The most interesting musical visitor to town this week is saxophonist Greg Osby who will be at Nocturne on Thursday. Born in St. Louis in 1960, Osby came to New York after a stint at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. He worked with a range of top-shelf players such as Woody Shaw and Ron Carter and connected with fellow saxophonist Steve Coleman and the musical banner labeled M-Base that injected a rap-hop element into the jazz sound and initially covered folk like singer Cassandra Wilson.
Osby began recording on his own in 1987 on the progressive German label JMT and before long he was signed to Blue Note Records where he released 15 albums prior to issuing his music on his own label. You can get idea of Osby’s sound by keeping in mind that in 2003 he toured with the Dead, a reincarnation of the Grateful Dead, and also hit the road with the Dead guitarist Phil Lesh. At Nocturne on Thursday, Osby has a quartet consisting of two area-based players, pianist Ben Markley and drummer Dru Heller, and New York bassist Evan Gregor. The alto saxophonist hits the stage at Nocturne, 1330 27th St., at 7 p.m. (303-295-3333).
Also on Thursday, New York-based singer Markeisha Ensley performs the always-dramatic music of Nina Simone, “the High Priestess of Soul,” at Dazzle. Markeisha was part of the play about Simone, Little Girl Blue, and is on stage at Dazzle, 1512 Curtis, at 6 and 8:30 p.m. (303-839-5100). Then on Saturday, Dazzle hosts “Colorado Jazz Workshop Day” from 11 a.m. through the evening hours. Combos connected to the Jazz Workshop play until 4:30 p.m., followed by a clinic conducted by guest artist, trombonist Tom “Bones” Malone, from 4:30 until 5:45 p.m. At 7 p.m., the noted Blues Brothers (and later Subdudes) band member plays in the big band context. At 9:30 p.m., he switches to a quartet setting.
On Sunday, Dazzle has two CD celebrations on stage. Guitarist Ryan Fourt goes first at 5:30 p.m. with a band that includes saxophonist Peter Sommer and New York City-based trumpeter Jonathan Saraga bats next at 7:30 p.m. celebrating his Journey to the New World. And for Halloween on Tuesday, Dazzle offers up “Witches Brew” with singers Terri Jo Jenkins and Janine Gastineau in the company of pianist Carmen Sandim, bassist Kim Bird, drummer Jill Fredericksen and violinist Jane Uitti. For its part, Nocturne marks Halloween on Tuesday with the Adam Bodine Trio doing a “Spooktacular” night starting at 7 p.m. Nocturne warms up for Halloween on Saturday with the 3rd annual “Great Zombie Gatsby Ball” at 5:30 and 9 p.m. Over at La Cour, 1643 S. Broadway, the Halloween celebration has the Jean-Marie Jazz and Ron Jolly duo on stage at 7 p.m. (303-777-5000).
Then, the week wraps up with singer/pianist Freddy Cole, Nat “King” Cole’s younger brother, at Dazzle on Wednesday at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Cole has been on he scene since the early 1950s and is among the most recognizable male vocalists in jazz. His most recent discs, from 2005 on, are on the High Note label (he also recorded a 1996 CD for the Vartan Jazz label for those who remember Vartan’s jazz club in Denver). In 2016, he offered a tribute to his brother titled He Was the King. Cole is often in the company of guitarist Randy Napoleon and bassist Elias Bailey and drummer Quentin Baxter (both of whom also work with singer René Marie). Cole plays and sings at 6 and 8:30 p.m.
On the subject of Nat “King” Cole, singer Gregory Porter’s new CD is titled Nat “King” Cole and Me. On November 4 at 7:30 p.m., Porter will be at the Newman Center on the University of Denver campus as part of the Center’s impressive jazz lineup. After Porter, there will be the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, singer Tierney Sutton, drummer Antonio Sanchez doing Birdman live and trumpeter Terence Blanchard and the E-Collective (303-871-7720).
Also keep in mind, that in December, another of the major jazz vocalists, Kurt Elling, will be in town at the Soiled Dove Underground (303-830-9214). The Dove, 7401 E. 1st Ave. on Friday has crossover singer/guitarist Jonathan Butler from South Africa on stage at 7 and 10 p.mObviously, there’s nothing rotten about this week’s lineup in music. But there is Something Rotten! in town until Sunday. That’s the fabulous musical comedy by that name that blends Shakespeare and the American musical into a magical brew of humor. Catch it if you can.
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