Singer René Marie hasn’t forgotten her days living in Denver and the city certainly hasn’t forgotten her. This week Marie returns to Colorado for a performance at Vail Jazz at Vail Square on Thursday at 6 p.m. ( and a Friday night visit to the new Dazzle, 1512 Curtis, at 6:30 and 9 p.m. (303-839-5102).Marie may have had a late start to her career but she has emerged as a significant voice on the jazz scene. To put it simply, she is an enormously creative singer who sounds like no one but herself. She’s an original. And, as such, she has been way up on my list of favorite vocalists for a number of years.

Marie’s last four discs have been on the Motema label; and for the last two, she received Grammy nominations. Her show is titled Experiment in Truth, drawn from the title of a 2007 CD recorded while she was living here. But you can expect to hear a lot from her current disc Sound of Red – and there are always some surprises. Supported by the strong trio of John Chin on piano, Elias Bailey on bass and Quentin Baxter on drums, René delivers memorable music. In addition to Marie’s stop in Vail, the band Cubanismo brings Afro-Cuban sounds to the Vail Jazz Club Series at Ludwig’s Terrace at the Sonnenalp Hotel on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. (

Back in Arvada, Sunday finds trumpeter Chris Botti on the amphitheatre stage at the Arvada Center 6901 Wadsworth, with his band. Botti is a solid trumpeter (and sometime singer) who has carved out an enormously popular place in cotemporary music. I haven’t seen a list of the players who will be with him, but he has always had strong sidemen (including pianist Billy Childs). Geoff Keezer is also frequently in his band. As a student at Indiana University, Botti received summer fellowships to study with trumpeter Woody Shaw and saxophonist George Coleman and, whatever the pop context (like touring with Paul Simon and Sting), that training does shine through. Botti plays at 7:30 p.m. (720-898-7200).

One of the several guests on Botti’s 2012 disc Impressions is pianist Herbie Hancock. So, you should keep in mind that Hancock is in town on August 14 at the Denver Botanic Gardens. On the August 15, at the Gardens, it’s Chick Corea and his Elektric Band along with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Two strong nights of jazz with tickets that will be very hard to find.

That brings us to the Telluride Jazz Festival that runs from Friday through Sunday (  Under new leadership, the Telluride event has moved, this year, in even a more pop direction. The headliners for the event are Macy Gray, Mavis Staples and the Funky Meter with Dr. John – top-notch acts but ones without much of a direct jazz connection. On the jazz front, the top act at the festivities is bassist Miles Mosley and the West Coast Get Down. Saxophonist Kamasi Washington, who has received a lot of attention over the past two years, sometimes plays with this aggregation. But it appears that while Washington is in Colorado to perform with guitarist Bob Weir at a 75th birthday party for the late Jerry Garcia at Red Rocks on Friday at 6 p.m. (800-854-2196), he is not on the Telluride schedule.

One of the saxophonists who also shared his sound with the Grateful Dead (and also toured with Sting) is Branford Marsalis and he will be at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, 304 Hwy 105, in Palmer Lake at 7 p.m. on Thursday (719-481-0475). The Marsalis quartet is one of the top groups around.

Returning to Dazzle, Thursday offers “Brazilian Jazz Night” with two sets of music, the first from clarinetist Dexter Payne and his quintet and the second from Michele Castro, a native of Rio, and her quartet. The sounds start at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, the club has dancing with the Olde Town Swing Band with singer Micah Parkin at 6:30 and 9 p.m., while on Sunday the Soul Diva Revue with singers Melody Renique, Linda Styles and Diana Castro is on stage at 6 p.m. Then, on Tuesday and Wednesday, the great Brazilian guitarist Diego Figueiredo plays at 6 and 8:30 p.m. He also performs live at KUVO Jazz on Wednesday 3:30-4 p.m. Of course, on August 12, it’s Bobby Watson taking you to Kansas City at the station’s “Live at the Vineyards” event.

Finally, the City Park Jazz series ends on Sunday at 6 p.m. at the Pavilion in City Park with the Alpha Schoolmarm Orchestra.

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