June Blooms with Joyous Jazz | Norman Provizer's Jazz Notes

Jun 8, 2018

The great Denver raised guitarist Bill Frisell performs on Wednesday with his trio, consisting of bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Rudy Royston. That trio plays the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St. in Boulder, at 8 p.m. on Wednesday (303-786-7030). Born in Baltimore in 1951, Frisell grew up in Denver and attended East High School. As the 1980s began, Frisell began his connection to the ECM label, releasing his first disc as a leader on ECM in 1983. Over the next 35 years, Frisell would release scores of albums on the ECM, Nonesuch, Savoy and Okeh labels. In Denver, Frisell learned jazz guitar from Dale Bruning – a player who is still an important voice on the area scene. 

Frisell has a sweeping sense of American music and leads a variety of groups in the pursuit of his vision. And, in doing that, he has emerged the top-guitar choice, on a regular basis, by critics in the annual DownBeat “Critics Poll.” Like Frisell, drummer Royston also grew up in Denver and has received a great deal of attention since moving east. Bassist Morgan completes the trio and is on a superb, live, duo recording with Frisell recorded at the Village Vanguard.   

After Frisell, there are plenty of additional sounds as well. On Saturday, for example, an event called Central Jazz revives the Central City Jazz Festival that ended in 1992. Sponsored by a number of groups including KUVO and Dazzle, Central Jazz begins at 11 a.m. and just keeps on going in New Orleans style with Dragon Smoke (that has drummer Stanton Moore and Ian Neville), the NOLA Central All-Stars (with two Nevilles and George Porter Jr.), the Adam Deitch Jazz Quartet and much more (centraljazz.co). Saturday also offers up a free jam session at Brother Jeff’s Cultural Center, 2836 Welton, starting at 7 p.m. led by drummer Tom Tilton and featuring Vince Williams on flute and many others, all musicians are invited to join the jam session.

On Sunday, pianist Eric Gunnison, who spent many years with Carmen McRae and has worked with the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band and singer Roberta Gambarini, explores “Inspirations” in a bow to Keith Jarrett’s famed Kohn concert disc. Jarrett carried the idea of a solo-piano concert to new heights, exhibited on numerous albums, including the four-disc A Multitude of Angels set on ECM that Jarrett calls the “pinnacle” of his long-form excursions. Gunnison plays a fund-raiser for the Gift of Jazz organization at Classic Pianos, 1332 S. Broadway, at 3 p.m. on Sunday. You can get a taste of his “Inspirations” on Thursday from 11:30 a.m. until noon on KUVO.

Also at Dazzle, there’s “Other Black” and the album Love from Wesley Watkins at 9 p.m. on Friday. That follows singer Myra Warren’s “What a Difference a Day Makes” set at 6:30 p.m. Taking that title from a song originally written in Spanish and made popular by Dinah Washington tells you something about Warren who frequently works with pianist Purnell Steen. On Sunday, Dazzle has G.A.M.E Jazz with singer Jan Cleveland, Doug Roche-piano, Ron Bland-bass and Don Grove on drumsand on Tuesday, guitarist Connor Terrones is there at 6:30 p.m. Also on Sunday, bassist Paul Warburton and pianist Art Lande do the duo thing at Treppeda’s, 300 2nd Ave. in Niwot, at 6:30 p.m. (303-652-1606).

And remember, there is jazz almost every night at Nocture, 1330 27th St., including keyboardist Tom Amend’s quintet taking a Maiden Voyage through the music of Herbie Hancock on Wednesday at 7 p.m. (303-295-3333).  The same is true at La Cour Art Bar, 1643 S. Broadway, that has drummer Clare Church on Friday at 7 p.m. and Terri Jo Jenkins and Jeff Jenkins on Saturday at 7 p.m. (303-777-5000). Also, at Caffe Sole in Boulder, 637R S. Broadway, you can frequently find the music, like Neil Bridge and Karen Lee’s “Quintessence” on Friday at 7 p.m. (303-499-2985).  

Lastly, City Park Jazz keeps going on Sunday with violinist Katie Glassman and Snapshot at 6 p.m. and also keep in mind Aug. 11 when KUVO takes over the Balistreri Vineyards for its annual fund-raiser, featuring the Spanish Harlem Orchestra.

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Bill Frisell