There are a lot of opportunities to appreciate jazz during the current week of Jazz Appreciation Month. Here are the highlights. First up is guitarist Earl Klugh’s Weekend of Jazz at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. This is the 15th year of the weekend of crossover jazz organized by the acoustic guitarist and company that usually sells out the 1,100 seats at the famed hotel/resort’s International Center. This year’s lineup includes: singer Vanessa Williams; pianist Bob James and his trio (with drummer Billy Kilson and bassist Michael Palazzolo); the West Coast Jam with trumpeter Rick Braun, guitarist Norman Brown and saxophonist Richard Elliot; and Klugh’s band on the main stage. Additionally, the event also has guitarist Peter White, saxophonist Vincent Ingala, singer Lindsay Wagner and Al Turner. The music starts on Thursday with the main concerts on Friday and Saturday nights (weekendofjazz.com). In 1980, Klugh and pianist James won a Grammy for their album One on One. So you just might think there will be a reunion.
On Sunday, you will need to put your decision making skills to work when the Branford Marsalis Quartet is at the Arts Center in Parker (PACE) while the Brad Mehldau Trio is at the Boulder Theater in Boulder. Saxophonist Marsalis leads one of the strongest groups in the music (or, as the title of his current CD puts it, Four MFs Playin’ the Tunes). The band has Joey Calderazzo on piano, Eric Revis on bass and Justin Faulkner on drums and it hits the stage at the Parker Arts Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Ave. in Parker, at 7:30 p.m. (303-805-6800). That same evening at 8 p.m., the highly regarded pianist Mehldau has his trio (with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard) at the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St. (303-786-7030).
If this was all there was going on, it would, as they say, have been enough. But there’s more. On Saturday at Dazzle, 1512 Curtis, the impressive guitarist Lionel Loueke, originally from Benin in West Africa, is on stage with his trio. Loueke, like so many great, young musicians from across the globe came to Boston to study at the Berklee College of Music. Before too long, you could find him in he bands of trumpeter Terence Blanchard and Herbie Hancock; and, in 2008 he released his first disc on the Blue Note label. He connected with his band mates in the trio (also known as Gilfema) while all were students at Berklee. It’s an international affair with drummer Ferene Nemeth originally from Hungary and bassist Massimo Biolcati from Sweden. The group plays at 6:30 and 9 p.m. (303-839-5100).
And it’s still not over. On Friday, the master clarinetist (including the contra alto version of the instrument) Ben Goldberg brings his band the Orphic Machine to town for MSU Denver’s Jazz Celebration in the King Center on the Auraria campus at 7:30 p.m. (303-556-2296). Goldberg, who was born in Denver, is among the top clarinetists around and he is bringing with him a group of top-notch player, including Myra Melford, vibist Kenny Wollesen, drummer Ches Smith, saxophonist Rob Sudduth and singer/violinist Carla Kihlstedt. Several fine area-based players, who teach at Metropolitan State University Denver, are rounding out the band. They are: trumpeter Shane Endsley (who is a member of Kneebody), bassist Gonzalo Teppa and guitarist Dave Devine (who is on drummer Brian Blade’s new CD). When you consider that Goldberg is from here and that Don Byron teaches at MSU Denver, Denver is quite a clarinet town.
Additionally, singer/keyboardist Joe McBride is at Dazzle on Thursday at 6 and 8:30 p.m. offering his tribute to Ray Charles, while the mighty blues plus singer Shemekia Copeland is at the club on Wednesday at 6 and 8:30 p.m.
Along with all of this, trumpeter Joshua Trinidad has a trio with Scandinavian players Jacob Young on guitar and Stale Solberg on drums at Dazzle on Friday at 6 and 8:30 p.m. and trumpeter Jason Klobnak celebrates a new release on Sunday at 5:30 p.m.
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