What’s news in jazz news…

First, three quick reviews of some of the bands we heard at last weekend’s Five Points Jazz Festival…

Steve: I was privileged to emcee the opening act at the Main Stage, with the Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra – all 18 of them! Great arrangements from Drew Zaremba, with 12 horns, lush and sweeping, and tight and funky! And many of the players in the CJRO have their own bands, Jonathan Powell, Darren and Dawn Kramer, Mike Abbott, Eric Gunnison, Shane Endsley, uh-oh, I’ve left some names out. Anyway, Art Bouton has recruited one heck of a jazz orchestra, based right here in Colorado. You’ll see them around town this summer.

Abi: I caught young prodigy drummer JJ Mazza on the Denver Arts & Venues Stage with Charles Blenzig & Simple Math. It was great to watch Charles Blenzig count off the tunes with Mazza keeping time. We were watching the mentoring process happen right in front of us, and it sounded great, too.

Carlos: The KUVO broadcast booth was right in front of the George Morrison Jazz Heritage Stage and I caught the Jonathan Powell Latin Jazz Septet (including Drew Zaremba at tenor sax and Darren Kramer at trombone). Just an outstanding rhythm section, too. (Powell) knows how to lead a band and he knows how to get people moving. He concluded the set with the Eddie Palmieri composition “Adoracion,” which he played numerous times with Eddie. The plaza was full!

(See the photos at KUVO’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jazz89kuvo) Picture by William Peterson/RMPM: Grand Marshalls, Cleo Parker Robinson (Cleo Parker Robinson Dance) and Carlos Lando (KUVO JAZZ) Homepage picture courtesy of Denver Arts & Venues: Five Point Jazz Festival, June 8, 2024

Colorado pianist Ron LeGault steps aside from his ongoing gig at Bar 404 on Broadway in Denver. 404 continues its commitment to live music, including jazz, with Theo Stathopulos, Pete Olstad, Rich Chiaraluce, and others on the schedule Wednesday in June. (SOURCE: Bar 404) Picture courtesy of Ron LeGault.

Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra have a new release for this coming Juneteenth called “Freedom, Justice, and Hope.” The project, recorded live in concert in 2021, features new arrangements for jazz protest classics like “We Shall Overcome,” Sonny Rollins’s “Freedom Suite,” and John Coltrane’s “Alabama,” plus monologues from Bryan Stevenson, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative and The Legacy Museum Montgomery, Alabama. He’s also a pianist!

Other guests on the record include trumpeter Josh Evans, whose original piece recalls the 1919 Elaine Massacre in Arkansas, and bassist Endea Owens offers a salute to investigative journalist Ida B. Wells. “Freedom, Justice, and Hope” will be available as a CD and on digital streaming platforms on June 14.

(SOURCE: Blue Engine Announces: “Freedom, Justice, and Hope” performed by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and special guest Bryan Stevenson) Picture courtesy of Jazz at Lincoln Center.

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