Concert Reviews
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BRANFORD MARSALIS & KURT ELLING AT THE DU NEWMAN CENTER (May 13, 2017)
On May 13, 2017, Denver jazz fans had the choice to hear several top-rank artists in live performances across the city. JHO's Thomas Cunniffe joined about 1000 audience members at the University of Denver's Newman Center for a concert by the Branford Marsalis Quartet with guest Kurt Elling. Cunniffe reports that the entire group was in top form, excelling their performances on their recent CD, "Upward Spiral".

2017 UNC/GREELEY JAZZ FESTIVAL (April 20-22, 2017)
JHO principal writer Thomas Cunniffe grew up in Greeley, Colorado and went to music school at that city's University of Northern Colorado. Thus, he has a unique perspective on the annual UNC/Greeley Jazz Fesitival. Over the past four decades, he has seen it grow from a stream of performances by college big bands and combos held in a converted movie theater to a fully professional presentation featuring world-class artists. In his Concert Review, Cunniffe states that the 2017 edition may be one of the best he's witnessed, not only for the stellar performances by Sheila Jordan, Aubrey Logan, Greg Gisbert, Dave Liebman, Jimmy Heath, and the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni Band, but also for a remarkable suite based on Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet". 

Previous reviews (in alphabetical order by artist):
CYRILLE AIMÉE AT THE LAKEWOOD CULTURAL CENTER (March 27, 2015)
From the stage of the Lakewood Cultural Center, Cyrille Aimée told the audience that she loves performing in Colorado. And so, just a few months after performing in Denver, she and her quartet returned for concert performances of the music from her CD It's a Good Day. In his review, Thomas Cunniffe notes that while the music was superb, the program only showcased part of Cyrille Aimée's abundant talents.

KARRIN ALLYSON: "ROUND MIDNIGHT"
"Round Midnight" is the latest concept album from vocalist/pianist Karrin Allyson. This collection of "intimate ballads" features a great variety of songs, but nothing compared to Allyson's live repertoire. A CD and concert review by Thomas Cunniffe.

LYNNE ARRIALE: IN CONCERT AND ON DISC
While pianist Lynne Arriale's newest disc is her first solo album, she brought her trio with her for a two-night engagement at Dazzle nightclub in Denver. The sets included energetic trio pieces and intimate solo works. In this combined CD/concert review, Thomas Cunniffe notes that Arriale's wide range of styles can both challenge the intellect and touch the heart.


ANN HAMPTON CALLAWAY & THE COLORADO SYMPHONY, DENVER (January 19, 2013)
Barbra Streisand is not a jazz singer, but her friend Ann Hampton Callaway certainly is, and Callaway's jazz sensibilities enlivened her Streisand tribute with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Thomas Cunniffe was in the audience and provides this concert review.


ANAT & AVISHAI COHEN AT THE WOLF THEATER, DENVER (October 27, 2012)
In a brilliant program of progressive and re-imagined classic jazz pieces, clarinetist Anat Cohen and her trumpeter brother Avishai brought a taste of the burgeoning Brooklyn jazz scene to Denver's Wolf Theater. Thomas Cunniffe was there and provides this review of the concert and the latest CDs from this talented family.


PETER ELDRIDGE & LAUREN KINHAN AT DAZZLE JAZZ (February 9, 2012)
In the midst of a New York Voices tour of the Western US, Peter Eldridge and Lauren Kinhan came to Denver's Dazzle to perform what Eldridge called "a drive-by gig". With the assistance of several outstanding local musicians, they offered a sampling of their original and genre-blurring music. Thomas Cunniffe reviews the performance.


CURTIS FULLER & KEITH OXMAN AT DAZZLE, DENVER (April 13, 2012)
It might seem unlikely that a 77-year-old legend of bop trombone and a 53-year-old instrumental music teacher would create a lasting collaboration, but Curtis Fuller and Keith Oxman have done just that. Thomas Cunniffe reviews their latest performance at Denver's Dazzle night club.


ROBERTA GAMBARINI AND CONVERGENCE AT DAZZLE JAZZ (January 5, 2012)
In Denver for a four-night stand with the local sextet Convergence, vocalist Roberta Gambarini's set at Dazzle displayed the wide range of her talents. Thomas Cunniffe caught the last set of the opening night and offers this concert review.

MARYLYNN GILLASPIE AT LANNIE'S CLOCKTOWER CABARET, DENVER (March 4, 2012)
One of the founding members of the vocal jazz group Rare Silk, MaryLynn Gillaspie entertained a nearly-full house at Lannie's Clocktower Cafe in downtown Denver. While the majority of the program featured Gillaspie's fine work as a solo singer, Thomas Cunniffe's review notes that the highlight of the concert was a group performance of a Rare Silk chart by the late Todd Buffa.


