Last Sunday night proved for me an accommodating and musically expanding experience. I was taken to Dazzle, a small jazz venue featuring a bar and lounge. Having arrived late, I was immediately disappointed to learn that the unnamed group, composed of Tony Monaco, Greg Fundis and Fareed Haque, was about to perform their last set. Making the decision that it would be better to save the $22 that would only purchase admittance to half of the show, the choice was made to leave the venue. Exiting the building, my friends and I pondered our next move for the rest of the night. With less than a minute’s worth of discussion, a man who was previously posting adds to the building’s wall entered our circle of discussion. Hearing our attempts to find another concert in the same evening, this man, who later introduced himself as Adam, led us back into Dazzle. Adam exchanged words with the hostess, who then led us, free of charge, behind a curtain that shrouded the entrance of the venue. We were then directed to a table beside the stage to hear the music.
The combination of Dazzle’s generous hospitality and the music I would soon experience rendered my first Denver jazz experience worthwhile. With an upbeat one-two-three-four count, the trio of musicians capitalized on the first note of the song. Perfect timing and balance from instrument to instrument displayed how precisely the three coordinated their abilities into one piece of music. The first song featured exchanging guitar and keyboard solos between a reoccurring theme played by both musicians. The drummer, meanwhile, kept constant a beat with a flurry of ride cymbal and snare drum patterns. Earning a standing applause after that set, the trio was encouraged one last song by the audience. Looking to each other before performing, the trio nodded and returned to their instruments. The same count down as before started the beginning of their last song. Redirecting my attention from the instruments to the musicians, I noticed for the first time their ability to communicate to one another while playing.In the midst of the main theme, the drummer and guitarist could be seen locking eyes and signaling to their instruments. Moments later, the main theme dropped out smoothly into a drum solo. Never before had I heard a drum set sing like I had then. Perfectly was the drummer able to incorporate the different sounds the kit can produce. Switching between tom-tom and cymbal usage, the drummer showed that, even with a percussive instrument, he too could add to a song’s melody. Every eight bars the main theme, played by the keyboardist and guitarist would separate the drum solo into little increments before one last entrance into the chorus by all three band members. The song ended with with a slower tempo and one last blues riff on the keyboard to calmly close out the otherwise energetic performance. Thank you to Dazzle, for hosting a wonderful set of musicians and providing us an accommodating visit to your venue, and thank you to the band for sharing your artwork to one who was previously much less aware of the skill and communicative abilities required to produce the sound of jazz.