Recently, the great drummer Brian Blade was on stage at Dazzle as part of bassist Jeff Denson’s trio. This week Blade is back with his band Life Cycles, a septet tat has its origins back at the start of the 21st century. The core of the group is made up of three members of Blade’s Fellowship Band (one of my favorite bands around). The three are Blade pianist Jon Cowherd and saxophonist Myron Walden. Additionally, the group has Doug Weiss on bass, Monte Croft on vibraphone, John Hart on guitar and Rigerio Boccato on percussion.
While the group came together in 2001, it never recorded back then. People had to wait until now to hear the group on disc with its Life Cycles, Volume 1 CD on Stoner Hill Records. Whatever the context, Blade is an extraordinary musician who you never want to miss. With Life Cycles, he explores music by group members along with the sounds of vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, especially the vibist’s Now! album recorded in 1969.
Blade and company are on stage at Dazzle, 1512 Curtis, on Monday and Tuesday at 6:30 and 9 p.m. To get a taste of the music, you can catch the band in a live broadcast from KUVO Jazz on Monday at 6:30 p.m.
The night after Blade’s appearance, the stage at Dazzle is occupied by another top-notch band called Broken Shadows with Tim Berne on alto saxophone and Chris Speed on tenor saxophone. The two, highly creative reedmen, combined with the Bad Plus’ rhythm section of bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King, honor the legacy of Ornette Coleman and Coleman’s fellow Forth Worth saxophonists Dewey Redman and Julius Hemphill. The band, which came together in 2017, is named for a noted Coleman composition “Broken Shadows.” The combination of Berne and Speed with the Bad Plus guys on Wednesday at 7 p.m. (and Sept. 26 at 6:30 and 9 p.m.) should produce a little walk on the wild side with a groove to spare.
Also, on Thursday and Friday at Dazzle, the New York-base, Philly-born singer, genre-bending singer Bilal is on stage at 8 p.m. on Thursday and 7 and 9:30 p.m. on Friday. The funk/jazz/hip-hop/R&B singer, who has worked with Robert Glasper, Kendrick Lamar and Common to name a few, has his own trio on hand at Dazzle.
On the home front, saxophonist/flutist Nelson Rangell is at Dazzle on Saturday at 6 and 8:30 p.m. with longtime quartet that has Eric Gunnison on piano, Bijoux Barbosa on bass and Mike Marlier on drums. Known as a GRP-style crossover player, Rangell, who is part of a very musical Denver family, was part of the GRP Big Band and performed with the Gil Evans Orchestra. Singer JoFoKe is also at Dazzle with Matt Butler for a benefit show on Sunday at 6 p.m.
And over at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California, the Joe Policastro Trio lands from Chicago to play on Friday at 7 p.m. (303-294-9258).
Lastly, this week brings the final performances of the Madame Butterfly-inspired Broadway musical Miss Saigon to the Buell Theatre at Denver Performing Arts Complex. The compelling Cameron Mackintosh production first opened in England in 1989 and on Broadway in 1991 and the touring company continues to show the power of a country that is willing to look not only at its success but also at its moral failings in a world filled with paradoxes. The run at the Buell ends on Sunday (720-865-4220).