GREG GARRISON'S IMPROVISED ROOTS AT DAZZLE JAZZ (January 13, 2012)
With the help of Dave Douglas, John Gunther, Aoife O'Donovan and Matt Flinner, Greg Garrison's Improvised Roots shattered the traditional genres of American music with intriguing music that challenged both the musicians and the audience. Thomas Cunniffe reviews their performance at Denver's Dazzle jazz club.

ERIC GUNNISON & ELLYN RUCKER AT DAZZLE, DENVER (June 14, 2012)
Eric Gunnison was Carmen McRae's accompanist for the last four years of her career. To honor McRae, Gunnison  performed several of her signature songs at Denver's Dazzle night club, featuring Ellyn Rucker's vocals and McRae's original trio arrangements. Thomas Cunniffe reviews the performance.


H2 BIG BAND: "YOU'RE IT!"

The debut CD of the H2 Big Band, co-led by Al Hood and Dave Hanson, features a wealth of talent and an excellent collections of arrangements by Hanson. Thomas Cunniffe reviews the CD and a concert performance.

JAZZ HISTORY ONLINE GOES EAST! (May 17-25, 2016)
In a reversal of Horace Greeley's advice, Thomas Cunniffe went east this spring to examine the possibilities of relocation, meet several friends and hear a lot of live music. In this special Concert Review, Cunniffe reports on the eight sets of music he heard in just one week. Featured artists include Duchess, Ryan Truesdell's Gil Evans Project, David Murray/Geri Allen/Terri Lyne Carrington Power Trio, Mike LeDonne's Groover Organ Quartet, Curtis Brothers Quartet, Meg Clifton & Victor North.

JIM HALL QUARTET AT DAZZLE JAZZ, DENVER (October 20, 2011)
In a rare Denver appearance, jazz guitar legend Jim Hall and his quartet performed subtle entrancing music for a sold-out crowd. In his review, Thomas Cunniffe reports that Hall's improvised lines are as stunning as ever, and his group listens and responds like few others.


RYAN KEBERLE & CATHARSIS AT SYNTAX PHYSIC OPERA (February 3, 2017)
Like John McNeil's acclaimed quartet Hush Point, Ryan Keberle's quintet Catharsis combines the aesthetics of cool jazz with the energy of contemporary music. With the intriguing front line of Keberle (trombone), Michael Rodriguez (trumpet) and Camila Meza (vocal and guitar), the group embraces the concepts of improvised counterpoint and simultaneous improvisation. Thomas Cunniffe reports on a live performance by this group at Denver's Syntax Physic Opera, and offers a brief history of the ensemble.

LAUREN KINHAN & THE ART OF INTERPRETATION (February 5, 2014)
In support of her newest album, "Circle in a Square", vocalist Lauren Kinhan returned to Denver's Soiled Dove for a performance which exhibited the depth of her musical world. Thomas Cunniffe, who considers Kinhan's album her best to date, offers his views on both the CD and the concert. 


MANHATTAN TRANSFER AT THE ORIENTAL THEATRE, DENVER (October 27, 2013)
At an energetic concert at Denver's Oriental Theatre, the Manhattan Transfer proved that they are still a vital force in vocal music. The group's founding member, Tim Hauser, was unable to travel due to illness, but Thomas Cunniffe reports that Hauser's place was ably filled by m-pact's bass, Trist Curless.


MANHATTAN TRANSFER/TAKE 6 "VOCAL SUMMIT" IN BOULDER (November 11, 2016)
Back in 2011, the Manhattan Transfer and the New York Voices joined forces for a pair of concerts. The "vocal summit" concept was so successful (artistically and commercially) that several of today's best vocal groups have staged these performances all over the world. One of these concerts, featuring the Manhattan Transfer and Take 6,  finally came to Colorado, and Thomas Cunniffe was there. He details their combined performance at Macky Auditorium in Boulder. 

JANE MONHEIT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF DENVER (October 18, 2011)
After enduring a decade of misguided criticism, Jane Monheit is now an established performer on the jazz scene. Thomas Cunniffe reviews a performance at the University of Denver that displayed Monheit as a worthy curator of the Great American Songbook.


NORTHERN COLORADO VOICES & THE SWINGLE SINGERS; GREELEY, CO (April 24, 2014)
For the opening night concert of the Greeley (Colorado) Jazz Festival presented the Swingle Singers and the Northern Colorado Voices. In his concert review, Thomas Cunniffe reports that the student group represented the finest of current vocal jazz trends, while the Swingles pointed the way to the future with their jaw-dropping performance. 


GRETCHEN PARLATO AT ROCKWOOD MUSIC HALL, NEW YORK CITY (December 6, 2012)
Music (and especially jazz) has the quality of a living organism, changing from night to night as its players find new avenues of expression. After a year of global touring, Gretchen Parlato and her band are recording live versions of songs previously issued on her studio albums. Nicky Schrire attended one of these live sessions in New York City, and offers this concert review. 


