In a letter to the editor published in the April issue of DownBeat, KUVO-Jazz’s Arturo Gómez, who came to town from Miami, makes the point that Miami’s spot in the magazine’s list of the best cities for jazz really ought to belong to Denver. This week in live music simply reinforces Arturo’s point.
During the coming week at Dazzle, for example, you can get a taste of three different sides of the music when singer Veronica Swift comes to the club on Saturday with the Benny Green Trio, the Sun of Goldfinger band with saxophonist Tim Berne, guitarist David Torn, and drummer Ches Smith hits the stage there on Sunday and trumpeter Tom Harrell does the same on Wednesday. The variety of the jazz sounds presented by the club in the historic Baur’s building is truly dazzling.
Pianist Green, who spent time as a Jazz Messenger, is a strong player whose current CD Then and Now features vocalist Swift. Now in her mid-20s, Swift took the 2nd slot in the 2015 Thelonious Monk jazz vocal competition. The daughter of the late pianist Hod O’Brien and singer Stephanie Nakasian, has been an artist appearing at the Telluride Jazz Festival on numerous occasions, including a headliner spot in 2016. She is definitely one of the up-and-coming female vocalists on the scene today. She and Green (along with bassist David Wong and drummer Aaron Kimmel) play at Dazzle, 1512 Curtis, on Saturday at 6:30 and 9 p.m. (303-839-5100).
The following night, the music at Dazzle shifts gears into the avant-garde with an appearance by the Sun of Goldfinger trio made up of saxophonist Berne, guitarist Torn and drummer Smith. The Goldfingers have a new disc out on ECM Records and their attack takes place on Sunday at 7 p.m. Berne and Torn are long established figures on the scene, while Smith (who was at Dazzle with his trio late this past year as part of the club’s string of ECM artists) is gaining increased recognition. This is going to be an adventurous night of music from the far side.
Then on Wednesday, trumpeter Harrell begins his two-night visit to Dazzle with his quartet that has his frequent compatriots Danny Grissett on piano, Ugonna Okegwo on bass and Jonathan Blake on drums. After graduating from Stanford University, the Illinois native, Harrell hit the road with the Stan Kenton Orchestra and Woody Herman’s big band. During the 1970s, he was with Horace Silver; and through most of the 1980s, he was a key player in the Phil Woods Quintet. He has continued with his own groups and is a modern-day trumpet master. His latest disc is a quintet offering on HighNote titled Infinity. At Dazzle, he plays on Wednesday and March 21 at 6:30 and 9 p.m.
Additionally, this week finds Hammond B-3 player Tony Monaco returning to Nocturne, 1330 27th St. starting at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday (303-295-3333). The popular B-3 man has Dave Corbus on guitar and Mike Marlier on drums. Monaco is often on the bill at the Vail Jazz Festival and on his current disc The Definition of Insanity, he swings insanely. Also, on Thursday, guitarist Corey Christiansen is at Nocturne with a trio at 6:30 p.m. and singer Linda Maich salutes Abbey Lincoln at Dazzle at 6:30 p.m. And on Friday area–based master Rich Chiaraluce hooks up with bassist Paul Warburton in a quartet at Dazzle at 7 p.m.
Keep in mind that on March 27, Betty Buckley comes to town in the musical Hello Dolly at the Buell Theater in the Denver Performing Arts Center and the “slap-stick” British comedy The Play That Goes Wrong that keeps people laughing wraps up at that Buell on Sunday.
At the venue deserving of wider recognition, the Muse Performance Space in Lafayette presents the provocative Spherio Trio: Tenia Nelson-piano, Bob Songster-bass and Andreas Schmid on drums playing the music of Thelonious Monk on Saturday, 7-9pm. Sunday evening at the Muse, the Big Swing Trio plus one becomes the Clan O'Jazz Quartet to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with swingin' jazz blended with Irish sensibilities, Andy Weyl-piano, Mark Diamond-bass, Paul Romaine-drums, and Mark Klagstad-guitar, they play from 5 until 6:30 pm. Their performance will be followed by the best jam session along the Front Range led by Brad Goode and Pete Lewis from 7 pm 'til 10 pm. The Muse Performance Space is owned and operated by musicians, it has a better than average piano and outstanding acoustics. It is located at 200 E. South Boulder Road, Lafayette, 80026.
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