If you are feeling the blues, maybe a good cocktail and a bit of jazz are just what you need. Fortunately, the jazz scene around Denver is pretty vibrant and as smooth as a sax solo on a Friday night.
To get your Jazz fix, here are some spots you can go to:
If you are talking about Jazz in Denver, the first place to go to is the pioneer in the scene: El Chapultepec. Every Jazz fan in Denver knows to go to the corner of the 20th and Market. They are considered the oldest Jazz club in Denver, serving up the blues every night since 1933.
1962 Market St. Denver, CO 80202
Herbs’ motto is low on pretension, high on energy, and the club certainly lives up to it. If you are looking for a Jazz club at Denver’s LoDo scene, this is the spot. Great bands paired with creative, yet inexpensive cocktails make for a very smooth night. If you are in the mood to sing or play yourself, Herbs wants you to come down and bring your voice and your Axe on their Hump Day Funk Jam. Just check out their calendars for the dates
2057 Larimer St. Denver, CO 80205
Probably the premier jazz spot in Denver. They have featured some of the best local and national jazz artists like Joe Lovano, The Bad Plus, and Kurt Elling. It was listed as one of the top 100 jazz clubs in the world by DownBeat magazine too. To top it off, they also established their own vinyl record store so that Jazz enthusiasts has another mode to enjoy the music.
1512 Curtis St. Denver, CO 80202
Nocturne is a pretty young contender on this list as they only opened in 2014, but that they already belong on this list speaks volumes of what they offer the Denver Jazz scene. What started out as a warehouse in RiNo, turned into an acoustically designed room to optimize the blues from the bands and artists. Their Artist in Residency program explores modern and classic jazz as never before as artists engage in an 8-week performance. So for straight ahead to funky, Nocturne has got you covered.
1330 27th St. Denver, CO 80205
The Crimson Room
If you are looking for a more intimate setting with a touch of sophistication, just check out this cozy place behind a glossy red door at downtown Denver’s historic Larimer Square. Wear your fancy clothes and experience some of Denver’s best Jazz and Acoustic acts nightly.
1403 Larimer St. Denver, CO 80202
Q&A Artist Feature: Comic Book Creator R. Alan Brooks and The Burning Metronome
It’s 5 o’clock on what seems like just a normal Friday afternoon but there’s already an almost palpable. artistic, and lively vibe buzzing within the eclectic walls of Mutiny Cafe as I walk through the front door. Scattered groups of colorful people mill around in an all-embracing dance of a shared love for everything from books and comics to classic rock posters and painted artwork hanging above flyer covered windows looking out onto Broadway. The place reeks of brewing coffee and inspiration; the perfect atmosphere to meet comic book creator creator, R. Alan Brooks. I take my seat next to him at a corner table inundated by the late day sun in order to talk about his latest creation, The Burning Metronome.
You recently released your first graphic novel, The Burning Metronome. What is the significance behind the title?
Well, as music geeks know, metronomes keep time in music. So the idea of one that’s burning conjures the image of time running out, which I like.
Is this your first major writing endeavor and if so, why a graphic novel?
I’ve been reading comic books since I was 5, and only decided to try writing them a few years ago. Comics are a unique medium, because when you’re reading one, you’re essentially collaborating with its creators to determine the pace and rhythm of the story. You decide how quickly the page turns, and how much time you spend looking at the art. There are methods comic creators can use to encourage you to speed up or slow down, but ultimately, it’s up to you. Even movies can’t do that. And that’s something that I love about comic books.
I’ve known you a while now, particularly as a hip-hop artist. What was this writing process like for you? Did the ideas come as easily?
Generally, ideas come pretty easily, but the execution of those ideas is the real work. Any artist ,aspiring or professional, can often pluck ideas out of the air, but it doesn’t matter if we aren’t willing to do the work to craft those ideas into finished products. So, once I have an idea, the next step for me is to mold it into something that is entertaining to people besides myself. Because, after all, I can only buy so many copies of my own book.
