October is just around the corner and it kicks off in style with visits from bassist/singer Katie Thiroux and pianist Danilo Pérez plus a 97th birthday celebration for bassist Charles Burrell.
Burrell, of course, is one of the giants on Denver music scene who can be accurately described by the title of Chico Hamilton’s 1964 album Man from Two Worlds.” He was among the earliest African-American musicians to play in an American symphony and he was a regular in clubs displaying his jazz chops. On the symphony front, Burrell started with the Denver Symphony went to the San Francisco Symphony and then returned to Denver where he played the classics until his retirement. Burrell would be something special even if he didn’t introduce his niece Dianne Reeves to jazz. The birthday celebration is on Wednesday, from 11:30a until 12:30p hosted by KUVO Jazz’s Music Director Arturo Gómez and featuring a special video presentation by donnie l. betts. It’s at Dazzle, 1512 Curtis (303-839-5100). On Thursday, October 5th, La Cour Art Bistro and Jazz Cabaret honors Charles Burrell too with pianist Ellyn Rucker and bassist Ken Walker offering their tribute in music. La Cour is located at 1643 S. Broadway-Denver. 303 777-5000.
Later on Wednesday, Dazzle offers up another treat when pianist Danilo Pérez celebrates the centennial of Thelonious Monk’s birth at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Back in 1996, the Panamanian-born keyboardist generated a superb disc titled PanaMonk. that provides the basis for his current celebration of 100 years of Monk. Joining in on the celebration are Pérez’s longtime trio mates, bassist Ben Street and drummer Adam Cruz. One of the great things about hearing working bands is that they often contain sidemen and women who I would go to see on their own. Both Street and Cruz are players who fall into that category.
Pérez landed in the U.S. in 1991 working with Dizzy Gillespie’s UN Orchestra and a host of other folk. In 2000, he joined Wayne Shorter’s mighty quartet that also features Brian Blade on drums and John Patitucci on bass. Interestingly, the quartet’s rhythm section is also a knockout trio called Children of the Light. And speaking of trios, on November 7-8, Dazzle has Blade on stage with bassist Scott Colley and pianist Edward Simon in a threesome named Steel House.
On Tuesday, the day before the Burrell birthday celebration and the Pérez trio at Dazzle, Nocturne has bassist/singer Thiroux on stage with pianist Steven Feifke and drummer Matt Witek (who is on her new CD from Capri Records, Off Beat). In the wake of her debut album in 2015, Thiroux gained a great deal of attention with her varied repertoire and easy swing. She hits Nocturne, 1330 27th St., at 7 p.m. and plays until 10:30 p.m. (303-295-3333). Earlier on Tuesday, she performs live at KUVO from 1 p.m. until 2 p.m.
Moving back to Dazzle, the club in the historic Baur’s Building has Ritmo Jazz Latino sextet (Walter Barr, Francisco Mejias, Gonzalo Teppa, Christine Barbosa, Howard Hernández and Peter Ellingson) on stage at 9 p.m., followed by the Ken Walker Sextet on Friday at 6:30 and 9 p.m. Guitarist Hiroya Tsukamoto does Friday lunch at Dazzle starting at 11 a.m. and on Saturday, it’s saxophonist Nelson Rangell with his regular trio, Eric Gunnison, Eduardo “Bijoux” Barbosa and Mike Marlier at 6:30 and 9 p.m.
Sunday finds saxophonist Josh Quinlan, who has settled in Costa Rica, back in town with a trio (with Matt Smiley and Ed Breazeale) at 6 p.m. On Tuesday, Dazzle has several high school bands (Quincy Ave. Rhythm Band, Chatfield Jazz Band 1 and the Kent Denver Jazz Combo) starting at 5:30 p.m.
Meanwhile Nocturne’s current jazz residency program has trumpeter Ryan Fourt Smokin’ at the Half Note with a quartet on Thursdays; the group Echoverse doing the music of Radiohead on Fridays; the hard bopping Open Source Ensemble on Saturdays; and the Double Drumming version of Money Jungle on Wednesdays. There are also late night shows on Fridays and Saturdays at 11 p.m. with, for example, trumpeter Gabriel Mervine and pianist Vlad Girshevich on tap for Friday. And over at the Newman Center at the University of Denver, 2344 E. Iliff, the interesting duo Black Violin that blend classical, R&B and hip-hop is on stage on Thursday and Friday at 7:30 (303-871-7720).
There are two final notes. First, the new main stage at Dazzle is now up and running and after hearing two groups perform on it, I can say the sound is terrific. Second, I frequently talk about how Denver’s jazz scene is a strong one. In line with that, the pre-Broadway run of the musical Frozen ends on Sunday. This is the first time a show headed for Broadway has held its previews here and that’s a testament to the city’s theater scene. Though the play may be a little darker than some might expect, the transition of the enormously successful film to the stage works in large part because the Broadway-bound musical tells its own tale rather than attempting to be a carbon copy of the movie that brought in some $1.2 billion dollars. Now it’s time to “Let It Go.”
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