Colorado Jazz Workshop

 Ron is a music director of Colorado Jazz Workshop

Big Time Music for Part Time Musicians Colorado Jazz Workshop was founded in 1987 by Edd Nichols and Ken Anderson, when Edd was just looking for a place to play. So, he put together the first big band. Edd wanted a  band that had some punch, with quality arrangements and a capable music director: the first director was  trumpet player Dave Bacon.  Joining the band was by word of mouth.

The Workshop attracted experienced, qualified part-time jazz musicians: players who wanted more than a “kicks” or swing band, and were willing to put in the time and effort for a rewarding musical experience, and the opportunity for further musical development.  Along the way, it has been the vehicle for several musicians to re-invigorate their musical careers. Numerous groups in the Denver Area are comprised of past and current CJW members

The first big band spawned a jazz combo and an improvisation class, and eventually 2 big bands and 2 more combos followed.

Several notable directors have conducted the bands in the past: Mike Lucas, Lou Fisher, Fred Hess, Ron Miles, Peter Sommer, Michael Pagan and Greg Caroll. Hugh Ragin, Rex Matzke, Keith Oxman and Marc Sabatella are also current directors.

The Bands The Colorado Jazz Workshop currently has 3 big bands: Saturday morning, Monday night and Wednesday night. There are also 5 jazz combos comprised of pianobassdrumsguitar and usually 2 to 4 horns.

The Music The big bands play arrangements from the bands of Stan Kenton, Count Basie, Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson, Buddy Rich, Oliver Nelson, and Sammy Nestico. The book are also includes contemporary works from Tom Kubis, Mike Tamaro, Michael Pagan, Bill Holman, Clayton/Hamilton, Bob Kurnow, Gordon Goodwin, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis, Hank Levy and Toshiko Akiyoshi. The jazz combos play tunes from the Real Books, arrangements from the UNC Press and originals from some of our members and directors.  

The Gigs Each of the bands performs several times per year. Denver jazz club Dazzle is the centerpiece, with performances in the fall.  The showcase is The Colorado Jazz Workshop Jazz Festival, an all day event presenting each of the big bands and combos, and featuring an internationally renowned artist as guest performer and clinic instructor. Past years have included Charles McPherson, Denis DiBlasio, Bobby Shew and Wayne Bergeron.  The bands also participate in The Greeley Jazz Festival at the University of Northern Colorado.