New jazz releases from Colorado-based trumpeters and more

A pair of new releases featuring Colorado-based trumpeters once again show the prominence and ingenuity of creative artists from our state.

East Coast composer and big bandleader David Sanford has just released the powerful “A Prayer For Lester Bowie” on Dave Douglas’ (also a visionary trumpeter) Greenleaf Music label. Sanford’s expansive arrangements help make for one of the more engaging large-group albums of the year, and the music alternates between raucous and pensive. CU associate professor of Jazz Studies Brad Goode is present in the brass section, and fellow area trumpeter-academic Hugh Ragin is given

the well-deserved spotlight at crucial points in the album’s hour-plus runtime.

Ragin, who also performs as part of the historic Art Ensemble of Chicago, contributes the album’s title composition, which pays homage to Bowie, the well-loved original Art Ensemble trumpeter, who brought irreverence (and much more) to that band. Ragin conducts his own piece as well as soloing, and it’s a deep, resonant listening experience. “Prayer” provides a vital boost to 21st-century big-band jazz.

Meanwhile, Joshua Trinidad, yet another thoughtful Colorado trumpeter, brings us “Sleeping With My Worries” (Subcontinental Records). As opposed to Sanford’s orchestral setting, this one is just Trinidad playing his horn and interacting with his own minimal electronics. It’s an introspective, brief journey that’s just as fascinating as “Prayer,” but on a smaller scale.

Trinidad’s solos bring to mind the otherworldly (or fourth-worldly, as he might have put it) avant-gardist Jon Hassell, who passed away this year. Trinidad is an artist who is deserving of your recognition, and you can listen, and perhaps order a copy of “Sleeping” here:


John Coltrane has been gone for 54 years, but somehow, music is still being released under his name at a much speedier clip than, say, Adele. Every annual unearthing of a lost recording from the saxophonist is worth hearing, and sometimes it turns out to be something to savor. Luckily that’s the case with “A Love Supreme: Live in Seattle” (Impulse!)

Recorded at The Penthouse in Washington on Oct. 2, 1965, few knew of this tape’s existence. Considering the wear of time travel, the music sounds surprisingly alive. While Coltrane is at his authoritative best on tenor, the other members of this classic quartet show their considerable strengths. Bassist Jimmy Garrison, drummer Elvin Jones and pianist McCoy Tyner all take turns bringing this music to its fruition, which serves to remind us of what a spectacular group this was, surely one of the finest in all of jazz.

At 75 minutes, this version of the “A Love Supreme” suite is more than twice as long as the original studio version, and everyone gets to explore its possibilities in front of the club’s small crowd. Bassist Donald Rafael Garrett and saxophonists Carlos Ward and Pharoah Sanders expand the group to a septet, and everyone, with the exception of Sanders, is a ghost now. I’m grateful to be in the presence of this music.


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More jazz in November: The Vlad Girshevich trio performs on Wednesdays, and saxophonist Briana Harris and her quartet appear on Saturdays at Denver’s Nocturne. … Denver saxophonist and educator Keith Oxman plays the Denver Press Club on Nov. 18. … At Dazzle, see the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra Nov. 9 and Nelson Rangell Nov. 20.

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