Five best jazz shows in Denver this April

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Giovanni Toninelo

MATT SKELLENGER GROUP @ DAZZLE | SAT, 4/6
Fusing jazz with Indian rhythms and percussion, bassist Matt Skellenger follows up his 2009 release, Parentheticals, with his outstanding new disc, The Owls Are Not What They Seem (yes, the title is a nod to Twin Peaks), which he'll be issuing at Dazzle. Taking a few cues from complex bassists like Victor Wooten, Skellenger takes a more melodic approach with his playing. Joining him tonight are trumpeter Ron Miles, drummer David Miller, percussionist Andy Skellenger, pedal steel player Glenn Taylor (who all appear on the new album), as well as trombonist Adam Bartczak.

See also:
- The fifty best concerts of the spring
- Bill Frisell on studying with Dale Bruning
- Ten essential jazz albums if you know squat about jazz

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Ahmad Jamal

UNC/GREELEY JAZZ FESTIVAL @ UNC | THU-SAT, 4/18-4/20
The UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival is the largest of its kind in the nation, bringing in more than 275 college, high school and middle school big bands, combos and jazz vocal groups from around the county. In addition to those groups, the festival brings in its share of jazz heavies every year. This year's headliners include legendary pianist Ahmad Jamal, Grammy Award winning a cappella group Take 6 and A Tribute to Dizzy Gillespie with the UNC Jazz Lab Band featuring trumpeters Jon Faddis, Terell Stafford and Greg Gisbert as well as pianist Cyrus Chestnut.

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Austin Nelson

DAVE DOUGLAS SEXTET @ DAZZLE | THU & FRI, 4/11-4/12
When trumpeter Dave Douglas played at Dazzle just over a year ago as part of Greg Garrison Improvised Roots series, he was introduced to Crooked Still's Aoife O'Donovan, who also sang during the sets. Douglas would go on to recruit O'Donovan (who is also joining Douglas this time around) for last year's gorgeous album, Be Still. Douglas is set to release Time Travel, which was recorded during the same sessions as Be Still, on his own Greenleaf imprint on Tuesday, April 9. Douglas is one of the world's leading improvisers. He turned fifty near the end of March, and his stop in Denver, as well as his stop at CU-Boulder on April 5, will be part of his plan to play all fifty states. Look for a Q&A with Douglas on the Backbeat blog next week.

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