MARIA SCHNEIDER AND THE CU JAZZ ENSEMBLE I (November 18, 2011)

Culminating a four-day visit to the Boulder campus, composer/arranger Maria Schneider led the CU Jazz Ensemble I in a superb concert of her music. Thomas Cunniffe reports that the band and guest soloists John Gunther and Brad Goode played Schneider's music with precision and spirit.

JOHN SCOFIELD TRIO AT THE KING CENTER, DENVER (April 6, 2012)
At the closing concert of the University of Colorado-Denver's Guitar Fest, John Scofield and his trio offered a wide variety of styles in their single 80-minute set. Thomas Cunniffe was there, and he offers this concert review.


LUCIANA SOUZA AT THE JAZZ STANDARD, NEW YORK (February 13, 2013)
Hot on the heels of her Grammy nominations for "The Book of Chet" and "Duets III", Luciana Souza sang a three-day engagement at New York's Jazz Standard. Accompanied by one of her favorite guitarists, Romero Lubambo, she performed classics from the Brazilian and American songbooks. Nicky Schrire attended one of the performances and offers this concert review.


TIERNEY SUTTON BAND AT DAZZLE, DENVER (May 6, 2012)
One of the cohesive ensembles in jazz, the Tierney Sutton band played a two-night engagement at Denver's Dazzle nightclub which displayed incredible communication, both among themselves and to the audience. Thomas Cunniffe caught the Sunday night sets and offers this concert review.


THE SWINGLE SINGERS AT THE KING CENTER, DENVER (October 12, 2012)
In a dazzling concert at the King Center, the Swingle Singers made their first appearance in Denver in three years. They brought with them a new bass vocalist named Edward Randell, and Thomas Cunniffe reports that Randell is not only carrying on the tradition of his predecessors but adding his own distinctive mark to the group.


RYAN TRUESDELL: "CENTENNIAL: NEWLY DISCOVERED WORKS OF GIL EVANS"
Released to coincide with Gil Evans' 100th birthday, Ryan Truesdell's new album "Centennial" features ten previously unrecorded works by the iconic composer/arranger. Chris Coulter reviews both the album and a recent concert performance at the Jazz Standard in New York.

UNC/GREELEY JAZZ FESTIVAL (April 21-23, 2016)

The 46th annual UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival featured a remarkable array of guest artists including New York Voices, Ellis Marsalis, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Houston Person, Tamir Hendelman and Joey DeFrancesco. However, it was also a reunion of alumni from Greeley's University of Northern Colorado Jazz Studies department. Thomas Cunniffe, who is one of those alumni, offers an extended review of the festival.

THE 2012 VAIL JAZZ PARTY
For the past 18 years, Howard and Cathy Stone have hosted a world-class jazz party in Vail, Colorado. The party attracts loyal groups of musicians and fans who share a love for great music. Thomas Cunniffe reviews this year's festivities, which included Cyrille Aimée, Terell Stafford, Wycliffe Gordon, the Jeff Hamilton trio, Houston Person, James Carter, Niki Haris and the Clayton Brothers.

2014 VAIL JAZZ PARTY (August 29-September 1, 2014)
On the surface, the Vail Jazz Party doesn't change much from year to year. But the continuing programs like the multi-media tributes and the Gospel Prayer Meetin' have evolved over time, and each party includes fresh concepts, such as this year's piano duets set. Thomas Cunniffe, who has attended several Vail jazz parties, offers his impressions of the 20th anniversary edition in this month's Concert Review.

CHUCHO VALDES & THE AFRO-CUBAN MESSENGERS AT NEWMAN CENTER (February 14, 2012)
70 year old Cuban piano maestro Chucho Valdes brought his Afro-Cuban Messengers to the University of Denver's Newman Center for an exciting Valentine's Day concert. Jazz History Online's Latin jazz correspondent, Janine Santana was there and she offers this review.


ROSEANNA VITRO: "THE MUSIC OF RANDY NEWMAN"
One of the most versatile singers in jazz today, Roseanna Vitro has created stunning album-length tributes to Ray Charles and Bill Evans. Now there is a third: a remarkable exploration of the music of Randy Newman. Thomas Cunniffe reviews both the CD and a live performance.

KENNY WASHINGTON/MICHAEL O'NEILL AT 57TH ST GALLERY, OAKLAND (JUNE 16, 2012)
A longtime favorite of Bay Area audiences, vocalist Kenny Washington recently appeared with Michael O'Neill's Quintet at Oakland's 57th Street Gallery. Stacy Riley took a break from her San Francisco holiday for the performance, and submitted this concert review.