Jazz Notes 12-25-2014

By Norman Provizer

   Saxophonist Brad Leali is home for the holidays and that gives all of us a chance to hear the fine alto player when he settles into Dazzle, 930 Lincoln, on Saturday and Sunday with a small, big band that blends visitors to town with several area-based players. From the time he hit the road with the Harry Connick Jr. Orchestra at the end of the 1980s and followed that up with time in the Count Basie Orchestra led by Grover Mitchell, Leali has built a strong reputation both as a player and a jazz educator. And it’s always plus when he returns to where he grew up.           

Among the players traveling in for the date at Dazzle between Christmas and New Year’s are trumpeter Derrick Gardner, pianist Claus Raible (the co-leader of a quartet with Leali) and drummer Alvester Garnett, all of whom can be found on Leali’s 2006, large ensemble CD, Maria Juanez. Among the area-based players, you will find trumpeter Pete Olstad, trombonist Steve Wiest and bassist Ken Walker. It should all make for four potent sets of music. Leali and company, that includes singer Carla Helmbrecht, are on stage at 7 and 9 p.m. on Saturday and 6 and 8 p.m. on Sunday (303-839-5100).           

On Friday, bassist Walker pays his regular, monthly visit to Dazzle with his sextet at 7 and 9 p.m. And leading into New Year’s, the master, modern-blues man Otis Taylor is at Dazzle on Tuesday at 6 and 8 p.m. On Wednesday, New Year’s Eve, Taylor is back at Dazzle for a pre-gala show at 6:30 p.m. followed by another set at 9 p.m. with pianist Adam Bodine’s trio also on stage starting at 8:30 p.m. Tickets for both sets by the monster blues player and singer include dinner.           

Also on New Year’s Eve, the Denver Marriott Tech Center, 4900 S. Syracuse St., has its big party to welcome in 2015 in crossover style with Dotsero and Soul School, emceed by Becky Taylor (877-303-0104), while singer Lannie Garrett brings in the New Year with her big band plus the Justin Adams Trio at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret, 1601 Arapahoe (303-293-0075).                 

Some other sounds on tap for the week include, trumpeter Kenny Warren (a Denver native know in Brooklyn) with a trio that has Dave Devine on guitar and Matt Houston on drums at Dazzle on Monday at 7 p.m. Warren has played with folks such saxophonist Tony Malaby and the Slavic Soul Party. On Sunday, there’s another in the Jazz for Jazz Lovers house-party series at 4 p.m. This edition features pianist Frederic Desmoulins and a quartet plus singer Julie Monley doing “Jobim and Beyond: The Brazilian and European Influence on American Jazz” (303-400-5288). On Tuesday, singer Georgann Low is at La Cour, 1643 S. Broadway, at 7 p.m. (303-777-5000), while on Thursday, Christmas day, crossover saxophonist Tony Exum Jr. is at Jazz at Jacks, 500 16th St. (#320), at 8 p.m. (303-433-1000).            

On a final note: If you are at home for New Year’s Eve, you can catch the sound of jazz to bring in 2015 on KUVO’s broadcast of National Public Radio’s annual Toast of the Nation evening that runs from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. The sounds come from saxophonist Donald Harrison, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and singers Dee Alexander and Gretchen Parloto. Parloto, by the way, is one of singers nominated for a Grammy in the jazz vocal album category. Her nominated CD is Live in New York.

The others are: Tierney Sutton for her Paris Sessions; Billy Childs and guests for the music of Laura Nyro disc called Map the Treasure; Rene Marie’s Eartha Kitt tribute I Want to Be Evil; and Dianne Reeves’ Beautiful Life. Of the five voices in the race, two have Denver connection – Reeves who grew up in the city and still lives here and Marie who called Denver home for a number of years.


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