Jazz Notes 6-25-2015 by Norman Provizer           

This week the August edition of DownBeat is out and it contains the magazine’s 63rd annual “Critics Poll.”  That issue also contains a full-page ad for the new Jazz and American Improvised Music (JAIM) major at Metropolitan State University of Denver that contains a prominent welcome to the great clarinetist and composer Don Byron who joins MSU Denver as a full-time faculty member in August as part of the JAIM program headed by Ron Miles.  Byron, as I’ve previously noted, is simply an incredible addition to the Colorado jazz and jazz education scene. I had the opportunity to serve on the search committee for this position and I for one can’t wait for August to roll around. 

The annual “Critics Poll” also serves as a reminder that talented players from here have been making a good deal of noise on the national scene once their names and their music spread beyond the Rockies. The player, for example, who took the top spot in the rising-star trumpet category, Kirk Knuffke, went national from Denver. And, in the category of rising-star organ players, two of the musicians near the top of the list have Denver connections: Pat Bianchi and Erik Deutsch. 

With that mind, remember that Sunday offers sounds from a large number of area-based players who are participating in the Jump for Jazz event at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St. in Boulder. The event organized by fans of the music runs from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. During the afternoon hours, there are musical activities, followed by an evening ticketed concert with five bands covering things from swing to Brazilian sounds (303-444-7328). You can find a complete listing of all the music and activities at jumpforjazz.weebly.com. 

You can also hear student groups connected to the Denver School of the Arts  (DSA) and the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts (CCJA) at Dazzle, 930 Lincoln, on Thursday and Wednesday. The student bands from DSA are on Thursday at 7 and 9 p.m., while the young players from the CCJA are on Wednesday at 7 p.m. (303-839-5100). 

Speaking of younger players, one of the things that KUVO is doing in line with its 30th anniversary is a program called KUVO 30 Under 30, recognizing musicians who haven’t yet reached their 30th birthday. Things get going with that program with a reception and jam at Nocturne, 1330 27th St., on July 12. Of course, the big party for the station’s 30th birthday is the Jazz at the Vineyards event on August 8 that features singers Dianne Reeves and Kevin Mahogany. And, on the subject of singers, Friday’s evening lineup from Jazz Aspen Snowmass’ June experience offers Roberta Gambarini and Kurt Elling along with the Count Basie Orchestra and saxophonist Maceo Parker in Aspen’s Benedict Music Tent at 6 p.m. 

Back in the Denver area on Saturday, there’s jazz along with other sounds at the Aurora Arts Festival on Fletcher Plaza, 9898 E. Colfax, from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. Also on Saturday the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center offers a night of ‘Swinging Back to the Points” with pianist Purnell Steen at the Summit, 411 Sable Blvd., at 7 p.m. (720-342-7428). Come Sunday, you can practice your Louisiana two-step when the Revelers provide a “Bayou Bash” at Baur’s Listening Lounge, 1512 Curtis, at 8 p.m. (baursmagic.com). 

Additionally on Sunday at 6 p.m., drummer Paa Kow’s band holds down the fort at City Park Jazz in City Park, while the fine guitarist Dale Bruning serves up his trio at 7 p.m. at Dazzle. And on Tuesday, Dazzle presents the 35th reunion of the group Dry Jack. Back at the end of the 1970s, this then-Kansas City based fusion band recorded two albums for the Inner City jazz label, Magical Elements and Whale City before disbanding in the early 1980s. Back then Inner City was a significant, independent jazz label, releasing albums from scores of major artists including Gil Evans, Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Abbey Lincoln, Eddie Jefferson, Oliver Nelson and many others. On the fusion side, the label also issued the first album from the Jeff Lober Fusion. 

Pianist Chuck Lamb, who has been with the Brubeck Brothers band for some time, and his brother, bassist Rich Lamb, now have strong Colorado connections, while guitarist Rod Fleeman has worked with singer Karrin Allyson and drummer Jon Margolis has done the same with saxophonist Ernie Watts who is this year’s guest of honor at the Telluride Jazz Festival that runs from July 31 to August 2. The reunion of the core members of Dry Jack starting at 7 p.m. should be a fun fusion fest. 

In a different crossover direction, The Organization with Jeff Jenkins on Hammond B-3 organ, Dave Corbus on guitar, Peter Sommer on saxophone and Neil Hemphill on drums celebrates “The Organic Brian Wilson” by playing Beach Boys tunes at Dazzle at 7 and 9 p.m. on Saturday. On Friday, before the driving surf hits Dazzle on Saturday, Sommer, Corbus and Jenkins are all on stage at the club as half of bassist Ken Walker’s sextet that also plays at 7 and 9 p.m. 

Lastly, Tyson Haynes, a saxophonist out of Portland who now lives in Colorado, is at Dazzle on Monday at 7 p.m. – and, for the late-night set, Dan Schwindt on Friday and Scott Montgomery on Saturday hit the stage at Nocturne at 11:15 p.m.   

For calendar submissions and comments;  normanprovizer@aol.com 


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