Three days before this past Sunday’s Grammy® Awards were handed out, pianist Billy Childs was in town with his strong quartet. During his two sets at Dazzle, the pianist played a number of tunes from his latest album, Rebirth. On Grammy® night, Childs’ Rebirth walked away with the award for best jazz instrumental album. That was just one more reminder, if any more were really needed, as to vitality of the city’s live jazz scene. The other jazz Grammys® this year went to: singer Cécile McLorin Salvant for the top vocal jazz album, Dreams and Daggers; guitarist John McLaughlin for the outstanding improvised jazz solo for “Miles Beyond”; bassist Christian McBride for the top large ensemble jazz album, Bringin’ It; the Pablo Ziegler Trio for best Latin jazz album, Jazz Tango; and Arturo O’Farrill for the top instrumental composition, “Three Revolutions.”
This week starts off with someone who is no stranger to awards, Otis Taylor. The Chicago-born bluesman moved to Colorado at a young age and still lives in Boulder. Over a series of disc, Taylor has developed his “Trance Blues” approach to the music into compelling musical style with a potent band that features fiddler Ann Harris. Taylor frequently includes cornetist Ron Miles on his recordings and has even used the Jason Moran Trio as the sidemen on one CD (Pentatonic Wars and Love Songs). The spirit of jazz is not far from his music. On Thursday, Taylor is at Dazzle, 1512 Curtis, at 7 p.m. Then, on Friday, he is back at Dazzle at 6 and 8:30 p.m. (303-839-5100).
When Saturday rolls around, saxophonist Joel Frahm comes to town to perform with pianist Ben Markley’s Big Band at Dazzle. Pianist Markley launched his big band venture to showcase the music of pianist Cedar Walton; and a recent recording of that big band titled Clockwise: The Music of Cedar Walton has garnered very positive reviews. Saxophonist Frahm has recorded duos with pianist Brad Mehldau (as well as the two playing together in high school). The band cooks and it plays at 6 and 8:30 p.m.
Then as the musical week wraps up on Wednesday, it’s drummer Allison Miller who is back at Dazzle. Miller is a terrific drummer who has bee at the club before with several editions of her own band. Thus time around she is here as part of pianist Peter Stoltzman’s New Standards Project. The group that plays at 6:30 and 9 p.m. also has Natalie Cressman on trombone and vocals and Gonzalo Teppa on bass.
Over in Niwot, bassist Paul Warburton and pianist Art Lande continue their Saturday nights at Treppeda’s, 300 2nd Ave. Lande and Warburton are two pillars of the area’s jazz scene. Later in the month, guitarist Steve Kolvalcheck and pianist Markley are with Warburton in the duo format (303-652-1606). And at the Spangaland Brewery, 2736 Welton, the fine trumpeter Gabriel Mervine continues his Tuesday-night stand starting at 7 p.m. (303-297-1276). Mervine is also part of the band Moderno Afro-Cubano that plays at Nocturne, 1330 27th St., on Wednesday at 7 p.m. (303-295-3333).
Also keep in mind that the play Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill continues at the Vintage Theater in Aurora, 1468 Dayton, with singer Mary Louise Lee. The play takes place in the Philly nightspot not too long before Billie Holiday’s death in 1959 (303-856-7830). And next week, the city returns to the beat generation with the Neal Cassady Birthday Bash.
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