Graphic novels are like comic books in a sense that they use sequential art to drive the story, but this format tends to lead to more stand-alone stories and complex plots. So what is the story within The Burning Metronome?
The Burning Metronome is about six courageous explorers who find themselves trapped in a world where they encounter the strangest creatures they’ve ever seen: human beings. It’s basically a supernatural murder mystery with social commentary; kind of a Twilight-Zone-meets-Usual-Suspects type of story.
Did the comics you grew up on or ones you are currently reading have any influence over your own work?
Comics like Watchmen, Kingdom Come, and X-men all featured social commentary, and strongly influenced me as a kid. More recently, Ex-Machina, Hawkeye, Black Science, and Kill or Be Killed and others have made me more aware of what can done with genre storytelling in comics.
Who did you work with on this project and how did that relationship come to fruition?
I wrote the script and my partner Matt Strackbein did all the color art and lettering. Matt and I met just under 2 years ago at a birthday party for a mutual friend and we immediately began to talk about ways we could collaborate. Frankly, I was lucky to be able to work with him because his design work has appeared around the world, and he’s been published by Dark Horse Comics.
What do you hope readers take away from the story?
Once you read The Burning Metronome, my first hope is that you’ll enjoy it. My second hope is that you’ll find some encouraging and different ways to look at your own life, and that you’ll feel enriched for having read it.
You were at Comic Con in Denver this year. What was that experience like as a writer and what was the fan reaction to The Burning Metronome?
Wonderful. It was crazy to connect with so many people who were enthusiastic about something I created with Matt, and have them so excited about what we were doing. It was so cool and emotionally fulfilling that I frankly can’t imagine it having gone better.
Have other reviews and fan comments exceeded your expectations?
So far, so good. Ha! People have been very generous with their feedback, and I’m very thankful.
Sometimes there tends to be a steady stream of new work hitting the market without much of a break between projects. Are you currently writing a follow up or working on any other projects?
I’m actually outlining the second story arc of The Burning Metronome now. Also, I’m writing Falling Deep, a comic that Gerhard Kaaihue is drawing. That’s a secret agent story, which is really an exploration of love and divorce.
In addition, I’m continuing to write a children’s comic called The Adventures of Captain Colorado for Pop Culture Classroom, an educational non-profit that puts on Denver Comic Con.
Finally, I’m on my second draft of a film script for a director in Atlanta.
There seems to be a resurgence in both the comic book and graphic novel industry and it’s sort of the cool thing to do now. What is the scene like here in Denver?
It’s full of talented and generous people who all support each other’s endeavors in really dope ways. I love being part of this community.
Copies of The Burning Metronome for purchase can be found at various comic book shops, at Mutiny Cafe, or online at: www.theburningmetronome.com
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SZA’s ambient, down tempo style has shone no brighter than it does on her latest effort aptly entitled ‘CTRL’. SZA has been releasing quality music for the last several years now, however this body of work is the most all encompassing showcase of her evolving skill set. Not only is SZA a world class vocalist, she validates her songwriting ability and places herself amongst the best of her contemporaries. That is a special combination. Although she has become known for her softer and smoother vocal stylings, in this latest project she takes on ambitious, powerful vocals especially when gliding over stripped down acoustic guitar heavy selections like the album’s opening track “Supermodel”. She manages to navigate through these various vocal frameworks flawlessly with each style bringing something new but necessary to the project.
‘CTRL’ also includes relevant and exceptional guest features from; Travis Scott, Kendrick Lamar, Isiah Rashad and James Fauntleroy. While the first three artists mentioned are rappers by definition, not one of these appearances feel forced or inappropriate for the sultry vibe of the album. Especially in the cases of Travis Scott and Isiah Rashad, SZA constructs a refreshing take on the RnB duet which is so often painfully predictable. Never being afraid to ditch the classic hook, verse, hook recipe for a more conversational approach with the featured artists firmly intertwined into the fabric of the song. With phenomenal writing and incredible production SZA has conceived one of the most enjoyable projects in the genre in the last several years.
