A forward-thinking quartet is set to play Denver’s Dazzle on June 9, and their performances will mark something of a homecoming for the band’s drummer.
Anyone familiar with the local jazz scene in recent years will nod in appreciation at the mention of Colin Stranahana percussionist who impressed many coloradans as a teenager, before winning the prestigious Thelonious Monk Drum Competition in 2012. Since then he has resided in Brooklyn (although he tells me it is a shared residence between New York and Colorado since the start of the pandemic).
Stranahan keeps the drum chair in Gender People, a group of composers and conductors who have been together for a few years. Their new recording, “Head Towards the Center,” combines aspects of freedom in their playing with a sense of camaraderie that shows a confidence that often takes a long time to develop. It’s a group of musicians who know how to listen and respond to each other.
“We were talking during the pandemic about recording something representative of the times. There were a lot of projects about COVID and negativity. We all started bringing music, on Zoom calls, and planning things. In the summer of 2021, we settle in safely in the studio. We’re really happy to have other music to offer people,” says Stranahan.
Kind Folk’s latest album is often excellent in its ideas and execution. The four members (Stranahan, trumpeter John Raymond, alto saxophonist Alex LoRe and bassist Noam Wiesenberg) have concocted a demanding and easy-to-absorb set of music. no small feat. The band takes its name from a composition by the late trumpet player Kenny Wheeler, and if you’re open to this artist’s intuitive approach to music, you’ll find a lot to like about “Head Towards the Center.”
As for Dazzle’s June 9 concert, Stranahan says we can “expect a night of new music.” A music that everyone can identify with and from which we can take something away. Expect a joyous evening filled with love and music.
What more could you want?
Kind Folk Quartet, Dazzle Jazz, June 9 at 7 p.m. Tickets $15-35. Get details about dazzledenver.com.
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As we process the news of Ellyn Rucker by the way, it’s heartwarming to take an hour and listen to his 1993 performance and talk on the NPR mainstay “Marian McPartland’s Jazz Piano.” In the program, she discusses her rich history as a performer up to that point, as well as her contentment with life in Denver. I will remember her as a charming, intelligent person who interprets standards with extraordinary sensitivity. Her piano and vocal skills were equally marvelous, as anyone who has encountered her in many Denver clubs over the decades can attest. Rest in peace.
More jazz in June:
The City Park Jazz program includes free performances by Mariachi sol de mi terra June 12, Hazel Miller and the Collective june 19, drummer Paa Kow June 26 and Colorado Jazz Repertoire Orchestra July 3. More details on cityparkjazz.org. … The accomplished pianist Tigran Hamasyan plays at the Boulder Theater on June 8. … Femi Kuti and the positive force will perform a free show at the Levitt Pavilion on June 15. …Smooth saxophonist Kim Waters appears at the Soiled Dove Underground on June 17. … New Orleans ‘ Trombone shortswho just released a new album, “Lifted”, performs Red Rocks on June 28. … Appearing at Denver’s Nocturne in June: the Sextet by Ken Walker the 25th, and the Trio of large swings every Sunday. …The Features of the Jazz Aspen Snowmass June Experience Bria Skonberg, Christian McBride, Kamasi Washington, Wycliffe Gordon and more, from June 23 to 26. Information: jazzaspensnowmass.org.
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