Concert Reviews


The Soiled Dove, a 300-seat club in East Denver was transformed into an intimate cabaret on June 6, 2019, as Cyrille Aimée presented her jazzy interpretations of Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway songs. Thomas Cunniffe was there, and in this Concert Review, he reports that the music’s presentation varied considerably from her recent CD, as Cyrille used a reduced instrumentation (piano and bass) and added detailed introductions of the songs.

The Swingles Jazz

The Swingles at Lakewood Cultural Center (March 16, 2019)

The loss of a voice can be traumatic to a chamber vocal group. The Swingles arrived for their concert in Lakewood, Colorado, minus one pivotal member, lead soprano Federica Basile, who was unable to travel due to a delayed US artist visa. The group members did some crafty editing of their arrangements, and performed 6-voice versions, with everyone in the group helping to cover the missing soprano notes. Thomas Cunniffe, a longtime fan of the group, reviewed the concert, and reports that the program was still entertaining and that there were no obvious gaps in the harmony.

Chucho Valdes’ Afro-Cuban Messengers at the DU Newman Center, Denver (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.

Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom at Green Mill, Chicago (October 20, 2017)

Although Allison Miller’s sextet Boom Tic Boom had just played an acclaimed set at the Chicago Jazz Festival over the Labor Day weekend, she was back in Chicago (with a somewhat different personnel) for a mid-October gig at the Green Mill. Thomas Cunniffe was on a working holiday in the Windy City, and he offers a review of two sets from the Friday 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.

Peter Eldridge & Lauren Kinhan at Dazzle, Denver (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.

Anat and Avishai Cohen at the Wolf Theatre, 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.

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 offers this concert review.

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.

Kurt Elling and the Swingles at the Soiled Dove, Denver (December 5, 2017)

On a chilly night in Denver, Kurt Elling and the Swingles heated up the stage of the Soiled Dove with an eclectic repertoire of jazz, pop, folk, blues and holiday favorites. Thomas Cunniffe was in attendance, and he writes about the spectacular performances by Elling and the Swingles, Elling’s outstanding new band, and of a quickly-devised encore that involved all of the singers.

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.

UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival (April 21-23, 2016)

The 46th annual 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.

Greg Garrison’s Improvised Roots at Dazzle Jazz, Denver (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.

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.

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