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.
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.
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.
When an artist goes on the road to promote a new album, the sounds which come from the bandstand may be significantly different than what was captured in the studio. In the case of bassist/vocalist Katie Thiroux, those differences came from a change in the personnel of her touring group. Thomas Cunniffe reviews Thiroux’s live performance at the Denver nightclub, Nocturne, and compares the music played there to Thiroux’s new CD, Off Beat.
In what is fast becoming a holiday tradition, Kurt Elling performed a spectacular concert at Denver’s Soiled Dove. This year, he sang two separate sets, one of Holiday music (from his album The Beautiful Day) and the other featuring protest music (from The Questions and the new digital EP, The Questions–LIVE). Thomas Cunniffe reviews both concert sets and the live EP in this Concert Review.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.