22nd Annual EDGEFEST 2018: Chicago - OUT Kind of Town

View this year's lineup

What is Edgefest?

Edgefest In The Press

Edgefest Funding & Sponsors

Order tickets now!


Discover FRINGE at the EDGE

Become an EDGEHEAD


The Lineup


Piotr Michalowski Ensemble
Abby Alwin, cello • David Hurley, drums • Mike Khoury, violin and viola • Ken Kozora, cornet • Piotr Michalowski, bass and C clarinets, sopranino and soprano saxophones • Joel Peterson, bass • Kenn Thomas, piano

Guillermo Gregorio Trio
Guillermo Gregorio, clarinet • Fred Lonberg-Holm, cello • Carrie Biolo, vibraphone/percussion

Roscoe Mitchell with Detroit Friends: A Tribute to the Creative Arts Collective
Roscoe Mitchell and Spender Barefield, co-founders
Roscoe Mitchell, saxophones • A. Spencer Barefield, guitar • Anthony Holland, saxophones • Skeeter Shelton, saxophones • Kenneth Green, piano • Jaribu Shahid, bass • Djalo Djakate, drums


Kirsten Carey’s Uruboros Sextet
Kirsten Carey, guitar • Andrew Bishop and Molly Jones, saxophones • Ben Willis, bass • Jonathan Taylor, percussion

Lonberg-Holm/Reid/Young Trio
Fred Lonberg-Holm, cello • Tomeka Reid, cello • Kathryn Young, bassoon

Harrison Bankhead Quartet 
Harrison Bankhead, bass • Ed Wilkerson, tenor saxophones • Jim Baker, piano/electronics • Avreeayl Ra, drums


Adam Shead's Tradition Talks
Matt Piet, piano • Tony Piazza, bass • Adam Shead, drums

Artifacts Trio
Nicole Mitchell, flute/electronics • Tomeka Reid, cello • Mike Reed, drums

Jason Stein’s Hearts and Minds
Jason Stein, bass clarinet • Paul Giallorenzo, piano/electronics • Chad Taylor, drums

Jaimie Branch Quartet
Jaimie Branch, trumpet • Lester St. Louis, cello • Anton Hatwich, bass • Chad Taylor, drums


Edgefest Parade and Picnic

Myra Melford, piano solo

Tim Haldeman Quartet
Tim Haldeman, saxophone • Tim Flood, bass • Will McEvoy, bass • David Hurley, drums

Tiger Trio
Myra Melford, piano • Nicole Mitchell, flute • Joëlle Léandre, bass

Rempis/Abrams/Ra + Baker
Dave Rempis, saxophone • Joshua Abrams, bass • Avreeayl Ra, drums • Jim Baker, piano/electronics

Joëlle Léandre, solo bass

Art Ensemble of Chicago 50th Anniversary Project: 
A Tribute to Lester Bowie, Joseph Jarman, Malachi favors and their lasting contributions to “Great Black Music-Ancient to the Future”
Roscoe Mitchell, saxophones/flute/percussion/etc. • Famoudou Don Moye, drums/percussion/etc. • Hugh Ragin, Trumpets • Fred Berry, Trumpet/Flugelhorn • Nicole Mitchell, Flutes • Christina Wheeler, Voice/Electronics • Jean Cook, Violin • Stephanie Griffin, Viola • Tomeka Reid, Cello • Silvia Bolognesi, Bass • Jaribu Shahid, Bass • Junius Paul, Bass 

Click here for more information about EDGEPASSES.


What is Edgefest?

"The annual rite of fall in Michigan music...running off the beaten tracks."
- Downbeat

Founded in 1997, Edgefest is an award­-winning annual avant­-garde jazz and creative new music festival with a unifying purpose: to explore new music created by today's composer­s and performers from the United States and beyond. Under the direction of founder Dave Lynch, it began as a single­day event and is now a major 4­ day festival that includes collaborations and educational outreach.

EDGEFEST 22: Chicago-Out Kind of Town 
Almost a century ago, the Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovski wrote: “Then there is Chicago and this Chicago is different from all other cities—different not by its houses or its people, but by its very own, Chicago-style centered energy.” This vital industrial metropolis has long attracted people from all over the world, integrating them into the fabric of its being, and music has always played an important role in the social life of the Windy City, be it early jazz, blues, or house music or avant-garde improvisation. Edgefest 2018 will celebrate the more experimental sounds of Chicago, including artists of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) and the iconic Art Ensemble of Chicago (AEC). Since the 1960’s these organizations and the artists associated with them have established new forms of music and new avenues for artistic self-determination and social involvement. Artists who currently populate the new music, avant jazz improvising scene in Chicago will be featured at the festival along with those who left their city but whose creativity will always be associated with their former home. All share that illusive “Chicago-style centered energy” that has been there ever since King Oliver brought his music there exactly a century ago.

Edgefest presents world-class cutting-edge jazz, creative improvisation, and category-defying music often ignored in the commercial marketplace. Artists/composers who participate in Edgefest and its various outreach activities increase the public’s appreciation for and understanding of this musical genre as well as promote their own unique compositions.

Edgefest creates a community spirit that brings together artists, audiences, and the neighborhood in a shared experience; not merely paying lip-service to the idea of local engagement, but making it the lifeblood of the festival with in-depth school workshops and an improvised music parade; offering the next generation fun and accessible introductions to uncompromising creativity.

