On Thursday, pianist Stu MacAskie brings a quartet to Dazzle at 7 pm that includes a special guest – trumpeter Scott Wendholt. Like guitarist Bill Frisell, Wendholdt was born in Maryland and then migrated west to Denver where he was raised. One of the items that continues to fascinate me is just how many jazz players connected to the Mile High Town in modern times play trumpet and|or cornet. You might have thought the 5280-foot altitude might have convinced all of them to take up some other instrument – like the guitar.

But the reality is quite different. Wendholt landed in Indiana for college and hang around that part of the country for a spell before landing in New York in the late 1980s. Once in New York, he found a musical home with a variety of players from Chris Botti to Vincent Herring, and with big bands from Toshiko Akiyoshi’s Orchestra to the Woody Herman, Herd, the Buddy Rich Band, Maria Schneider’s Orchestra, the Carnegie Hall Big Band, and the long history with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. He also co-leads a quartet with saxophonist Adam Kolker.

He’s an area-raised player who moved on to the Apple and wide recognition and is back in town on Thursday.

Of course, given my mention of the hard-blowing horn connected here, I should mention here some of the most prominent names: Ron Miles; Hugh Ragin; Brad Goode; Kirk Knuffke; Nate Wooley; Pete Olstad; Bob Montgomery.

Another player to mention this week is saxophonist John Gunther who will be at the Muse Performance Space in Lafayette on Friday with his ABC Trio. A player with diverse skills, Gunther’s quartet version of the trio has Art Lande on piano, Bill McCrossen on bass, and Clare Church on drums. Lande, too, is one of the nationally recognized players who has settled in the Denver/Boulder area. And that’s a major plus on the area’s jazz scorecard.

Jazz Notes 6-3-2021
Norman Provizer

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