Joel Ross, Shamie Royston and more
It’s always nice to discover an excellent vibraphone practitioner. It’s an unwieldy instrument to take on the road, and few artists have dedicated themselves to playing it in a jazz context recently. But nothing beats the sounds (and vibes) that vibrations can produce in the right hands.
Joel Ross is only in his twenties, but he has already made a name for himself on the instrument, employing a gentle, contemplative approach that sets him apart. His new release on historic Blue Note label, “The Parable Of The Poet,” recreates a Sunday church service, and his heartfelt compositions reflect soft spiritual jazz as well as the music’s grittier side, as if channeling ideas by the eternal Charles Mingus. “Parable” is the kind of album that begs to be heard all the way through, and in that sense it’s reminiscent of many ’60s Blue Note releases, not unlike those recorded by vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, who provided in the world so many timeless sessions.
The pandemic has put a damper on Ross’ touring schedule, but he’ll be in Denver with his quartet at Dazzle on August 16. He’s an instrumental voice that deserves our attention, and I suspect he’s only just beginning to become one of the major players in the future of music. Tickets are $20-$35 for each of its 7 and 9:30 p.m. sets. For more, head to dazzledenver.com.
Shamie Royston, a brilliant pianist, composer and bandleader who was born in Colorado and raised as a member of the Denver jazz community, is receiving well-deserved accolades: she will be the first recipient of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice at Ucross Award. This recognition is the result of a collaboration between the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston and the Ucross Foundation, an artist residency program based in northern Wyoming. In addition to the two-week residency at Ucross, Royston will receive a $2,000 stipend. More importantly, this award should help solidify her reputation as one of the best artists working in jazz today. The range of talent that has been (and continues to be) fostered in the Denver area is remarkable.
Here is your final, free City Park Jazz dates for 2022: life affirmation Jakarta Band appears on July 31, and the Colorado Mambo Orchestra plays on August 7. Find out more at cityparkjazz.org… the organizers of the Telluride Jazz Festival have assembled an eclectic lineup for the annual festivities from August 12-14, including Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terence Blanchard, Rufus Reid and what is mentioned above Joel Ross. In the past, I’ve found this to be a worthy destination event. Get tickets and accommodation info at telluridejazz.org…there’s a five-course dinner and a tribute to the saxophonist Cannonball Adderley at the Denver Nocturne on August 7… the popular pink martini entertains at the Arvada Performing Arts Center on August 21… the Moderno Latin Jazz Quintet to appear at Nocturne on August 26… the prolific pianist Fred Hersch brings his Denver trio to Dazzle on September 2.
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