TOURING SHOWS AT DAZZLE IN THE DENVER PERFORMING ARTS COMPLEX

List Updated Monthly

These are the touring shows that are coming to Denver. All of the other shows on our website are top local musicians.

Joe Farnsworth

Wed., 1/24 – 6:30PM

Wed., 1/24 – 9PM

Eddie Henderson

Thurs., 2/1 – 6:30PM

Thurs., 2/1 – 9PM

Tierney Sutton and Tamir Hendelman

Sat., 2/17 – 6:30PM

Sat., 2/17 – 8:30PM

WHEE3TRIO

Sun., 2/25 6:30PM

Sasha Berliner

Tues., 2/27 6:30PM

JKJO (Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey)

Tues., 3/5 – 6:30PM

Tues., 3/5 – 9PM

Blue Note 85th Anniversary Tour

Thur., 3/7 – 7PM

Thur., 3/7 – 7PM & 9:30PM

Remy Le Beouf’s Assembly of Shadows

Sat., 3/9 – 6:30PM

Willie Jones III & Houston Person

Wed., 3/13 – 6:30PM

Wed., 3/13 – 9PM

Thur., 3/14 – 6:30PM

Thur., 3/14 – 9PM

Ethan Iverson

Thurs., 3/28 – 6:30PM

Thurs., 3/28 – 9PM

John Scofield Trio with Vicente Archer and Bill Stewart

Thur., 4/4 – 6:30PM

Thur., 4/4 – 9PM

Fri., 4/5 – 6:30PM

Fri., 4/5 – 9PM

Donny McCaslin

Thur., 4/11 – 7PM

Thur., 4/11 – 9:30PM

Kenny Garrett and Sounds from the Ancestors

Thur., 4/18 – 7PM

Thur., 4/18 – 9:30PM

Fri., 4/19 – 7PM

Fri., 4/19 – 9:30PM

Updated: November 22, 2023

BRANDEE YOUNGER AT DAZZLE

Brandee Younger

June 4, 2023

Dazzle, Denver

By Geoff Anderson

A version of this article was published on AllAboutJazz.com on June 12, 2023.

The harp is far from a common jazz instrument and the list of famous jazz harpists is a short one. In fact, the list of significant jazz harpists probably numbers about two: Alice Coltrane and Dorothy Ashby. There have been a few others here and there, but none that had the impact of those two. But wait, there’s a new contender on the scene: Brandee Younger. Sunday night at Dazzle, Younger stated her case for expanding that short list of significant jazz harpists.

A person playing guitar on stage

Description automatically generated with low confidence

The harp brings a different sound to jazz. Often associated, in popular culture, with angels floating among the clouds, it seems antithetical to jazz’s often boisterous, gritty, slice-of-life soundscape. But the scope and sounds of jazz are wide and if a player can make an unusual instrument work somewhere within the big jazz tent, he or she will be welcomed.

At age 39, Younger has been playing for several years in a variety of contexts ranging from classical to hip hop. She’s also worked as an educator at several institutions of higher education including New York University and the New School, among others. But it was her albums on Impulse! that started to catch the attention of many in the jazz world, Somewhere Different (Impulse! 2021) and Brand New Life (Impulse! 2023).

A person and person playing instruments on a stage

Description automatically generated with low confidence

Sunday night at Dazzle, Younger brought all her myriad influences with her along with bassist Rashaan Carter and drummer Allan Mednard. She filled her set with tunes from those aforementioned albums, alternating with songs by her harp heroes, Alice Coltrane and Dorothy Ashby (who else?). She began her set with “Rama, Rama,” a composition by Alice Coltrane. This one had an ethereal, floating atmosphere tailor made for the heavenly sonics of her pedal harp. Her original, “Love and Struggle” from Somewhere Different followed. This one, as befitting the title, had a bit more of an edge to it. Another original, “Unrest” followed. She explained that she wrote that song during the pandemic and was inspired by events happening right outside her window.

A person singing into a microphone on a stage

Description automatically generated with low confidence

Another Alice Coltrane piece followed, “Turiya and Ramakrishna” and then her own “Moving Target” from Brand New Life. That one incorporated a busy rhythm section, especially the drum part. The hyperactive rhythmic activity contrasted nicely with the relaxed harp floating overhead. She then incorporated her other heroine, Dorothy Ashby, into the act with her composition “You’re a Girl for One Man Only,” which also appears on Brand New Life.

A solo piece followed, Stevie Wonder’s “If It’s Magic” also from Brand New Life. Younger explained that it was Ashby that played the harp part on Wonder’s original recording which appeared on Songs in the Key of Life (Tamla, 1976). “Spirit U Will” was from Somewhere Different and had one of the sharper edges of the evening, again creating tension with the rhythm section while the harp drifted above the fray in a gauzy reverie.

Perhaps Younger’s biggest challenge of the evening was the Denver Nuggets. Making their way to the NBA finals for the first time in team history, Game 2 of the series began only a few blocks from Dazzle shortly before Younger’s first set. She thanked the audience more than once for choosing her band over the game. Indeed, the first set sold out, even in the face of championship hoops. But the Nuggets have played dozens of games in Denver this season. What Denver hasn’t seen is jazz harp played like this. It was a one-of-a-kind evening.

A group of people playing instruments

Description automatically generated

Set List

Rama, Rama (Alice Coltrane)

Love and Struggle (Original)

Unrest (Pandemic piece, original)

Turiya and Ramakrishna (Alice Coltrane)

Moving Target (Original)

You’re a Girl for One Man Only (Dorothy Ashby)

If it’s Magic (Stevie Wonder)

Spirit U Will (Original)

Tickled Pink (Original)

The Band

Brandee Younger, pedal harp

Allan Mednard drums

Rashaan Carter bass