The five best jazz shows in Denver this month
3. DONNY MCCASLIN QUARTET @ DAZZLE | SAT & SUN, 12/8-12/9
Donny McCaslin has released a number of acoustic jazz albums since 1998, but over the past few years, the New York-based tenor saxophonist has been exploring different genres, incorporating more alternative, groove-oriented electronic elements into his playing, a la Robert Glasper and Esperanza Spalding, revealing an variety of influences from Boards of Canada to Aphex Twin. McCaslin's latest effort, Casting for Gravity, is his most daring yet. With keyboardist extraordinaire Jason Lindner, bassist Tim Lefebvre and drummer Nate Smith on hand for this two-night stand, there's bound to be some exciting playing.
2. TOM HARRELL QUINTET @ DAZZLE | TUES-THURS, 12/4-12/6
Tom Harrell has had a storied career that spans four decades, beginning in the late '60s and early '70s with Stan Kenton, Woody Herman and Horace Silver that led to later stints with the Lee Konitz Nonet and the Phil Woods Quintet. Since 1976's Aurora/Total, Harrell has released a number of album under his own name, including this year's excellent Number Five, featuring tenor saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, keyboardist Danny Grissett, bassist Ugonna Okegwo and drummer Johnathan Blake, all of whom will be part of the veteran trumpeter's three-night stint at Dazzle.