teens, families, and adults.

The John Scofield Trio has been performing, recording, and touring together for 41 years. Drummer Bill Stewart joined Scofield and Swallow in 1990.

Aside from being one of the principal innovators of modern jazz guitar, JOHN SCOFIELD (born December 26, 1951, in Ohio) is a creative artist of an even rarer sort: a stylistic chameleon who has forged a consistent, rocksolid aesthetic identity. An artist with fan bases in many camps and nearly three dozen albums to his credit, he has expressed himself in the vernacular of bebop, blues, jazz-funk, organ jazz, acoustic chamber jazz, electronically tinged groove music, and orchestral ensembles with ease and enthusiasm. His versatility and technical mastery won him early sideman gigs with Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, and Cobham/Duke among many. Since that time, he remains firmly in the foreground of jazz consciousness as a player and composer, prominently leading his own groups in the international jazz scene, his own albums (more than 40 as a leader, many already classics) including collaborations with many contemporary favorites like Pat Metheny, Charlie Haden, Eddie Harris, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Bill Frisell, Brad Mehldau, Mavis Staples, Government Mule, Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano, and Phil Lesh. He’s played and recorded with Tony Williams, Jim Hall, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Dave Holland, among many other jazz legends. Regardless of the stylistic setting, his distinct guitar sound and compositions are unmistakably Scofieldesque, always coupled with an improvisational excellence and dedicated to the finest in jazz tradition. Three-time Grammy Award winner and an Officier dans L’Ordre des Arts and Lettres by France, Scofield tours the world approximately 200 days per year with his own groups.

Bassist and composer STEVE SWALLOW was born in New York City on October 4, 1940, and spent his childhood in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. Before turning to the acoustic bass at age 14, he studied piano and trumpet. His otherwise miserable adolescence was brightened by his discovery of jazz. He took many of his first stabs at improvisation at a New England private school. During his years at Yale University, he studied composition with Donald Martino and played Dixieland with many of the greats, among them Pee Wee Russell, Buck Clayton and Vic Dickenson. In 1960, he met Paul and Carla Bley, left Yale in a hurry, moved to New York City, and began to tour and record with Paul Bley, The Jimmy Giuffre Trio, and George Russell’s sextet, which featured Eric Dolphy and Thad Jones. He also performed in the early ’60s with Joao Gilberto, Sheila Jordan, and bands led by Benny Goodman, Marian McPartland, Chico Hamilton, Al Cohn and Zoot Sims, Clark Terry and Bob Brookmeyer, and Chick Corea. The ensuing decades have paired Steve with a veritable who’s who of jazz artists—Bill Evans, Stan Getz, Gary Burton, Art Farmer, Phil Woods, Jack DeJohnette, Steve Kuhn, Lyle Mays, Jim Hall, Paul Motion, Pat Metheny, scores of international jazz artists, and, most consistently, with life partner Carla Bley. Swallow has toured and recorded with John Scofield in a variety of formats, from quintet to duet as well as this Trio, and has also produced several of his recordings.

Originally from Des Moines, Iowa, and born October 18, 1966, drummer and composer BILL STEWART has performed and recorded with many well-known musicians, including John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Maceo Parker, Larry Goldings, Joe Lovano, Charlie Haden, Joe Henderson, Michael Brecker, Kevin Hays, Bill Carrothers, Chris Potter, Marc Copland, Lee Konitz, and many others. He has also recorded several CDs as a leader, including Snide Remarks (Blue Note), which was named one of the top ten CDs of 1995 by The New York Times, and the 2008 release, Incandescence on Pirouet records, which features his trio with Larry Goldings and Kevin Hays. Bill is a coleader of the critically acclaimed trio BERNSTEIN/GOLDINGS/STEWART, which has released several recordings.

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Tickets for this one-night-only Wilson Center performance are $41-$82.

Telepathically Tight John Scofield Trio Headlines International Guitar Festival

Seventh Annual Wilson Center Guitar Festival Features Free Masterclasses, Music, Competitions

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