The five best jazz shows in Denver this month
5. IMPROVISED ROOTS #4 @ DAZZLE | FRI & SAT, 3/15-3/16 While Greg Garrison plays bass for local bluegrass act Leftover Salmon, he also knows his way around jazz changes. With his Improvised Roots Series, he brings the two worlds together with roots music. The previous two shows in his Improvised Roots Series featured local talent like Ron Miles and John Gunther, along with nationally known jazz talent like Bill Frisell, Dave Douglas and bluegrass guitarist Bryan Sutton and Crooked Still singer Aoife O'Donovan. For the fourth installment of his series, Garrison will be preforming with the outstanding New York-based jazz guitarist Joel Harrison, fiddle player Darol Anger, who was a founding member of the David Grisman Quintet, and Art Lande, one of the state's finest pianists.
4. EYVIND KANG AND JESSIKA KENNEY WITH THE PLAYGROUND ENSEMBLE @ MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART | SAT, 3/9 While Eyvind Kang has played on a number of Bill Frisell's albums, including 2010's Beautiful Dreamers, the violist has also worked with a number of other forward-thinking players like John Zorn, Mike Patton and Laurie Anderson. Joined by Denver's Playground Ensemble, Kang and his wife, vocalist Jessika Kenney, will be performing "Witness and Dimension," a new piece about the consciousness of tempo and the folding of time signatures. While not entirely a "jazz" performance, the group will combine the ancient and modern in aleatoric (composed and improvised) chamber music.
3. SFJAZZ COLLECTIVE @ LONE TREE ARTS CENTER | TUE, 3/26 Launched nearly a decade ago by SFJAZZ, the institution that presents the annual San Francisco Jazz Festival, the SFJAZZ Collective is an octet that has included a number of jazz heavies in its line-up since it started in 2004. With cats like tenor saxophonist David Sánchez, trumpeter Avishai Cohen, vibraphonist Stefon Harris, alto player Miguel Zenón and trombonist Robin Eubanks, there should be some deep improvising when they tackle the music of Chick Corea.
2. CHRIS POTTER TRIO @ DAZZLE | SAT & SUN, 3/2-3/3 As a teenager in the late '80s, tenor saxophonist Chris Potter performed with the great Red Rodney and later went on to collaborate with luminaries like Herbie Hancock, Jim Hall, Paul Motian, Dave Holland, and, more recently, Potter was a member of the Pat Metheny Unity Band. While he's played as a sideman on a hundred albums, Potter also has fifteen albums under his own name, including his brand new ECM debut, The Sirens, which was inspired by Homer's The Odyssey. A deft and exciting improviser, Potter will be joined by the equally vigorous bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Eric Harland on these two nights.
1. LEE KONITZ @ DAZZLE | SAT & SUN | 3/23-24 A main figure in the late '40s and early '50s cool jazz movement, alto saxophonist Lee Konitz performed on Miles Davis's Birth of the Cool and performed with Lennie Tristano and Warne Marsh around the same time. Since then, the 85-year-old saxophonist went on to release dozens of albums on various labels under his own name, including some outstanding recent efforts, Lee Konitz/Brad Mehldau/Charlie Haden/Paul Motian: Live at Birdland and last year's Enfants Terrible: Live at the Blue Note, which also features Bill Frisell, Gary Peacock and Joey Baron. An innovative and master improviser, Konitz's lyrical phrasing is about as gorgeous as it comes on alto saxophone.
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