Let’s start with a spot that I generally don’t write about, the Be on Key Psychedelic Ripple club. On Thursday and Friday, the club on Logan at 17th St. offers the first U.S. performance since 2011 from the band Garaj Mahal (303-861-7070). As its name indicates, Garaj Mahal is a jazz fusion group that brings together touches of rock, funk and Indian music with guitarist Fareed Haque, German-born bassist Kai Eckhardt, drummer Sean Rickman and keyboardist Eric Levy.
Haque is a frequent visitor to Denver in a variety of contexts, who has also been a featured artist on three Blue Note discs from tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson, who, of course, grew up right here in Denver. Haque also released a number of his own albums on Blue Note as well as performing with the Zawinul Syndicate (led by Joe Zawinul). Though a prominent groove band, Garaj Mahal only came back from a six-year break this past year for a concert in Canada. Now it is back in the U.S.A for concerts in Colorado. After the two nights at the Psychedelic Ripple, the group travels to Nederland for a Saturday night at the Caribou Room, 55 Indian Peak Dr., at 9 p.m. (303-258-3637).
Then on Friday, trumpeter John Raymond returns to Dazzle with his Real Feels band that includes Israeli guitarist Glad Hekselman and Denver-born drummer Colin Stranahan. I caught this trio during a previous visit to Dazzle and it works extremely well. The sets on Friday are ar 6:30 and 9 p.m.
On Saturday, Dazzle has the very popular saxophonist/flautist Nelson Rangell with his quartet. After college in Boston, the Denver-born Rangell settled in New York in 1984 where, among other things, he spent time as part of the famed Gil Evans Orchestra. Rangell, who continues to live in metro Denver, was a regular recording for the GRP label; and despite the labels placed on him, he can play. The sets on Saturday are at 6 and 8:30 p.m.
Come Sunday, Dazzle has the duo of guitarist/singer Gabriel Santiago and pianist Peter John Stoltzman playing the sounds of Brazil at 6 p.m. The duo will also appear on May 19 at Boulder’s Caffe Sole, 637R S. Broadway (303-499-2985). The Brazilian-born Santiago has done things on the jazz side with players such as Chris Potter, Esperanza Spalding and Terence Blanchard (who had his E-Collective at the Newman Center this past week).
After the weekend, Dazzle has the guitarist Alex Heffron’s group with bassist Dan Montgomery on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. – and on Wednesday, the week in music ends with a “Trumpet Summit” involving Brad Goode, Sean Jones and Marvin Stamm at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Goode, of course, is a fine trumpeter who teaches at the University of Colorado Boulder while Jones is well-known for his work with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and his recordings on the Mack Avenue label. Stamm, too, has big band experience going back to Woody Herman and as six-year stint with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. The Summit also reconvenes at Dazzle on May 17th.
Other items on tap include, the Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra at the Lone Tree Arts Center, 10075 Commons St., on Friday at 7:30 p.m. (720-509-1000). The big band will explore the music of “The Duke, the Count and Stevie, Too.” In Niwot, Treppeda’s, 300 2nd Ave., has bassist Paul Warburton does a duo thing with guitarist Steve Kovalcheck at 6:30 p.m. (303-652-1606). At Nocturne, 1330 27th St., drummer Brian Claxton (who has worked with Monty Alexander’s Harlem-Kingston Express) has a group on stage on Wednesday and trumpeter Bob Montgomery is there with young saxophonist Anisha Rush on Tuesday. The music at Nocturne starts at 7 p.m. (303-295-3333). And on Wednesday, the talented pianist Lenore Raphael appears live at the KUVO studio at 11:30 a.m.
Last and not least, keep in mind that the Five Points Jazz Festival is right on the horizon. The event keeps Welton St. jumping on May 19 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The festival’s lifetime achievement awards will go to Norman Harris III, Jeff Fard and the late Lu Vason.
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