Provizer's Jazz Notes
Jazz Notes, 9-27-12
Colin Stranahan, back from the Thelonius Monk Institute's Drum competition
This week, the Summit Jazz event sponsored by the Summit Jazz Foundation makes its annual appearance from Friday through Sunday. The event, with a strong emphasis on trad side of the music, takes place in the Red Lion Inn Denver Southeast, 3200 S. Parker Rd. in Aurora, starting at 5 p.m. on Friday and wraps up at 5:15 p.m. on Sunday. The piano duo of Jeff Barnhart and John Sheridan is on the bill, as is the Jim Cullum Jazz Band, the Climax Jazz Band, the Ivory and Gold Trio and the Summit Hot Seven among others (a weekend pass is just over $100 and tickets for individual sessions are in the $30-to-$40 range, 303-670-8471 or summitjazz.org).
A different side of the music is also on display on Saturday (at 7 and 9 p.m.) and Sunday (6 and 8 p.m.) when drummer Allison Miller brings her Boom Tic Boom quartet to Dazzle, 930 Lincoln ($20/$10 students for the 8 p.m. set on Sunday, 303-839-5100). Miller is a talented drummer who has worked with saxophonist Marty Ehrlich as well as the mighty organ man, Dr. Lonnie Smith.
This edition of Boom Tic Boom features the outstanding pianist Myra Melford (who is always worth hearing in her own right), bassist Chris Lightcap and trumpeter Ron Miles (who is never less than great). Additionally, Miller has worked in a group with keyboardist Erik Deutsch, who established his reputation working in these parts with Miles. Think of it as a different type of musical summit.
If you want to catch a taste of New Orleans, a modern-day professor of the Crescent City piano is in town on Tuesday and Wednesday connected to the Auraria Disability Awareness Festival on the Auraria campus. That professor is Henry Butler, a blind player who settled in metro Denver following Katrina and now works out of New York.
When you hear Butler play and sing, it’s hard to resist the temptation to launch a desperate search for beignets and chicory coffee. He performs at noon and 1 p.m. in the Tivoli Commons at Auraria on Tuesday for a free event; and then, on Wednesday, there is a ticketed concert in the King Center on the campus next to downtown at 7 p.m. with jazz players from MSU Denver (a.k.a. Metro State). The number for the King Center box Office is 303-556-2296.
Some other sounds around this week include trombonist John Hines and Table for 5 with singer Donna Devine at Dazzle on Thursday at 7 and 9 p.m. ($9) and bassist Ken Walker’s sextet at Dazzle at 7 and 9 p.m. on Friday ($12). Dazzle also has SLYKUMU, playing Ghanaian folk sounds on Monday at 7 p.m., for its world music series ($10), an evening of music from the Broadway Music School on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ($10) and singer Rekha Ohal paying tribute to Tom Waits on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ($10/$7 students).
It’s also worth noting that singer MaryLynn Gillaspie is involved with a new, Sunday evening jazz series at Lannie’s Clocktower. The series will take place during the first Sunday of the month at 7:30 p.m. and pianist Eric Gunnison’s group Wake Up Call will kick things off.
Additionally, in case you missed it, the results are in for this year’s drum competition sponsored by the Thelonious Monk Institute. Colin Stranahan, who grew up here, was one of three finalists. While drummer Jamison Ross (who was at Mount Vernon Country Club in August with singer Carmen Lundy) won the competition, Stranahan’s showing was most impressive. Just think of this: Over the years, some of the musicians who ended up in third place in the various Monk competitions are singer Roberta Gambarini, saxophonists Chris Potter and Marcus Strickland and pianist Ed Simon. Not bad company to be in. And in 1990, it was Denver-raised trumpeter Greg Gisbert who occupied the bronze slot. So, there’s no question that congratulations are in order for Stranahan. You will hear a lot more from him.
And speaking of percussion, the very percussive musical Stomp wraps up its run at the Denver Performing Arts Complex on Sunday. It’s amazing what you can do with a broom (303-893-4100).