January 29, 2007
The Greyboy Allstars, a prime mover in the ’90s groove-jazz scene, are gearing up for the March release of “What Happened to TV,” the quintet’s first CD in nine years, with a handful of shows. (No word yet if the Allstars will land in Aspen, but don’t bet against it.) Meanwhile, Karl Denson, the group’s saxophonist, singer and nominal leader, is at work on a new album by his group, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe. But all that doesn’t quite fill Denson’s hands. Denson’s latest project, KD3, is a trio, with keyboardist Anthony Smith and drummer Brett Sanders. Funk is typically delivered by larger ensembles (See, e.g., George Clinton & the P-Funk Allstars, coming to Belly Up on Feb. 23, as part of the Ski Tour.) But Denson is a man of many talents; in between funk projects, he has also recorded straight-ahead jazz CDs with some top players. Expect the KD3 to lean closer to old-school groove, à la Jimmy Smith and Grant Green. But don’t bet against Denson bringing the funk as well.
When the folks at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival told Clifford Fewel he’d never find three people funny enough to stage a local comedy showcase, the Snowmass Village resident thought he knew better. Fewel, who has done stand-up as an avocation – he had been a semi-regular host at a Silicon Valley comedy club – put out the word and came up with nine comedians, all from the Roaring Fork Valley. The collection seems to be funny enough; Fewel’s Laugh Your Aspen Off events have drawn turn-away crowds, forcing him into ever-larger venues. Saturday, Feb. 10, finds Fewel and his funny people in their biggest venue yet, the Wheeler Opera House. Mark Thomas is the headliner this time around, with Michael James Robinson – “our black comic,” says Fewel – also in the spotlight. And Fewel is still pursuing a Comedy Fest slot for his stable of comics.
The biggest film festival devoted to stories of the mountains and the outdoors is MountainFilm, staged annually in Telluride. Fortunately, in the mountaineering spirit, the festival is restless, eager to hit the road. So each year the festival packs up for MountainFilm on Tour, a traveling show featuring the best of the fest. Even in a condensed version, MountainFilm is pretty massive; this year’s presentation, at Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale, spans two nights, with a different two-hour program each night. Night one, Friday, Feb. 9, includes the fly-fishing documentary “Trout Grass”; “Invisible Children,” about three Americans in Africa; and the short “Ode to Avalanche.” Saturday, Feb. 10, has the hour-long “Of Wind and Waves: The Life of Woody Brown,” about a legendary Hawaiian sportsman; and “Seeds in the City,” a look at a program to build farms in Havana. Proceeds go to the school’s outdoor programs.