If nothing else can be said about ‘CTRL’, it quickly becomes obvious that it’s shockingly honest style fashions an incredibly relatable work of art. While I am not a twenty-something black woman, I do know quite a few and no album has mimicked the narrative they relay to me with the precision SZA has on this album. She gives a full illustration of her most personal and vulnerable thoughts as she delves into issues of empowerment, liberation, loneliness and self love. There does not come an age where one doesn’t battle with these concepts, but SZA manages to communicate this album’s concepts perfectly through her lens and gives us a deeper understanding of herself and women like her. The content of ‘CTRL’ is unabashedly given from the perspective of a millennial woman and no track may better describe that sentiment than her closing selection “20 Something”. SZA sums up the battle so many people in her age bracket face on the chorus singing,
“Stuck in them 20 somethings, stuck in them 20 somethings, Good luck on them 20 somethings, good luck on them 20 somethings, But God bless these 20 somethings(God bless, oh God bless, oh God bless, oh God bless, oh) Hopin’ my 20 somethings won’t end, Hopin’ to keep the rest of my friends, Prayin’ the 20 somethings don’t kill me, don’t kill me”
Although that can appear gimmicky on the surface, SZA takes no shortcuts giving us the full complexity of navigating through an increasingly difficult social and political world. She turns what could be a juvenile conversations about pussy into deep discussions about the need for female respect and empowerment in her collaboration with her TDE label-mate Kendrick Lamar on “Doves in the Wind”, as Kendrick spits, “And good pussy is rather dangerous/ pussy can be so facetious, the heavyweight champ/ pussy is so undefeated, let’s amen to that” .
The album unashamedly ventures into other genre’s without ever abandoning SZA’s unique melodramatic style, bending from the pop heavy influence on her lead single “Drew Barrymore” to the 90’s RnB laced chorus on “Weekend” , which could have come right out of the TLC/SWV playbook. https://youtu.be/
There are also 80’s influenced songs like “Prom” and contemporary RnB tracks like her latest single “Broken Clocks”. The album, ‘CTRL’, at times is deeply nostalgic often making references to the 90’s staples much of her core fan base came of age around. Songs like “Go Gina” reinforces the albums theme and just who it was written for and about. The album at its core is a beautiful therapeutic session with songs like “Normal Girl” and “Garden (Say It Like Dat)” highlighting insecurities that strain our daily lives and especially take a toll on our romantic relationships. With verses like,
“I need your support now (now, now, now, now, now)/ I know you’d rather be layin’ up with a big booty/ Body hella positive ’cause she got a big booty (wow)/ I know I’d rather be paid up/ You know I’m sensitive about havin’ no booty, havin’ no body, only you buddy/ Can you hold me when nobody’s around us”.
With this album SZA has emerged as an integral voice in an all to often misunderstood generation. While SZA definitely has the pulse of the female audience her appeal absolutely crosses gender lines. As my close friend put it “SZA’s music inspires to find a girl I want to burn one with and marry”. While that may be a reduction of SZA’s ability to create deep thinking yet down to earth music, his sentiment runs concurrently through many of my peers. While the majority of the album is down tempo and jazz bass infused there is a particularly interestingly interlude entitled “Wavy” which provides a short, very singable change of pace within the album. This album only will only serve as one of many beautiful projects from SZA as we look forward to what is destined to be a long and successful career.There is no reason to not have this album in your catalog and give it quite a few spins!!
Singles: Broken Clocks, Love Galore, Drew Barrymore
Personal Favorites: Doves in the Wind, The Weekend, Wavy (Interlude) and Garden (Say It Like Dat)
The Annie remake is gearing up for release later this year, and now anticipating fans get to watch a second trailer that delves deeper into the plot of the nostalgic film.
The movie features a star-studded cast from Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, Bobby Cannavale, Rose Byrne, and newcomer Quvenzhané Wallis.
Check out the exciting trailer above and mark your calendars for December 19 when Annie hits theaters.