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.
Colorado jazz fans were offered a rare treat with two performances by composer/bandleader Maria Schneider in just under two weeks. In addition to a four-day workshop with student musicians from the University of Colorado in Boulder, Schneider brought her entire New York-based orchestra to the Lakewood Cultural Center for a sold-out concert. Thomas Cunniffe was at both concerts and in his review, he notes how the combined repertoire of the concerts offered a unique overview of Schneider’s evolution as a composer.
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.
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.
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.
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 singer 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.
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.
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.
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.
For the Tierney Sutton Band, it’s all about the arrangements. Over the past 25 years, the group has created and developed an enormous book, from which they assemble their live and recorded performances. When they appeared at Denver’s Newman Center, they acquiesced to the concert posters and presented a concert of Sting songs. Thomas Cunniffe reports that the music successfully reached both the jazz and pop fans in the audience.
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.