Provizer's Jazz Notes
Jazz Notes, 9-19-2013
Rich Chiaraluce, at Crossroads Theater on Thursday
Like his brother Wynton, saxophonist Branford Marsalis can do classical music as well as classic jazz. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, you get to hear just that when the enormously talented tenor player kicks off the 2013-2014 Denver Symphony Orchestra season at Boettcher Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. The classical program with the orchestra conducted by Andrew Litton is on stage at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday ($20-$83, 303-623-7876). The program consists of work from three Russian composers (Borodin, Glazunov and Shostakovich) plus one from John Williams.
On Thursday and Friday, another fine tenor saxophonist, Wayne Escoffery, brings a strong quintet to Dazzle, 930 Lincoln, at 7 and 9 p.m. ($20/$12 students for all sets except for 7 p.m. on Friday, 303-839-5100). The London-born saxophonist has worked in a wide range of contexts, including the Mingus Big Band and the Lincoln Center jazz Orchestra. He has visited Dazzle before on his own and as part of trumpeter Tom Harrell’s quintet and he can fire things up. His recent CD is The Only Son of One and the band he has with is filled with familiar names – Rachel Z on keyboards, Xavier Davis on piano, Ugonna Okegwo on bass and Jason Brown on drums.
And that’s not all on the tenor saxophone front. On Tuesday and Wednesday, tenor men Ellery Eskelin and Rob Sudduth are at Dazzle as part of clarinetist Ben Goldberg’s Unfold Ordinary Mind band that also features guitarist Nels Cline and drummer Ches Smith. Eskelin, who was raised in Baltimore and settled in New York in 1983, has worked in a number of push-the-envelope groups with impressive tenor swagger. Goldberg, of course, is from Denver; and since moving on, he has earned a reputation as the most impressive new clarinetist on the scene. The sets both nights are at 7 and 9 p.m. ($20). It should be two nights of adventurous sounds.
Speaking of the tenor saxophone, on Monday John Coltrane, who died before he turned 41, would have celebrated his 87th birthday. In line with that event, area-based tenor saxophonist Keith Oxman, who receives high marks from master players such as Curtis Fuller and Benny Golson, joins with singer Ed Battle to revisit the material from three of Trane’s albums – John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman (1963), Coltrane Time (1959) and A Love Supreme (1964) – on Sunday at 7 p.m. ($15/$8 students). Jeff Jenkins, Ken Walker and Todd Reid make up the rhythm section for the evening.
In another tribute, saxophonist Rich Chiaraluce spends an evening with the music of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie on Thursday at the Crossroads Theater, 27th at Welton, at 7 p.m. ($10, giftofjazz.org or at door). Chiaraluce’s quintet has Gabe Mervine on trumpet. The Rico Jones-Ike Spivak Group is also on the bill.
There’s added music from bassist Matt Skellenger’s group at Dazzle on Saturday. Skellenger’s released a CD in April titled The Owls Are Not What They Seem with Ron Miles on trumpet His world-music-influenced sound is on stage at 7 and 9 p.m. ($10)
And on Monday, bassist Matt Smiley brings an octet to Dazzle at 7 p.m. performing the music of Masada $10/$8 students). Earlier this month, saxophonist/composer John Zorn hit his 60th birthday. In 1994, Zorn’s original Masada band released its first disc and, over time, the Masada label has been attached to Zorn’s groups of various shapes and sizes (though I confess, it’s the original Masada quartet with trumpeter Dave Douglas, Bassist Greg Cohen and drummer Joey Baron that still draws my attention the most). Zorn’s book of Masada music is enormous and bassist Smiley has been playing it for a decade.
Returning to Friday, the Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra is at the Lone Tree Arts Center, 10075 Commons St. in Lone Tree, at 8 p.m. with guest saxophonist Nelson Rangell ($20, 720-509-1000). And not too far down the road, Summit Jazz hits the Red Lion Inn Southeast on September 27-29 with the Jim Cullum Jazz Band, the New Black Eagle Jazz Band, clarinetist Allan Vache’s group with John Sheridan and Butch Miles and others (303-670-8471 or summitjazz.org). Also, the latest round of the Gift of Jazz’s eight-week jazz classes begin on September 28 at Dazzle with Greg Tanner Harris offering a look at jazz through a world and folkloric lens (giftofjazz.org).