Saturday, August 27, 2016

Denver's Vibrant JAZZ Scene

Denver has a special place in American jazz history, notably for the accounts Jack Kerouac recorded of his time in Denver in the iconic novel On the Road. At the time Kerouac was writing and travelling, the jazz clubs on Larimer street and in Denver's Five Points neighborhood would have featured performances by legends such as Miles Davis and Billie Holiday. These days those areas have gentrified into Lo-Do with high rents, but they are still hipster cool with restaurants, clubs, and hangouts. And Denver's jazz scene is thriving. Colorado is host to many great music festivals in the High Country, from the Vail Jazz Festival to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and many visitors head through town on the way to those fests. Still, in Denver residents can see great jazz any night of the week. And, it's not just limited to the long-time jazz standard El Chepultepec. Recently, writer and former Denver Post travel editor Mim Swartz took a look at all the opportunities to enjoy the finer offerings of America's sound. As she notes for us: Denver's Jazz Scene Today is So Cool, man.

Of course, Dazzle Jazz — a slightly funky lounge and supper club in Denver’s Capitol Hill — has been a mainstay of the local jazz scene for nearly 20 years. Downbeat magazine has named it among the top 100 jazz clubs in the world. The club not only imports big names, it also features local talent. Good local talent. In some cases, great local talent. And where else can you go for lunch on a Friday and hear jam sessions with such a polished pianist/vocalist as Ellyn Rucker (she hosts there on the last Friday of the month, while various musicians sit in). Lucky for us, elegant Ellyn also plays gigs elsewhere in Denver. Other clubs have cropped up in the last several years, like Nocturne in the River North District and The Crimson Room in Larimer Square, both classy, sophisticated spots that make me feel like I’m in New York.

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