Jazz Notes 2-5-2015

By Norman Provizer

While February is a month short on days, there’s definitely no shortage of jazz during its 28 days. In fact, this week alone offers a full month’s worth of music when: Medeski, Martin and Wood (MMW) hit the Newman Center on Thursday and Macky Auditorium in Boulder on Friday; guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg pulls into Dazzle on Thursday and Friday; Chilean saxophonist Melissa Aldana visits Dazzle on Saturday; pianist Kevin Hays brings his trio to Dazzle on Sunday; and, to top it all off, pianist Billy Childs makes it to Mount Vernon Country Club on Wednesday with his quartet.

By now, everyone knows the groove sounds of MMW (pianist John Medeski, drummer Billy Martin and bassist Chris Wood, who has ties to Boulder) and for this visit the trio joins forces with the creative, classical musical ensemble Alarm Will Sound. They will be at the University of Denver’s Newman Center, 2344 E. Iliff on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. (303-871-7720), followed by a stop at Macky on the University of Colorado’s Boulder campus on Friday at 7:30 p.m. (303-492-8423). Also on Friday, pianist Vlad Girschevich is at Hampden Hall in the Englewood Civic Center, 1000 Englewood Parkway, for an Englewood Arts concert at 7:30 p.m. (303-806-8196).

Thursday also finds guitarist Kreisberg in town at Dazzle, 930 Lincoln, with, according to the guitarist’s website, his quartet that has Will Vinson on saxophone, Rick Rosato on bass and Colin Stranahan, who grew up in Denver, on drums. Kreisberg has worked with all kinds of folk, including Dr. Lonnie Smith and Lee Konitz. He is on stage at Dazzle on Thursday and Friday at 7 and 9 p.m. and then heads off for a European tour with the quartet (303-839-5100).

When saxophonist Aldana won the Thelonious Monk Institute’s annual jazz competition in 2013, she became the first woman to take the top slot in any of the instrumental categories since the competition began in 1987. A native of Chile, Aldana came to the U.S. in 2006 and graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston in 2009. She visits Dazzle on Saturday at 7 and 9 p.m. with her Crash Trio that has Pablo Menares on bass and the Cuban-born Francisco Mela (who was previously in town with Joe Lovano’s Us Five band) on drums.

Then, on Sunday, pianist Hays brings his New Day Trio to Dazzle at 6 and 8 p.m. That group has Rob Jost on bass and Greg Joseph on drums. Also on Sunday, pianist Ron Jolly and a quartet do “Songs of Love” at the latest Jazz for Jazz Lovers home concert series in Aurora at 4 p.m. (303-400-5288). And after the weekend, the week in music wraps up in superb style on Wednesday when pianist/composer Childs swings by Mount Vernon Country Club, 24933 Club House Circle in Golden with a potent band that has Steve Wilson on saxophone, Jonathan Blake on drums and Austrian-born Hans Glawischnig on bass. At the country club, the music begins at 8 p.m. with a buffet dinner starting at 6 p.m. You can do the food and music or the sounds alone (303-526-0616). Childs is a strong player and beautiful composer – and is up for three Grammy Awards just days before he is at Mount Vernon Country Club.

From Friday through Sunday, there’s also the annual Neal Cassady Birthday Bash, celebrating the life of Denver’s major contribution to the Beat generation who, in Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road is known as Dean Moriarty. On Friday at the Mercury Café, 2199 California, starting at 8 p.m. there’s music from multi-instrumentalist David Amram performing with a quartet along with family members (303-294-9281). On Saturday, there’s a discussion at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop, 1515 Race, from 6 until 8 p.m. Then, on Sunday, there’s a showing of the documentary Neal Cassady, The Denver Years in the McNichols Building at Civic Center Park at 2 p.m. 

Kreisberg’s visit also kicks off a month of serious guitar playing. On Tuesday, Neil Haverstick brings his Stickman’s Microtonal Power Trio to Dazzle at 7 p.m. Haverstick plays guitars that have more tones than you can shake a bundle of sticks at and bassist Ron Bland and drummer Thomas Blomster round out the group. On Wednesday, trombonist Mark Patterson brings his Songbook Quintet to Dazzle at 7 p.m. that features the fine and fluid guitar of Dale Bruning. Trumpeter Greg Gisbert, bassist Ken Walker and drummer Paul Romaine complete the Songbook five.

Sticking to the guitar front, remember that before the month ends, Dazzle will have even more in the way of guitars when Bobby Broom is at the club on Lincoln on Feb. 12-13, followed by Bill Frisell, who is part of the Ron Miles Trio appearing on Feb. 14-15. After Frisell, it’s Leni Stern on Feb. 18 and Julian Lage on Feb. 25-26 with a trio that has Scott Colley on bass and Eric Harland on drums.


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