The five best jazz shows in Denver this June
Last month marked the 25th anniversary of legendary trumpeter Chet Baker's death after falling out of a hotel room window in Amsterdam. So in honor of Baker's life, local trumpeter Justin Peterson is presenting a new concert series, "I Miss You, Chet," in which Peterson, who will be joined by seven other players, takes an intimate look at Baker's life and music through important recordings throughout his career.
On her 2010 release, Caravan, San Francisco-based jazz vocalist Lisa Engelken puts some fresh spins on standards, including a sassy takes on "Just One of Those Things" and "Afro Blue." She recently crowdfunded her second album, Little Warrior, which is due out in October, and she plans to perform material from the disc at Dazzle, along with local pianist Eric Gunnison, bassist Zack Teran and San Francisco-based drummer Matt Swindells.
Taking a few cues from vocal legends like Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Carmen McRae, Italian-born jazz singer Roberta Gambarini has developed an impeccable and precise command over her voice. Gambarini's 2008 EmArcy release, You Are There, in which she's accompanied only by the great pianist Hank Jones, is a gorgeous effort all the way through. For her three-night stand at Dazzle, she'll be joined by Convergence, one of the state's best jazz collectives.
Drummer Art Blakey had a knack for finding outstanding young players to play in his Jazz Messengers, and one of many fine pianists to come out of that group was Benny Green. The hard-swinging hard bop pianist has released sixteen albums under his name since the late '80s, including his latest effort, Magic Beans. Released last February on the Sunnyside imprint, the album features a number of originals, some of which are dedicated to cats like Kenny Drew, Jackie McLean and Harold Land. If you haven't seen him, Green can seriously tear it up on the ivories.
Guitarist Charlie Hunter and drummer Scott Amendola teamed up in the mid-'90s as part of T.J. Kirk, an outfit that played the music of Thelonious Monk, James Brown and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Amendola, who also appears on a few of Hunter's mid-'90s Blue Note recordings, has worked with a number of musicians since then, including the Nels Cline Singers. Last year, he reunited with Hunter again to record the duo album Not Getting Behind Is The New Getting Ahead. Hunter, who plays seven and eight-string guitars, handles both bass and guitar parts simultaneously, while Amendola is a master behind the kit. Needless to say, you can expect some fiery improvisations, as well as some deep grooves at this show.
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