This week belongs to Neal Cassady, Denver’s contribution to the “Beat Generation” and Jack Kerouac’s companion On the Road. The celebration of Cassady’s life begins with the 11th Cassady Birthday Bash at the Mercury Café that features composer and multi-instrumentalist David Amram and his quartet, poetry and Cassay’s son John. The Bash at the Mercury Cafe kicks off at 8 p.m. on Friday.

In addition to the Birthday Bash, there is also a night at Dazzle at Baur’s on Monday that offers Amram’s evening of chamber music with Amram (who gave a musical voice to the “Beat Generation”) and six chamber-music players, including saxophonist Ken Radnofsky. MAS Eclectic is presenting the evening with Amram and the chamber-music duos– and eclectic Amram certainly is. After all, the composer side of Amram has connected with Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland as well as Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. The Dazzle show is at 7 p.m. on Monday.

You can also catch a showing of a model of a proposed sculpture of Cassady and Kerouac by Sutton Betti planned for Sunny Lawson Field at 23rd and California, a tour of Cassady’s Denver by John Hayden at 3 p.m. on Friday and an exhibit at Denver’s Central Library that will run through March 31. Check the Neal Cassady’s Birthday Bash for details.

Additionally, this week offers the trio of guitarist Wayne Krantz with Keith Carlock and Tim Lefebvre. Krantz has worked/recorded with Steely Dan, Michael Brecker, Chris Potter, Billy Cobham, Carla Bley and others. He also held a longtime Thursday night gig at the 55 Bar in New York. The trio plays at Dazzle on Friday at 6:30 and 9 p.m. Also at Dazzle, there’s a salute to black jazz composers on Sunday at 6:30 and 8 p.m. The “The Ebony Serenade” salute comes from an expanded version of pianist Purnell Steen’s group that has vocals from Myra Warren. Speaking of vocals, Atlanta R&B singer Avery Sunshine, who had a giant hit with “Call My Name,” is at Dazzle on Thursday 6:30 and 9 p.m.

Then, down at Nocturne, on Wednesday, Andrew Vogt pays tribute to saxophonists Gerry Mulligan and Art Pepper with his quartet starting at 6:30 p.m. And keep in mind that on the first Wednesday of the month, pianist Annie Booth leads a big band at the Mercury Café at 7 p.m.

Norman Provizer
Jazz Notes 2-6-2020


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