The five best jazz shows in Denver in July
Rarely is the pedal steel used outside of country music, but Glenn Taylor is one of the few who takes the instrument to completely different places, especially when he's playing with folks like Ron Miles or Matt Skellenger. While Taylor explores jazz, Afro pop, ska and electronica on his excellent self-titled debut, in a live setting he'll travel other routes, as well. With his orchestra, he's surrounded himself with some other great players, including guitarist Roger Green, saxophonist Paul Riola and bassist Kim Stone.
New York's Brooklyn Circle has been working together for more than a decade, and there's clearly some telepathy happening between the members -- saxophonist Stacy Dillard, bassist Diallo House and drummer Ismail Lawal -- as evidenced by the way they play off of each other. The three can play circles around their original jazz cuts, and they also have a great handle on grooves.
Since being a finalist in the Thelonious Monk Institute's 1998 vocal competition when she was twenty, Jane Monheit has released eleven albums under own her name in addition to garnering two Grammy nominations. Last April, the singer released The Heart of the Matter, which is quite different from her previous efforts and features some interesting reworkings of songs from a variety of composers, including tunes by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Randy Newman, Mel Tormé and Ivan Lins.
Saxophonist Jimmy Heath was part of the Heath Brothers, which included Albert on drums and Percy on bass, but he's also played with dozens of jazz legends over the past five decades, including Miles Davis, Milt Jackson, Herbie Hancock and Blue Mitchell. As a leader, Heath has released more than twenty albums since 1959's The Thumper, his debut as a leader. The 86-year-old Heath is joined by Convergence, one of the state's great jazz collectives, for this pair of Dazzle dates.
While trumpeter Terence Blanchard and saxophonist Donald Harrison, both New Orleans natives, were part of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers when the two released 1983's New York Second Line, it didn't take too long for them to form their own group and release five albums as co-leaders. In the early '90s, Blanchard starting pursuing a solo career and put out some great recordings under his own name, including his most recent Blue Note effort, Magnetic, as well as dozens of film scores and compositions for Broadway. A masterful composer and improviser, Blanchard is one of the top trumpeters in the world.
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