The six best jazz shows in April
BRAD MEHDLAU TRIO @ BOULDER THEATER, SUN, 4/6
Over the last two decades pianists Brad Mehldau has recorded and performed in various formats (his latest effort, Mehliana: Taming the Dragon, is a duo recording with drummer Mark Guiliana), but he seems most at home with his trio, which includes long-time bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, who's been with Mehldau for almost a ten years. Any of the pianist's live recordings, including The Art of the Trio volumes or Live in Tokyo, confirm Mehldau's intuitive and proficient playing in the live setting.
KNEEBODY @ DAZZLE, MON. 4/7
Kneebody has had many labels thrown at it, but none seem to fit. Just the same, the members of the transcontinental quintet (saxophonist Ben Wendel, keyboardist Adam Benjamin, drummer Nate Wood and Denver natives, trumpeter Shane Endsley and bassist Kaveh Rastegar) haven't exactly gone out of their way to make it easy for folks to pin down their shapeshifting sound, which is rooted in jazz, funk and rock. The Line, the band's first release on the mini-major imprint Concord, is exceptionally ambitious in scope while also being the best sounding disc the band has released, and the quintet is in superb form on the disc.
TIGRAN @ THE ORIENTAL THEATER FRI. 4/18
Although jazz pianist Tigran Hamasyan, who's just going by his first name these days, is only in his mid-twenties, he already has more than two decades of playing under his belt. Having started on piano at the age of three, he was already playing festivals by the time he was thirteen. With a technical proficiency of someone much older, the virtuosic pianist won the 2006 Thelonious Monk Piano Competition, in addition to winning several other awards over the past decade. On his daring new album, Shadow Theater, slated for release on April 15, Tigran showcases his affinity for Armenian folk music while also delving into prog rock, electronica and a whole lot more.