Mission Statement: To preserve the "Sounds of Five Points"...
Denver has always had a thriving jazz community, and between the 1920s and 1950s, the Five Points neighborhood was the heart of the scene. Known as the "Harlem of the West," at its peak Five Points had over fifty bars and clubs, and played host to all the greats: pianist and bandleader Duke Ellington, singers Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, saxophonist Charlie Parker, and trumpeter Miles Davis, just to name a few. Local players also kept things cooking, and soon enough the Five Points sound emerged, a brand of jazz characterized by red-hot swing and boundless joie de vivre.
Thankfully the Five Points sound is still alive today, and the main keeper of the flame is pianist Purnell Steen and his group Le Jazz Machine. Now in his early seventies, Steen is a consummate performer who has a legion of devoted fans in his native Denver. Steen is also part of a musical dynasty, with relatives including vocalist Dianne Reeves, pianist George Duke, saxophonist Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, and bassist Charlie Burrell. Imagine Count Basie's swing combined with Duke Ellington's "Love you madly" charm, topped off with a healthy dollop of Wild West spirit, and that's Purnell Steen and Le Jazz Machine.
Check Out this Great Jazz Legend on DVD!
I'm Charlie : Charles Burrell, A Man and his Bass
Fueled by ambition and tempered by discipline, Charles Burrell's road to greatness started as a boy while listening to a crystal radio set in his bed at night. In his own words, Charlie, as he prefers to be called, takes us on a journey spanning eighty plus years in the dedicated pursuit of musical excellence. What began as a dream of a child at twelve, would be realized thirty years later through perseverance and a singular focus on his art. This is the story of the man they call, "The Jackie Robinson of the classical world." Charles Burrell lives in Denver, Colorado. In his nineties, he still practices most everday, and plays in the local jazz scene. This special DVD is available now on Amazon, featuring the life of Purnell Steen's cousin Charles Burrell. Part of the proceeds go to 1st Note Music Foundation, a non-profit, that helps children and adults acquire musical instruments.