The Colorado Conservatory reheats jazz
Many high-schoolers probably wouldn't know Duke Ellington from the Duke of Windsor. But thanks to the Colorado Conservatory for Jazz Arts, an ambitious non-profit jazz-education organization now in its third year, there are plenty who do. And at 6:30 tonight at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street, more than thirty young players will celebrate Ellington's works by performing them in a CCJA benefit concert alongside some of the finest jazz instrumentalists Colorado has to offer. This last group includes bassists Mark Simon and Ken Walker, pianist Jeff Jenkins, trumpeter Hugh Ragin and drummer Paul Romaine."Our program creates wonderful opportunities for kids," says Chris Romaine, CCJA's executive director (and drummer Romaine's significant other). "It lets them meet professional musicians and learn from another perspective than they might get from teachers at school. It's basically like having a mentor. "
At this jam, the latest batch of recruits will show why. After an introductory blast from the conservatory's faculty, six student-dominated combos are slated to survey originals and assorted standards, followed by a big-band finale dedicated to the Duke. And not the one from England.
Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. For details, call 303-688-4754. -- Michael Roberts