Best Place to See Emerging Hip-Hop Talent -- Denver

Soiled Dove

You Night! at the Soiled Dove is the place to be for aspiring MCs and DJs. Organized and run by Neil McIntyre of Yo, Flaco! and Minezai fame, the Monday-night extravaganza is proof positive that hip-hop is not only alive and well, it's also the new punk rock. The room is consistently packed with artists and fans, cornrow-wearing gangstas, throwback-clad B-boys and backpack-sporting intellectuals, all peaceably co-existing in the name of hip-hop. In addition to great shows by locals, You Night! has played host to KRS-One and, most recently, the return of local faves the Procussions. Other hip-hop-themed nights have sprung up recently, but the original is still the best.

Best Place to See Emerging Hip-Hop Talent -- Boulder

Fox Theatre

Fox Theatre
Brandon Marshall
Boulder's Fox Theatre is a required destination for the nation's hottest up-and-coming hip-hop acts, from Dilated Peoples and Jurassic 5 to People Under the Stairs and the Pharcyde. The theater consistently has its ear to the street, with an aggressive booking policy that takes chances on up-and-comers and gives locals a chance to shine. The club's unobstructed sight lines and crystal-clear sound make the trip to the People's Republic more than worth the drive. Many Mootown denizens consider the Fox to be the house that jam built, but this jam is a little more Def.
El Chapultepec
Courtesy El Chapultepec
When it comes to the elusive spirit of jazz (past and present), colorful Colfax watering hole Dulcinea's is one swinging primate. Taking pains to stock the jukebox with both legends (from Coltrane to Miles, Monk to Holiday) and newer members of the genre (Charlie Hunter, Norah Jones), the Monkey covers a lot of ground. It's an invitingly relaxed setting, too, with comfortable couches, tasteful murals, vintage black-and-white photos, an old-school bar, and a dart room and pool table for more sporting jazz cats. Live music is a blend of local talent, including keyboardist Dave Cieri and soul crooner Jessica Goodkin, and traveling acts, such as the Willie Waldman Project and the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey. Once a month, catch the Progressive Sessions, during which the hottest local jazz players stretch it all out. Get ready for a fresh take on a venerable tradition.
Dazzle

Over the past half-dozen years, Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge has bloomed into one of the most vibrant rooms in town, with live music seven nights a week and a schedule that moves deftly across the jazz strata and features many of the region's most accomplished players. But Dazzle has also become a breeding ground for the next generation of horn-blowers, time-keepers and bass-thumpers: The weekly Jazz Teen Idol is a showcase of up-and-coming artists with more musical talent than Kelly, Ruben and Clay combined. And Dazzle has even made beautiful music with non-profit groups, including the Wishing Well, which helps those with mental disabilities get back on their feet. An elegant, modern variation on the supper club, with a fine menu and cocktails a-go-go, Dazzle sparkles.

Since last October, a cozy nook on West Colfax called Angie's Place has featured top-notch local jazz performers such as singer Teresa Carroll, pianist/vocalist Ellyn Rucker and tenor saxophonist Max Wagner. The music, showcased on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, attracts a largely Lakewood crowd, and no one performs much past 11 p.m. But this unassuming little boîte has nice acoustics and a welcoming atmosphere, as befits a place that offers cappuccinos, lattes and pastries alongside its surprisingly wide-ranging dinner menu. Owner Angie Feighart doesn't go for glitz, and she doesn't book big names, but her homey outpost scores high for good cheer and good music.
The primary artist on the Aurora-based Mobstyle label is self-styled gangsta Don Blas, whose latest platter, The Modus, is one of the best-sounding rap CDs to come out of the Denver area in forever. As Don goes, so goes Mobstyle, and the quality of the company's first effort, which has received spins on KS-107.5 and other major commercial radio stations, bodes well for a bangin' future.
Since the late '70s, London-based Recommended Records, founded by eccentric musician Chris Cutler, has been the place that true connoisseurs of progressive rock turn for the latest and weirdest examples of this willfully edgy form. Prog continues to survive on the distant fringes of the music industry, and drummer Dave Kerman aims to give it a boost with ReR USA, the new American branch of Recommended Records, which he launched in Denver earlier this year.
At first Sci-Fidelity's website was principally a venue for the String Cheese Incident, Colorado's most extravagant gift to the neo-hippie crowd. No more. The success of the band has allowed the label to expand its roster to include Incident-related acts such as Comotion (a side project) and DJ Harry, as well as the jam-friendly collective Karl Denson's Tiny Universe and the Yonder Mountain String Band, a Colorado combo that builds upon bluegrass without burying it. Next up: A disc by Grammy winner Steve Winwood. That's big news -- and Sci-Fidelity is bound to get bigger.
Boulder's Tom Steenland has been putting out challenging avant-garde sounds on his Starkland imprint for over ten years now, and by keeping his product list modest in size, he's able to maintain high-quality music and packaging. Take Mystery Dances, by Robert Een, who uses voice and cello to create striking music that's occasionally reminiscent of jazz or world music, but is more often impossible to pigeonhole. Just like most other products that proudly bear the Starkland brand.
Headquartered in Bailey, the Capri and Tapestry imprints are the brain-children of Tom Burns, a jazz lover who's devoted himself to getting some of Colorado's finest musicians heard beyond the state's borders. His catalogue features material by saxophonist Fred Hess and trumpeter Ron Miles, both of whom appear on a bracing new Tapestry release, The Long and Short of It, credited to the Fred Hess Quartet. But Burns has also ventured beyond the neighborhood, making available platters by the likes of Louie Bellson and Lee Konitz, whose One Day With Lee was recorded in 2002.

Best Of Denver®

Best Of