A recurring theme in this column is the chance listeners here have to hear not only many of the major names in the music, but also many of the newer players and their groups. This coming week, for example, saxophonist Dayna Stephens and his trio Liberty are at Dazzle on Wednesday, February 26, with sets at 6:30 and 9 p.m.

Rising star tenor saxophonist on the scene. In addition to the tenor, Stephens plays all of the other members of the saxophone family, including the EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument).

Back in 2009, the saxophonist found himself on kidney dialysis that limited his travel beyond New York until he received a transplant in 2015. Since then, his recognition nationwide has sky rocketed. Along with his own discs, such as the 2017 Gratitude, Stephens has worked with an impressive list of players, including a host of pianists such as Kenny Barron, Brad Mehldau, Billy Childs, Fred Hersch, Muhal Richard Abrams, Aaron Parks and Gerald Clayton.

At Dazzle, the saxophonist has Harish Raghavan on bass and Kweku Sumbry (in place of Eric Harland) on drums.

Speaking of pianists, this week also finds keyboardist Aaron Goldberg coming to Dazzle tonight, Thursday, February 20 at 6:30 and 9 p.m. to kick off the musical week with his trio that has Dean Torrey on bass and Mark Whitfield Jr. (you guessed it, the son of guitarist Mark Whitfield) on drums. Goldberg can also be found on DownBeat’s rising star list of pianists and has spent time with Joshua Redman, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Wynton Marsalis. The pianist went from Boston to New York and the New School and then returned to Boston and Harvard. He graduated from Harvard with an interdisciplinary degree in the Mind, Brain, and Behavior and also put in time with singer Betty Carter and her famed training ground for young players.

His impressive, overall, list of achievements also includes a graduate degree from Tufts University in philosophy.

Also coming up this week is also a time to Mardi Gras with the No Hands Brass Band (out of Denver) at Dazzle on Fat Tuesday, February 25 starting at 6:30 p.m. The nine-member brass band provides the sounds for the party that takes you south to New Orleans.

Additionally, Dazzle hosts the Denver Jazz Orchestra on Friday at 7 p.m., Miguel Espinoza and Flamenco Fusion at 7 p.m. (followed by the Day Trippers at 9:30 p.m.) on Saturday, folk-style singer Josephine Foster on Sunday at 5 p.m. (sponsored by MAS Eclectic) and the “Brass Band Battle” with groups from the Denver School for the Arts and Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts starting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday.

There’s also a Mardi Gras party at Nocturne with the Tom Amend Quintet and a celebration of the great pianist Joe Bonner on Friday by the Dave Corbus group at Boulder’s Caffe Sole on Friday.

Norman Provizer
Jazz Notes 2-20-2020

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