A Musical Feast Before Thanksgiving | Norman Provizer's Jazz Notes

Nov 17, 2017

Regina Carter
Credit I Dig Jazz

The simplest way to describe pianist Eddie Palmieri is that he is a true Latin all-star with true jazz sensibilities. After Palmieri’s parents moved from Puerto Rico to the mainland, the pianist was born in Spanish Harlem on December 15, 1936. Growing up in the Bronx, Palmieri spent time with a variety of bands through the 1950s (led by Johnny Segui and Tito Rodriguez) and created his own group, La Perfecta, in 1961. That band recorded its first album in 1962 and some 50 more Palmieri discs have followed right up to Sabiduria (Knowledge) released in 2017.

Palmieri, over time, has received 10 Grammy® and, in 2013, the National Endowment for the Arts recognized his vast talents when it named the pianist/composer/arranger as one of the NEA’s Jazz Masters. He is at Dazzle, 1512 Curtis, with a sextet that has players such as bassist Luques Curtis and percussionist Little Johnny Rivero. Influenced by pianists McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock and Thelonious Monk, Palmieri, who is still celebrating his 80th birthday until this coming December 15, is a superb pianist. He is in town at Dazzle on Thursday and Friday. The sets on Thursday are at 6 and 8:30 p.m. On Friday, the sextet plays at 6:30 and 9 p.m. (303-839-5100).  The outstanding nights of music will also raise money for the Puerto Rican Hurricane Relief Fund

Palmieri fills in two nights of Dazzle’s schedule during the musical week. Along with his appearance, there are two more nights in the week’s schedule that are occupied by the knockout violinist and MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” recipient Regina Carter. Carter is clearly the most recognized violin voice on the scene in the years that followed in the wake of the release of her first album in 1995.  

At Dazzle on Tuesday and Wednesday, Carter has a quintet with Xavier Davis on piano, Chris Lightcap on bass, Marvin Sewell on guitar and  drummer Alvester Garnett all of whom appear on her 2014 disc Southern Comfort and several of whom are on her current CD Ella: Accentuate the Positive, marking the centennial of Ella Fitzgerald’s birth. This outstanding quintet is on stage at 6 and 8:30 p.m. on both evenings.

Also on the tribute front, the Gift of Jazz salutes drummer Buddy Rich on Saturday during the centennial year of his birth. The event at Historic Grant Avenue, 216 S. Grant, is at 4 p.m. and features drummers Todd Reid and Bill Larson along with the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra and its drummer Alan Aluisi. Rich generated a powerhouse sound and used his super technique to drive big bands to impressive heights. And you catch the fever on Saturday.

Back at Dazzle, pianist Purnell Steen and Le Jazz Machine does the music of Cole Porter on Saturday at 6:39 and 9 p.m., while the group GAMEjazz celebrates a new CD on Sunday starting at 5:30 p.m. At Nocturne, 1330 27th St., the late nights sets over the weekend, starting at 11 p.m., feature Drew Morell/Paul Musso Duo on Friday and the Annie Booth Trio on Saturday (303-295-3333).  On Thanksgiving Day eve,  Wednesday Nov. 11th, the Peter Sommer Septet takes stage at Nocturne's, 7-10pm. That, of course, is in addition to Nocturne's full lineup that starts at 7 p.m. five nights a week. And up in Boulder, Caffé Solé, 637R S. Broadway, has the debut of guitarist Alex Heffron’s organ trio on Saturday at 7 p.m. (303-499-2985). 

On a little different front, there is also a 20-year anniversary celebration in town until Tuesday. That item is the musical Rent at the Buell Theater in the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. The musical won numerous Tony Awards in 1996 for its strong representation of the 90s that is both frenetic and somber. Twenty years later, the musical still resonates, especially in its appeal to a younger audience that is drawn to the play (and the 2005 movie based on it) thematically (how do you pay the rent) and to its rock beat. (303-893-4100).

And a final note: Keep in mind that on November 28, the Colorado Music Hall of Fame presents an induction concert honoring “Jazz Masters and Beyond” at the Paramount Theater. The event features performances by members of Earth, Wind and Fire Philip Bailey and Larry Dunn (honoring fellow inductee Andrew  Woolfolk), cornetist Ron Miles, guitarist Bill Frisell, singer Dianne Reeves and her band. There is also a tribute to inductee Charles Burrell and celebration of East High School (303-753-9173).

Comments and submissions: normanprovizer@aol.com

Peter Sommer
Credit Colorado State University