I don’t know how it happened, whether it’s just the result of musicians making up for about two years of missed touring, good karma returning or just how it crumbles, cookie-wise, but Denver and the surrounding areas are spoiled with a bevy of fantastic concert options. So many that I’m devoting my entire column to five of the best bets for an evening out.
Any live music fan will tell you that there’s nothing like a good homecoming show. The atmosphere is always a bit more electric when the audience recognizes the performers as their people.
It’s been six years since the Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra (CJRO) played the Lone Tree Arts Center, 10075 Commons St., but that time afield ends at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 26 with Back by Popular Demand: The CJRO Returns.
“We got our start at the Lone Tree Arts Center and were there for about two-and-a-half years,” said Art Bouton, the bandleader who founded the orchestra in 2012. “In that time, we’ve turned from a one-person shop to an organization that has a payroll that can pay the best professional musicians to perform.”
The reintroduction show will feature classic big band numbers like “Take the `A’ Train,” “You Make Me Feel So Young,” “Moanin,” and “More Today Than Yesterday,” as well as some new arrangements featuring the work of artistic and music director Drew Zaremba. Vocalist Marion Powers will be featured in the concert, which Bouton said will show how much the orchestra’s skill has grown.
“It means a tremendous amount to come back to Lone Tree, especially because on the jazz side, we’re the professional equivalent of the Colorado Symphony,” he said. “If you’re a lover of classic big band or jazz of any time, you’ll really be pleased with this concert.”
Tickets can be purchased by calling 720-509-1000 or by visiting www.coloradojazz.org/concerts or call the LTAC box office at 720-509-1000.
John Mayer at the Ball Arena
John Mayer is one of those artists we just take for granted these days, which he seems to enjoy. He’s embraced all his influences and interests, channeling them into the simultaneously sincere and winking 2021 album, “Sob Rock.” But don’t let all that make you forget he’s also a scorchingly good guitarist, who weaves blues, folk and pop into his work.
After several years touring with Dead & Company (and some COVID-related delays), Mayer is back hitting the road in support of his solo work and stops by the Ball Arena, 1000 Chopper Circle in Denver, at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 27.
Get your tickets at www.ticketmaster.com.
Tyler, The Creator and Vince Staples at Ball Arena
Over the last 15 years or so, Tyler the Creator and Vince Staples have been making some of the most adventurous, forward-looking rap in the genre, and in 2021, both shared top-notch albums.
Tyler’s “Call Me If You Get Lost” is one of his best and most beautiful records yet and Staples’ self-titled latest effort showcases his lyrical power while using beats both skeletal and haunting.
People looking for an example of hip-hop mainstays who are still evolving and getting better as a result, shouldn’t miss Tyler, Staples, Kali Uchis and Teezo Touchdown at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29 at Ball Arena, 1000 Chopper Circle in Denver.
For information and tickets, visit www.ticketmaster.com.
Nation of Language at the Bluebird Theater
New York’s Nation of Language are one of the best modern purveyors of the kind of new wave music that made some of the best music of the 1980s. But there’s nothing derivative about their music and the way they use synths is both propulsive and groovy.
On both of their two albums - including last year’s stellar “A Way Forward” - the group has produced collections of songs that are so good they both sound like greatest hits records. They’re stopping by the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax Ave. in Denver at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29, which is the perfect venue for their tunes. Get tickets at www.ticketmaster.com.
Beach House at the Mission Ballroom
I’m not sure when the exact point is that a band turns into a hall-of-fame band, but with nearly 10 albums in about 15 years, Baltimore’s Beach House work like they’re racing to build one of the best discographies in indie rock. The duo - Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally - have consistently explored the fuzzy, reverb-drenched reaches of their sound and, in the process, created some startingly lovely music.
In February the band released “Once Twice Melody,” one of their most luminous albums yet. You can catch them at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30 at the Mission Ballroom, 4242 Wynkoop St. in Denver.
Secure tickets at www.axs.com.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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