The Jazz Journalists Association is out with their list of “Jazz Heroes” in markets around the country. We’re delighted that pianist-composer-educator Tenia Renee Nelson gets the honor for Denver this year. She got noticed for being “everywhere all at once.” Last year’s Denver Jazz Hero Dave Froman from the non-profit Gift of Jazz nominated his board member, and she is one active woman in jazz, teaching private lessons, and at Neighborhood Music at Stanley Marketplace and at the Denver Public School Charter Denver Language School. Her bands, Spherio and TNT are just two of the ensembles she contributes to. We could go on, but let’s just say she’s got the energy, the passion, and the mad skills to represent jazz in our community very well. Congratulations, Tenia Nelson!
Austin has South by Southwest in March – a city-wide showcase of what’s up and coming in music. Aspen has its Ideas Festival in June. And right here on the Front Range, at the University of Colorado Boulder campus, the Conference on World Affairs is in its 75th year of public discussion of current trends and future notions about people, movements and the planet. Jazz has long been an artistic centerpiece, with no let-up, even in this week’s stripped-down three-day version. This Wednesday Victor Mestas brings his Latin Jazz ensemble to accompany the keynote address by the Chancellor Phil DiStefano, and they’ll play at the Wednesday evening gala.
This Thursday, John Gunther, the head of Jazz Studies at the CU College of Music leads an ensemble of faculty, graduates and students, including faculty members Hugh Ragin and Paul McKee, alumna Annie Booth, and guest Harold Summey on drums.
Westword Magazine – Denver’s alternative weekly – is out with its annual “Best of Denver” edition. A few jazz notes from the editors.
- Best Summer Camp for Young Mariachis – the Latino Cultural Arts Center at Rocky Ridge in Estes Park.
- Best Jazz Club – Nocturne, noted for its artist-in-residence series, where players are given six to eight weeks to develop their musical themes and concepts. Nocturne is where you see the “dinner and a show” line on your bill. Nocturne also got the reader’s vote for “Best Food at a Venue.”
- The readers of Westword voted Dazzle as “Best Blues Club.”
- Best Jazz Album – the Annie Booth Sextet’s latest, called “Alpenglow.” It’s all original compositions with a stellar line-up of Colorado musicians, and the project was underwritten by the Doris Duke Foundation and Chamber Music America.
- And the readers choice for Best Talk Show Host – none other than our own Graffiti Johnson!!!!