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Comic: Four Colorado jazz legends you should know

Comic: Four Colorado jazz legends you should know
By Noah Van Sciver. Bigger images are below.

Editor's note: Each week, illustrator Noah Van Sciver asks a Colorado band or musician four questions and then draws their conversation. Sometimes he does other stuff. We call the resulting comic "4 Questions: Comic Strip Interview" either way, for some reason. You can see more of Van Sciver's work and even buy it on his website.

Comic: Four Colorado jazz legends you should know
Noah Van Sciver

4. Spike Robinson Although Spike Robinson was born in Wisconsin, lived in England during the '50s and passed away there in 2001 at the age of 71, the tenor saxophonist spent three decades in Colorado. With a relaxed tone and lilt in the vein of Stan Getz and Zoot Sims, Robinson collaborated with some great local players like Ellyn Rucker on Nice Work! and Dale Bruning on Very Live in Boulder, recorded in 1974 and released last year on the Hep imprint.

Comic: Four Colorado jazz legends you should know
Noah Van Sciver

3. Paul Whiteman Born in Denver in 1890, Paul Whiteman went on to lead one of the most popular jazz orchestras of the '20s. Since his group was one of best dance bands of the day, Whiteman, a fine violist and violinist in his own right who played with the Denver Symphony Orchestra, recruited some legendary players of the era, like Eddie Lang, Red Nichols Tommy Dorsey and Bix Beiderbecke.

 

Comic: Four Colorado jazz legends you should know
Noah Van Sciver

2. Johnny Smith Nearly a year ago, the great guitarist Johnny Smith passed away at the age of 90 in Colorado Springs, where he'd been living since the '60s. While Smith wrote "Walk, Don't Run," which was made famous by the Ventures, he was also an exceptional guitarist, as evidenced on albums like Moonlight in Vermont, which featured saxophonist Stan Getz, and his 1967 self-titled disc on Verve.

Comic: Four Colorado jazz legends you should know
Noah Van Sciver

1. Glenn Miller Born in Iowa in 1904, Glenn Miller lived in Nebraska and Missouri before his family moved to Fort Morgan, where he went to high school, and by the time he'd graduated in 1921 Miller, a trombonist, decided to pursue a career in music. While he spent some time at the University of Boulder (where there's a ballroom named after him), he ended up dropping out to be a professional musician. After a stint arranging for the Dorsey Brothers, Miller began recording under his own name in the mid '30s and went on to be hugely popular in the early '40s with his like "In the Mood" and "Tuxedo Junction."

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