It Takes Brass

Since its beginnings in the 1970s, the Big Band Boogie Bash has been an annual tradition for college and high-school big bands. For the past decade, the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts — a thirteen-year-old mentoring program that teaches middle- and high-school students about jazz performance, history and language — has hosted the event, during which bands perform back-to-back over the course of a single afternoon.

This year’s Bash includes ensembles from Metropolitan State University, Colorado State University, the University of Northern Colorado and the University of Denver, as well as several high-school groups, each of which will perform fifty-minute sets. Paul Romaine, CCJA co-founder and artistic director, says the groups will perform material from the likes of Glenn Miller as well as modern-day artists such as Radiohead and Björk.

“These are groups that reflect the times, but they’ll also go back and pull something out from established repertoire as well,” Romaine says.

The event is just one of the things CCJA is doing to keep jazz alive. While the organization has eighty students registered in its program, there are many more kids around the state who are into playing jazz, Romaine says. “That translates into reaching more people and keeping the art form alive and giving it momentum and new energy and youthful vitality.”

The Big Band Boogie Bash runs from 1 to 8 p.m. at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street. Tickets are $10 for students and people 55 and over, $15 for everyone else. For more information, go to
Sat., Feb. 16, 1-8 p.m., 2013

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Jon Solomon writes about music and nightlife for Westword, where he's been the Clubs Editor since 2006.
Contact: Jon Solomon