Two very different pianists are visiting town and performing at Dazzle, 930 Lincoln, this week. The first is Freddy Cole, who, of course, is best known for his deep and smoky vocals. But like his famed, older brother Nat “King” Cole, Freddy is also a pianist of substance who landed in New York in 1951 and went to Julliard before gaining a Master’s degree from the New England Conservatory of Music. And on the vocal front, the younger Cole released his first single The Joke’s on Me back in 1952. In more recent years, Cole has released a number of discs on the High Note label, including, most recently, Singing the Blues.
Cole, a native of Chicago who settled in Atlanta in the early 1970s, is joined at Dazzle on Thursday and Friday by guitarist Randy Napoleon, bassist Elias Bailey and drummer Quentin Baxter. Bailey and Baxter, of course, have also visited town as part of singer Rene Marie’s band. The sets on both evenings are at 7 and 9 p.m. (303-839-5100).
Then, on Saturday, the music turns in a more outside direction when pianist Matthew Shipp takes the stage at Dazzle with bassist Michael Bisio for a duo outing sponsored by Creative Music Works. Shipp, like trumpeter Clifford Brown, is a native of Wilmington, Delaware. He went to the New England Conservatory of Music for a spell in 1983-84 and then settled in New York where he became a noted member of saxophonist David Ware’s quartet and Roscoe Mitchell’s Note Factory group. Speaking of saxophonist Mitchell, it’s worth remembering that trumpeter Hugh Ragin, who lives here, spent considerable time with the saxophonist whose name is so closely associated with the Art Ensemble of Chicago, along with performing and recording with saxophonist David Murray. This is just a reminder that Ragin is among the most important trumpet players who moved the music in a push-the-envelope direction. .
Back to Shipp, when he first arrived in New York, he began a long musical relationship with bassist William Parker. More recently, his affinity for the bass has taken the form of duets with Bisio, who has been part of the pianist’s trio for some time. Shipp is a potent player who can move from Duke to way beyond. It should be one powerful night of music. The sets on Saturday are at 7 and 9 p.m.
The musical week ends on Wednesday with another visitor to Dazzle, saxophonist Hashem Assadullahi from New York. Originally from Texas, Assadullahi spent time in the Pacific Northwest before going east. On his two discs, Strange Neighbor and Pieces, the saxophonist has players from the Pacific Northwest plus Ron Miles. Cornetist/trumpeter Miles will be with the saxophonist at Dazzle along with an area-based rhythm section at 7 p.m. Also on Wednesday, the majestic New Orleans piano professor and singer Henry Butler is back in town for a sold-out evening at Nocturne, 1330 27th St., starting at 7 p.m. Butler, who developed close ties to Colorado in the wake of Katrina represents the very best of the Crescent City sound (303-295-2333).
Additionally, Joe Smith with the Spicy Pickles offer a free, CD release party at Baur’s Listening Lounge, 1512 Curtis, on Monday at 7:30 p.m. (baursmagic.com). Next week, Smith will be part of the 2nd annual Denver Vintage Jazz Festival that runs July 31-August 2 in Northglenn (303-883-6691). And when it comes to a festival with a vintage take to the music, you don’t have to wait until next week. On Friday through Sunday, the Evergreen Jazz Festival fills several venues in Evergreen with sounds from groups such as the New Black Eagle Jazz Band, Nicki Parrot and Friends, Lost Weekend Western Swing Band, Felonius Smith Trio, Carl Sonny Leyland Trio, Queen City Jazz Band with Wende Harston and many others. The music begins on noon on Friday and ends with closing sets at 5:15 p.m. on Sunday (evergreenjazz.org).
Back to Dazzle, on Sunday the fine guitarist Dale Bruning continues his summer, trio series at the cub at 7 p.m. with Miles on cornet and Mark Simon on bass. On Monday, trumpeter Rafael Castillo-Halvorssen has a quintet at Dazzle at 7 p.m., while drummer Shilo Stroman takes a jazz look at 90s Grunge at Dazzle on Tuesday at 7 p.m. And before you know it, the Telluride Jazz Festival will be taking place on July 31-August 2 (telluridejazz.org) while KUVO’s big 30th birthday celebration at Balistreri Vineyards with Dianne Reeves and Kevin Mahogany occurs on August 8.
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