Five of the Best Free Bands at the Five Points Jazz Festival

Five Points Jazz Festival returns Saturday, May 19.
Five Points Jazz Festival returns Saturday, May 19. Brandon Marshall
For the last fifteen years, the Five Points Jazz Festival has celebrated the neighborhood’s rich music history. The neighborhood, which was once dubbed the Harlem of the West, used to be home to a number of jazz clubs. This year’s festival, which runs from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, includes more stages and more bands than in previous years. And while there are dozens of stellar bands performing this year (you can see the lineup here), here are five acts that are definitely worth checking out.

La Pompe Jazz
May 20, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Coffee on the Point

While the four guys in La Pompe Jazz clearly know their way around the gypsy jazz of Django Reinhardt, they also pepper their sets with American jazz standards and French ballads. Earlier this year, the quartet released its excellent debut, Lush.

Brad Goode Polytonal Quartet
May 20, 12 to 1 p.m.

While trumpeter Brad Goode once led the house band at Chicago’s famed Green Mill for a dozen years, he moved out to Colorado more than a decade ago after landing an associate professor of jazz studies gig at CU-Boulder. His Polytonal Quartet takes a few cues from Miles Davis's late-’60s-to-early-’70s electric era.

Space Orphan
May 20, 2-3 p.m.

While the excellent keyboardist Jon Wirtz is well versed in jazz and rock, with Space Orphan, he flexes his funk chops along with guitarist Taylor Scott and horn players Gabe Mervine and Matt Pitts. These guys lock into some deep grooves à la Medeski Martin & Wood or Greyboy Allstars.

Steve Kovalcheck/Dave Devine Quartet
May 20, 3 to 4 p.m.
Coffee at the Point

Since guitarist Steve Kovalcheck teaches in the University of Northern Colorado’s Jazz Studies department and Dave Devine teaches guitar at Metro State University, it’s obvious these cats know a lot about fretboard logic. Expect some deft playing from the frontmen of this quartet.

Keith Oxman Trio
May 20, 9 to 10 p.m.
Coffee at the Point

One of the area’s finest tenor saxophonists, Keith Oxman has performed with heavies like Sonny Stitt, Art Blakey and Buddy Rich. On East of the Village, released last February on the local jazz imprint Capri, Oxman is in fine form, playing fluidly with a robust tone.
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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