Jazz Notes

Mar 14, 2014


CD Release event Sunday night at Dazzle
Not too long ago, the Canadian pianist/composer Renee Rosnes was in Denver, performing at Dazzle. This week, it’s Renee’s husband, pianist Bill Charlap, who visits Denver for a two-night stand at Dazzle, 930 Lincoln, on Thursday and Friday. Of course, if the two pianists had been in town together, they could have revisited their duo Double Portrait CD on Blue Note. But, instead, Charlap is in town with his trio that has David Wong on bass and Kenny Washington on drums. When the New York-born Charlap formed a trio in 1997, he had two Washingtons with him, Kenny on drums and Peter on bass. That trio recorded a number of discs and Kenny is still on tap. 

Over the years Charlap has worked in a variety of jazz contexts, including time as the music director for the highly talented Blue Note 7 band organized to celebrate the 70th anniversary of that famed jazz label. Charlap is simply a top-shelf player and he is on stage at Dazzle at 7 and 9 p.m. on both nights ($28 for the 7 p.m. set/$22 for the 9 p.m. set/$15 for students at 9 p.m. on Thursday, 303-839-5100). 

When Charlap leaves the club on Lincoln, guitarist Rory Stuart moves in on Saturday with a quartet that has Erik Wheeler on bass, Eric Gunnison on piano and Colin Stranahan on drums. Stranahan is among the newer generation of players who were raised in Denver and have gone on to make a mark on the national jazz scene. The native New Yorker Stuart spent a number of years living in Boulder where he was part of the Denver-area scene, working saxophonist Billy Tolles, pianist Joel Keel, Al “Hammond” Moore and others. He has a new CD out titled that displays his fresh and energetic music. The Stuart four perform at 7 and 9 p.m. ($20/$12 for students at 9 p.m.). 

On Sunday, the fine, area-based clarinetist Dexter Payne is at Dazzle to celebrate his new CD, Pra Voce, with his Brazilian band which features Bill Kooper on guitar, Dave Willey on accordion, Victor Mestas Perez on keyboards and Raoul Rossiter on drums and percussion. Before the quintet is at Dazzle on Sunday at 7 p.m. ($12), it celebrates the CD’s release in Boulder at Caffe Sole, 637R S. Broadway, on Thursday night at 7 p.m. (303-499-2985).   

Also on Sunday, the Gift of Jazz’s “Blind Tiger” series continues with violinist Katie Glassman and Snapshot putting its jazz flavored western swing in the table at Charcoal, 43 W. 9th Ave. starting at 3 p.m. Along with the music, there’s also food on the table ($50, giftofjazz.org for reservations). And on Tuesday, the Denver School of the Arts takes us back to 1588.  Not really, but it’s just hard to resist thinking of the defeat of the Spanish Armada by England that year when you are writing about a group called the Drum Set Armada. Come to think of it, this drum-heavy band might well be able to create the percussive sounds of a naval battle. It is on stage at Dazzle at 7 p.m. ($10).&

 Before too long, April will be here. So keep in mind that on April 3-5, guitarist Earl Klugh brings his annual Weekend of Jazz to the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs (866-837-9520). This year, the very popular event has Gregory Porter in the lineup. Singer Porter has taken the jazz world by storm: registering a win in the latest DownBeat “Critics Poll” as rising-star jazz artist and rising-star male vocalist. In fact, Porter garnered almost has many votes in the vocal category as the next four singer combined.         Then on April 24-26, the UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival is back with a lineup that includes saxophonist Wayne Shorter and his mighty quartet (800-315-2787). In the current “Critics Poll,” Shorter pulled down wins as top jazz artist of the year, the top jazz group, the top jazz album and the top soprano saxophonist. Not a bad year at all. When you combine these events with the other players coming to town in April, you can forget about Paris.