The ten best jazz shows in Denver this month
Steve J. Sherman
4. FRED HERSCH TRIO @ DAZZLE | THURS & FRI, 2/7-2/8
Early on in his career, pianist Fred Hersch played as a sideman to jazz legends like Joe Henderson, Art Farmer and Stan Getz in the late '70s. Since then, he's gone on to release a number of albums under his own name, while also proving that he's a masterful improviser. On his most recent effort, the two-disc Alive at the Vanguard, released last September on Palmetto, the five-time Grammy nominated pianist is in superb form running through new original compositions, as well as tunes by Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins and Cole Porter.
3. KURT ROSENWINKEL QUARTET @ DAZZLE | SAT & SUN, 2/23-2/24
Guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel is a damn fine improviser, and his attack on the notes is strong; he makes each note ring through. Whether he's running through fluid Allan Holdsworth-inspired legato lines or laying down his own unique riffs, Rosenwinkel has a tone that's as distinctive as his phrasing. He also has a unique approach in which he uses a lapel mike to ghost notes with his voice, which he says gives a human quality to the sound, not just the guitar. His latest two-disc effort, Star of Jupiter, is possibly his most daring recording of his two-decade long career.
2. RUDRESH MAHANTHAPPA @ DAZZLE | TUES & WEDS, 2/26-2/27
Growing up in Boulder, Rudresh Mahanthappa got an early start on the saxophone and studied with Mark Harris, who opened him to a wide variety of music, before heading to Berklee College of Music and DePaul University to study music. Since moving to New York in 1997, the innovative Mahanthappa has gone on to release a number of recordings, either collaborating with others or under his own name, including his brand new album, Gamak, where he melds Indian and Middle Eastern styles while there are still jazz undertones. At Dazzle, he'll be joined by guitarist David Fiuczynski, bassist François Moutin and drummer Dan Weiss, who all appear on Gamak. Expect some intricate and fiery improvisations.
1. RON MILES TRIO @ DAZZLE | FRI & SAT, 2/15-2/16
Local trumpeter Ron Miles and former Denver native Bill Frisell have performed and recorded together on a number of occasions, but they've only teamed up with drummer Brian Blade a handful of times, including to record on Miles' latest disc, Quiver. One of the reasons this trio works so well is that its members share certain sensibilities, and here, their lyrical playing is beautifully understated. Their previous outings at Dazzle have been damn near magical.