If what I've learned from the Internet is to be believed, the coin-flipping Iowa caucuses, the heavy snowfall from last week, and the anticipation of Valentine's Day should have everyone on edge, unhappy and bitter toward others. So, essentially, the perfect set of circumstances for a weekend of live music, right?
However, one local musician almost certainly not feeling the bitterness of the season is bassist and bandleader Colin Trusedell. The jazz standout has been making waves lately, courtesy of performances from his eponymous trio and the Quartet of Jazz Death, his weekly KCMJ jazz radio program, and not least of all, landing a feature article in the March 2016 issue of the venerated jazz magazine Downbeat.
The article discusses Trusedell's background and Air Force career — he currently acts as musical director and tour manager for the Air Force Academy Band's rock group, Blue Steel — as well as his teaching post at CSU-Pueblo, his self-run booking agency, and his new album, It's All About the Hustle.
An apt title, considering Trusedell's multi-faceted career and seemingly tireless work ethic. Within the feature, the artist acknowledges the need for musicians to have a diverse set of skills and embrace a lack of downtime. While Trusedell's schedule might be hectic, it's clearly paying off, with Downbeat praising his "strong chops, steady swing, lustrous tone, expressive vibrato and melodic inventiveness."
Of course, none of this is a surprise to anyone who has caught one of Trusedell's live shows, such as his last appearance at a packed Stargazers Theatre to celebrate KCMJ's "flip" to FM radio. If you're still uninitiated, you can catch one of his weekly "Jazz Jam" shows every Sunday at 8 p.m. on KCMJ.
Of further interest to local jazz fans, Tony Exum, Jr. and Dee Lucas are kicking off the Valentine's Day weekend with their "Sax and Romance" show at the Gold Room on Saturday, Feb. 13. The saxophonists will be joined by vocalist Natalie Tatum.
Beyond the, uh, saxy affair this weekend, local jazz enthusiasts will also be delighted to know that Steve Draper, the musician behind Old Colorado City jazz club Motif, will be opening a new club by early summer, featuring "a new jazz concept and even better acoustics."
Meanwhile, for those more inclined toward hip-hop, soul and overall eclecticism for their V-Day celebrations, the Zodiac has the show for you. The St. Valentine's Day Massacre on Sunday, Feb. 14 — which features the stacked lineup of Joseph Lamar, Kevin Mitchell, Stoney Bertz, Earsiq, Saustro, Eyelezz, DJ MadBot and DJ Chris Diablo — promises to be an evening of great variety. Lamar, who is working on an 11-part EP series to be released in installments throughout the year, describes his one-person live show for the night as something akin to "barstool theater," complete with singing, dancing and playing several characters throughout an interactive performance.
Finally, if Valentine's Day weekend has put you in the mood to head "down south," here's a good reason to make your way down to Pueblo: Local Americana favorites and Blank Tape Records mainstays The Haunted Windchimes and The Changing Colors will appear at Songbird Cellars on Monday, Feb. 15. If you missed their sold-out performance at the Fine Arts Center, this rare and intimate hometown show will be as good as any setting to catch them. Not to mention that their latest record, Live Chimes, Volume One, was recorded during a two-night stint at Songbird Cellars, so you never know what might happen.
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