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The five best jazz shows in Colorado this month

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While September was a stellar month for nationally known jazz talent coming through town, October has some equally compelling acts, including legendary bassist Ron Carter, forward-thinking trio the Bad Plus, acclaimed pianist Vijay Iyer and guitarist Lionel Loueke. Keep reading for a full rundown of this month's five best jazz shows.

5. COW TOWN JAZZ FEST @ ORIENTAL THEATER | FRI & SAT, 10/5-6/12 The mission of the Cow Town Jazz Fest is "to bring together local veteran musicians with the next generation of players to inspire collaboration and inspiration." Friday's lineup includes Laura Newman's AOA, pianist Jon Wirtz, percussionist Mingo Lewis, jazz recorder player Bill Hill and the Heavy Heavies, featuring keyboardist Chad Aman, trumpeter Hugh Ragin, vocalist Venus Cruz and drummer Tony Black. On Saturday, guitarist Justin Donovan, Freddy Rodriguez Sr. & the Jazz Connection (featuring a special tribute to Jerry Krantz and El Chapultepec), Joe Bonner & the Current Events and the fourteen-piece Alpha Schoolmarm Orchestra are on the bill.

4. LIONEL LOUEKE @ DAZZLE | FRI, 10/19/12 While Lionel Loueke has performed and recorded on nylon string acoustics, on the guitarist and singer's new Blue Note album, Heritage, he delves into a more electric sound while still fusing his West African roots with jazz. With such fluid and lyrical solos, it's easy to see why heavies like Terence Blanchard and Herbie Hancock have tapped Loueke to perform in their groups.

3. VIJAY IYER TRIO @ DAZZLE | THURS & FRI, 10/11-10/12 One of the more exciting young pianists in jazz today, Grammy-nominated composer-pianist Vijay Iyer has won a slew of awards over the past few years, including five different ones in the DownBeat International Critics Poll. Awards notwithstanding, if you need proof of what amazing chops this cat has, look no further than any of his ACT recordings, especially this year's outstanding Accelerando.

2. THE BAD PLUS @ THE GOTHIC THEATRE | SAT, 10/13/12 Over the past dozen years, the Bad Plus has established itself as one of the most daring jazz trios in the world. And in that time, pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King have proved they can easily maneuver through hard-hitting energetic songs, tone it down on ballads or turn other folks' songs inside out and make them their own. While primarily an acoustic trio, the Bad Plus lays down layers of synths and electronic drum sounds on the brand-new Made Possible.

1. RON CARTER QUARTET @ BOULDER THEATER | SUN, 10/28 Ron Carter has been on over 2,500 albums and secured a spot as one of the world's finest bassists in the history of jazz. Doing much more than merely help anchor the rhythm, Carter is a quite the melodic master. In his five-decade-long career, he's played with countless jazz legends, including a five-year stint in Miles Davis's quintet that also included Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Tony Williams.

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