Jazz Notes 1-1-2015
By Norman Provizer

A good way to start off the New Year is with a hefty dose of ballads and blues – and that’s exactly what’s on tap at Dazzle on Friday and Saturday when tenor saxophonist Houston Person takes the stage at the club on Lincoln at 7 and 9 p.m.  Born in South Carolina just a little over 80-years ago, Person developed his chops while in the military stationed in Germany where he played with folk such as fellow saxophonists Eddie Harris, Lanny Morgan and Leo Wright, pianist Cedar Walton and drummer Lex Humphries. Back in the states, he cultivated a growing affinity for organ groups, working with the likes of Jimmy McGriff and Shirley Scott, as well as recording under his own name. Given Person’s orientation toward a full-toned, R&B-influenced sound, not to mention his facility with ballads and blues, the organ connection made perfect sense. 

In 1968, he also began what would turn into a on-going, three-decade-long partnership with singer Etta Jones (who, too, was a South Carolina native) until her death in 2001. 

Person’s current CD on the High Note label is titled The Melody Lingers On, with an appropriate emphasis on beautiful melodies. And we are back to ballads and blues. In the liner notes to the disc, Person says, “I don’t ever want to forget my audience. They’re people like me who want to relax and enjoy themselves. I just want to bring back a few memories, and add a few touches to things they’ve heard, introduce to them to some things they haven’t heard, and try to present the music in away they get it.” That’s a pretty good description of what you can expect at Dazzle, 930 Lincoln, when Person hits the stage on Friday and Saturday with pianist Jeff Jenkins, bassist Ken Walker and drummer Paul Romaine (303-839-5100). 

Also on Friday, you can dance to a different kind of drummer when the Dirty Dozen Brass Band moves its second-line fun into Cervantes, 2637 Welton, at 9 p.m. (303-297-1772). Then, on Sunday, pedal steel player Glenn Taylor brings his Honky Tonk Channel quartet to Dazzle at 7 p.m., doing what the name of the group implies. 

On Tuesday, Dazzle continues its classical series with a look at “Jazz in Classical Music” with compositions from Ravel, Copland, Gershwin and others. And on Wednesday, Comotion hits Dazzle with singers Bailey Grogen and Kaitlyn Williams exploring jazz tunes with a quartet at 7 p.m. Also, on Thursday at 6 p.m., singer Teresa Carroll is at the Golden Hotel, 800 11th St. in Golden, with a quartet (303-279-0100).
Looking ahead: Guitarist Bill Frisell returns to East High School, his alma mater, for a concert to benefit East’s music scholarship fund with his Guitar in the Space Age! band that features pedal-steel player Greg Leisz and the mighty rhythm section of bassist Tony Scheer and drummer Kenny Wollesen on January 21 at 7:30 p.m. (ticketfly.com). The Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts and Dazzle are sponsoring this concert that you will not want to miss.  

Then, on January 22, Mount Vernon Country Club kicks off its winter jazz series with a band that should generate enough heat to keep you warm through any cold-winter night, The M.F. Productions Latin Jazz All Stars with Steve Turre, Yosvany and Junior Terry, Diego Lopez, Chembo Corniel and Elio Villafranca. The series continues on February 11 with pianist Billy Childs’ and his quartet, followed on March 11 by saxophonist David Sanchez. Guitarist John Abercrombie wraps up the very strong series on April 8 (303-526-0616).

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