It’s the season for lots of Holiday music, including trumpeter Etienne Charles with his “Creole Christmas” package, the University of Colorado Thompson School of Music’s Big Band with the classic Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn version of the Nutcracker Suite and the Denver Jazz Orchestra with its salute to “Holiday Jazz.” All of which will be on the stage at Dazzle during the coming seven days.

A native son of Trinidad, Charles provides a true mix of sounds, from Afro-Caribbean and Creole to straight-ahead jazz remember that the trumpeter is a current member of the mighty SF Collective that also includes, Obed Calvaire, David Sanchez, Edward Simon, Adam Rogers, Warren Wolf, Matt Brewer and Martin Luther McCoy).

Charles came to the U.S. in 2002 to attend Florida State University and study with pianist Marcus Roberts. After college, he made the journey to New York in 2006 and also recorded his inaugural disc, reflecting his view that “Jazz is Creole music.” You can hear that for yourself when the trumpeter takes the stage at Dazzle on Monday at 7 pm and Tuesday at 6:30 and 9 pm.

Then, on Wednesday, the big band from Boulder directed by saxophonist John Gunther moves into Dazzle at 6:30 and 9 pm for the Ellington/Strayhorn version of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker originally recorded in 1960. This is a merry romp that you can listen to over and over again.

Another big band take on the Christmas season is also on tap on Thursday with the Denver Jazz Orchestra’s offering of “Holiday Jazz” at Dazzle at 7 pm.

Over at Nocturne on Thursday, trumpeter Greg Gisbert leads his friends through the music at 6:30 and 9 pm while pianist Dawn Clement and saxophonist Anisha Rush take the stage at 11 pm for the late show on Thursday at Nocturne. On Tuesday, Nocturne has a special event with he highly regarded bassist/singer Katie Thiroux with the strong clarinetist Ken Peplowski from 6:30 pm on. That’s quite a pair.

Also keep in sounds at La Cour in Denver, Caffe Sole in Boulder and the new Denver spot for the music, Vine St. Pub. Finally, at the Denver Center For the Performing Arts,  John Leguizamo brings his “Latin History for Morons” to town for one-night only on Wednesday at 7:30, while the engaging “musical,” Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, runs until the 22nd. The much less engaging How the Grinch Stole Christmas is also at DCPA through Sunday.

Norman Provizer Notes


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