Jazz Notes 4-16-2015   By Norman Provizer

   The UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival presented by Jamey Aebersold is a giant-sized affair with some 250 middle school, high school and college jazz bands on display along with performances by major artists at the Union Colony Civic Center (UCCC). For this year’s affair that runs from Thursday through Saturday, the shows at Union Colony, 1000 10th St. in Greeley, get started with the vocal group Groove For Thought and singer Deborah Brown on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. On Friday, the spotlight moves from singers to big bands with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and the Jazz Festival All Star Big Band on stage at 7:30 p.m.

Then, things wrap up on Saturday with a night of mighty saxophones that has tenor saxophonist Chris Potter playing with the University of Northern Colorado’s award-winning Jazz Lab Band I and alto saxophonist Bobby Watson in the company of pianist Donald Brown, bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Marvin “Smitty” Smith. The latter group’s focus will be on remembering pianists James Williams, Marcus Miller and others (800-315-2787). . And following the concerts at UCCC, there are after-hours shows at the Moxi Theater, 802 9th St. each night with saxophonist Don Aliquo and trumpeter Clay Jenkins returning to Greeley on Friday and Saturday at 10:30 p.m.

In addition to the major artists up in Greeley during the weekend, there’s also the highly engaging and eclectic band Kneebody at Dazzle, 930 Lincoln, on Friday and Saturday at 7 and 9 p.m. (303-839-5100). The group had its origins at the Eastman School of Music; and, since its emergence some 14-years ago, the band has captured considerable national attention. The group’s trumpeter Shane Endsley grew up in Denver, while bassist Kaveh Rastegar spent time in Boulder. Saxophonist Ben Wendel, keyboardist Adam Benjamin and drummer Nate Wood complete the quintet that puts its own spin on jazz. Interestingly, on Friday only, pianist Art Lande joins Kneebody as a special guest. That opens up a lot fascinating musical options.  Additionally, keep in mind that Endsley, Wendel and Benjamin are all on the list of rising stars compiled by DownBeat’s “Critics Poll.”

To hear a different side of the music, the popular, crossover group the Yellowjackets is at the Lone Tree Arts Center, 10075 Commons St. in Lone Tree, on Friday at 8 p.m. (720-509-1000). Over the years, the Yellowjackets have carved out a position as being one of the most substantive groups in the crossover genre. The core of the band is keyboardist Russell Ferrante, drummer William Kennedy and saxophonist Bob Mintzer who have been recently joined by bassist Felix Pastorius. Before he joined the Jackets in 1991, Mintzer played with a number of noted jazz and Latin jazz groups.       

Also, this week, percussionist Ruben Alvarez performs with several groups at the Festival de Tambor at Dazzle on Thursday at 7 p.m. and pianist Annie Booth and her quintet visit the music of Lennie Tristano at Dazzle on Sunday at 7 p.m. On Saturday, the Reid, Oxman, Walker Project is at Nocturne, 1330 27th St., at 6 p.m. (303-295-3333). The spring artist-in-residence lineup at Nocturne kicks in at 9 p.m. with Moderno Afrocubana on stage on Saturdays.

Speaking of artists in residence. The Dazzle version that has a group performing for a month features drummer Marc Dalio, guitarist Dave Devine and vocalist Tania Katz on Thursdays this month at 10:30 p.m. Vocalist Katz is also on stage at Dazzle on Wednesday at 7 p.m. And on Saturday, singer Linda Theus-Lee and her quintet are at Tony P’s, 777 17th St. with the sounds broadcast live on KUVO starting at 10 p.m.


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