“In a conversation last week, Ben Sidran rather suddenly announced that his summer-long run of Tuesday evening gigs at the Cardinal Bar—which begin June 7 at 5:30 p.m.—will from now on be called the “unduly cheerful” tour.
Which probably needs some explaining.
Sidran himself does not. Having left 70 astern a couple of years ago, but still going strong, the jazz pianist is a Madison legend, even if his music may be more appreciated in Europe than his native United States.
It is fully appreciated at the Cardinal Bar, which for many years has served as the venue for Sidran’s free Tuesday shows. They’ve become one of Madison’s rites of summer. Familiar faces line the bar. Ben’s wife Judy is giving hugs, and Cardinal proprietor Ricardo Gonzalez is smiling at the size of the turnout. Literary lights and Sidran pals David Maraniss and Lorrie Moore find their way through the crowd. It’s best to arrive early. The seats fill fast.“