New this month:
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.
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
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
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)
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
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.
LAUREN KINHAN & THE ART OF INTERPRETATION (February 5, 2014)
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
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)
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
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)
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)
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.