Edgefest In the Press

What People Are Saying About Edgefest:

"There's no doubt that if you want to hear accomplished music in an intimate space with excellent sound in the company of a respectful crowd, Edgefest is the place to be."
- John Sharpe, New York City Jazz Record

"If you've got an ear for adventurous music that doesn't care much for the constraints of genre, labels or convention, then you should be in the audience for Edgefest."
- Mark Stryker, The Detroit Free Press

"To paraphrase the state motto of Michigan, if you seek a deeper groove, look about you."
- Lawrence Cosentino, Signal to Noise

 “One of the premier national events for avant-garde and improvisational music in the world.”
- Mike McGonigal, The Detroit Metro Times

“Edgefest sits squarely at the nexus of improvised music and contemporary composition, ignoring, nay obliterating, any concern of genres and boundaries...Edgefest once again cast its bright light on some of the world’s most exciting and challenging music.”
- Arlene & Larry Dunn, I Care If You Listen

Read press from previous Edgefests:

Sharpe, John. "Festival Report: Edgefest." New York City Jazz Record. December 2016.

Stryker, Mark. "Pianist Craig Taborn helps Edgefest celebrate 20 years." Detroit Free Press. October 2016.

Drouot, Alain. "Edgefest Now Bigger Than Ever." DownBeat. November 2016. 

Hare, Dayton. "Explorative jazz artist Steve Rush returns to Edgefest." The Michigan Daily. October 2016.

Nastos, Michael G. "Preview: Celebrating 20 Years of Edgefest in One Year." Pulp. October 2016.

Bjorn, Lars. "Edgefest 2016 Marks 20 Years." SEMJA Update. October 2016.

Review of Edgefest 2012 by Arlene and Larry Dunn

Live review of Edgefest 2011 by Lawrence Cosentino,
from Signal to Noise

Edgefest 2011 Review in Jazz.ru

Edgefest Funding & Sponsors

Support for Edgefest 22 is provided by the Robert D. Bielecki Foundation.
Encore Records at 417 E. Liberty St. has sponsored and hosted the Tuesday evening Fringe events. Check back later for our exact schedule, and check out Encore Records for one of the most interesting music selections in the area!
Additional support for Edgefest is made possible in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Art Works.
Additional support for the festival is also provided by The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, & Dance and the University of Michigan Museum of Art.

Discover FRINGE at the EDGE

As part of the 10th anniversary of Edgefest in 2006, KCH created a series of free public performance events which took place during the days and early evenings in restaurants, cafés and galleries in downtown Ann Arbor, featuring some of the areas most accomplished creative musicians.

The Fringe project, now a festival staple, has been very successful in moving creative and imaginative music making out of the conventional concert hall venue and into public spaces such as bars, restaurants and markets.

Stay tuned for more information about Fringe performances at this year's Edgefest!

Edgepasses are on sale now!

Day passes and single tickets go on sale September 17 at 10 am.

Call 734-769-2999 to purchase


Edgefest will take place at Kerrytown Concert House as well as other downtown Ann Arbor venues. Tickets for individual events may be purchased by cash, check, or credit at the door of each concert site beginning 30 minutes prior to each show. All seating reserved through phone or online is guaranteed only until performances are scheduled to begin. Edgepasses may be reserved directly through the KCH website or by calling 734-769-2999.

$160 - Edgepass

• Entrance to the Edgefest VIP opening dinner party
• General admission to ALL ticketed Edgefest events (over $250 value)

Become an EDGEHEAD

The festival depends on individual contributions, even more as cuts in corporate sponsorships affect the festival. As an Edgepass holder who becomes an Edgehead, you will not only be invited to the opening night dinner - always a gourmet feast in an informal, fun atmosphere - but those pass holders contributing $150 or more will have assigned seats in the first and second rows at ticketed events and those contributing at least $100 will have assigned seats beginning in the third row.

Guests who purchase the special EDGEHEAD Edgepass at $260 receive personalized, reserved seating in the second section (rows 3-5) at all ticketed Edgefest events, and guests who purchase the EDGEHEAD Edgepass at $310 receive personalized, reserved seating in the first section (rows 1-2) at all ticketed Edgefest events. Seats are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, so reserving early is highly recommended! Edgepass holders, EDGEHEADS and sponsors are invited to the VIP opening dinner party. Edgepasses may be purchased by cash or check (made payable to "KCH") and picked up at Kerrytown Concert House at any time during the festival. Edgepasses can also be paid for via credit card over the phone (with a 3.5% processing fee) or in person at KCH (with a 2.75% processing fee).

$260 - EDGEHEAD Edgepass ($100 of which is tax-deductible)

• Entrance to the Edgefest VIP opening dinner party
• Personalized, reserved seating in the second section (Rows 3 - 5) for ALL ticketed Edgefest events (over $400 value)

$310 - EDGEHEAD Edgepass ($150 of which is tax-deductible)

• Entrance to the Edgefest VIP opening dinner party
• Personalized, reserved seating in the first section (Rows 1 - 2) for all ticketed Edgefest events (over $500 value)


The Microtel Inn and Suites is a sponsor of Edgefest, offering Kerrytown Concert House Edgefest artists and patrons a special Edgefest rate. An added Microtel benefit is seeing and meeting Edgefest artists as they come and go at the Microtel.

To make a reservation at the Microtel (3610 Plymouth Road-near US 23):

  1. Call the Microtel Reservations Desk at 734-997-9100
  2. Make a reservation with the front desk and be sure to mention that you are an Edgefest patron.

For more information on places to stay in Ann Arbor, see our Planning Your Visit page or go to visitannarbor.org

Planning Your Visit

Our historic Kerrytown neighborhood