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Denver Jazz Festival

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Denver Vintage Jazz Festival is THREE days of world-class music held in the Mile-High City of Denver, Colorado and expecting a record crowd of over 600 dancers and listeners.

This 3-story venue and early-era throwback party appeal is unrivaled in Denver. Our one-of-a-kind Vintage festival focuses primarily on vintage jazz and blues of the 1930’s & 1940’s. Each room in the venue features a spacious dance floor, and there are swing dance classes available for all levels of dancers from internationally renowned instructors during the daytime hours through our sister event Lindy on the Rocks.

We mix in locals along with top name bands, to help bolster the local music economy, and employ/educate local musicians on playing this style of music.

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This event is run concurrently with Lindy on the Rocks, and the Hot Night Fusion Weekend, two events focused on dance. An All Access Pass will include dance workshops in swing, blues, tango, and street dance. The All Access Pass starts at $170 for the full weekend, and includes all Denver Jazz Festival sessions.

The All Music and Dances Pass will include all music sessions and dances, but WILL NOT include dance classes. The All Music and Dances Pass will be $120 for earlybird sales.

All VIP passes include all live music throughout the weekend with reserved seating at both venues. This pass DOES include the Dazzle brunch on both mornings.

All Passes DO NOT include admission to the following:
Dazzle Pancake Brunch – Saturday
Dazzle Pancake Brunch – Sunday

This event is produced by Denver based non-profit CMDance.

All tickets must be picked up at will call during the event. Will call opens at 6:00 PM on Friday, September 14th.

Denver Jazz Festival
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2018 Artists

2018 Featured Bands and All-Star Artists:

Hal Smith’s Swing Central

Led by drummer Hal Smith, Swing Central is a quintet made up of top musicians who — with one exception — live in the Central Time Zone.

The group plays small-band swing music of the ‘30s and ‘40s, including songs associated with Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Lester Young, Pee Wee Russell, Charlie Christian plus Boogie Woogie specialties and original compositions.

Hal Smith – Drums, Bandleader – Searcy, AR
Jonathan Doyle – Clarinet – Port Townsend, WA
Jamey Cummins – Guitar – Austin, TX
Dan Walton – Piano – Austin, TX
Steve Pikal – Bass – Eden Prairie, MN


Jonathan Doyle Swingtet

Jonathan Doyle came up in Chicago during the neo-swing movement of the mid-90s, playing with the Mighty Blue Kings and then the Four Charms. In 2004, he moved to Austin TX to play traditional jazz, western swing, and any acoustic roots music he could get involved with. He started the Jonathan Doyle Swingtet in Austin at the outset of 2015, focusing on classic swing and originals in a classic style. The band went on to perform Lindy Fest 2015 in Houston, Dirty Water Lindy and Blues Exchange 2015 in Boston, as well as Lindy Focus 2015 in Asheville.


Red Hot Rhythm Rocket

A little bit of Rock and Roll, some Rhythm & Blues, a Hammond B3 Organ, and just a dash of swing is the recipe for some infectious groove set by the men and lady of the Red Hot Rhythm Rocket. Pulling inspiration from Louis Jordan, Etta James, Pearl Bailey, Bill Doggett, Milt Buckner, and Big Jay McNeely, among others, this band features two horns, organ, guitar, drums, and a strong vocalist. The band was started by Joe Smith in 2017 to provide an eclectic mix of music arranged to get people on the floor dancing.

Joe Smith – Trumpet, Bandleader – Denver, CO
Cara Griffith – Vocals – Denver, CO
Jonathan Doyle – Tenor Saxophone – Port Townsend, WA
Luke Smith – Guitar – Denver, CO
Bobby Floyd – Organ – Columbus, OH
Braxton Kahn – Drums – Denver, CO


Jonathan Stout Orchestra featuring Hilary Alexander

The Jonathan Stout Orchestra, featuring Hilary Alexander is the nation’s premier swing dance big band. The 14-piece JSO captures the unmatched excitement and true rhythmic pulse of the Swing-era, and is the most danceable big band anywhere. The band follows the templates of Benny Goodman and Count Basie – orchestras that were aggressive and tight, and filled with all-star soloists that bring the fire on every song, regardless of tempo.

The Orchestra was founded in 2004 after promoters demanded a full big band that was as danceable and exciting as the Campus Five. Jonathan and Hilary responded with a big band that was designed from the outset to be the ultimate swing dance orchestra, and has gone on to become the gold-standard in the swing dance world.


Jonathan Stout and The Rugcutters featuring Hilary Alexander

Jonathan Stout and The Rugcutters, featuring Hilary Alexander is the nation’s premier swing dance band. Showcasing the small-group sound of the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, the Rugcutters is the most danceable swing band anywhere. The 9-piece Rugcutters captures the true sound of the Swing-era, with all the energy and excitement that inspired millions to dance. Influences include the Benny Goodman Sextet, Artie Shaw’s Grammercy Five, Count Basie’s Kansas City Six, and the Harlem-based small groups of Illinois Jacquet, Cootie Williams, Coleman Hawkins, and Hot Lips Page.


2018 All-Stars

Bobby Floyd (Columbus, OH) – Piano and Organ

“Once you are touched by the great sound of Bobby’s organ, there is an obsessive desire for more.”
— Byron Stripling

Bobby Floyd’s talent has launched him into a very rewarding career, putting him in demand and making him one of the favorite, first-call pianists/organists for many well-known artists. He has traveled the world accompanying Ray Charles on piano and organ. He currently makes guest appearances with some of the most distinguished orchestras, including The Boston Pops, The Rochester Philharmonic, and The Detroit Symphony. He is presently the feature pianist/organist for the world-famous and legendary Count Basie Orchestra. He has also toured nationally and internationally as organist for the Grammy Award winning Dr. John. You can also see Bobby with Grammy Award winning Doc Severinsen, the great trumpeter who fronted the “Johnny Carson Tonight Show” band for 30 years.

The prestige associated with Floyd’s worldwide appearances can also be witnessed at home. In his hometown, Columbus Ohio, Bobby is the feature pianist/organist with the Columbus Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Byron Stripling where he has performed with a large number of major artist. He is occasionally featured with The Columbus Symphony Orchestra, and other arts organizations and venues throughout Columbus and Ohio.

He has also completed several recordings that can be purchased at many of the major online services including, iTunes, and cdbaby. Bobby’s recordings and live performances demonstrate his ability to electrify audiences and have received the highest praise from critics and musicians alike.


David Lee Harris (New Orleans) – Trombone

American trombonist, vocalist and composer David L. Harris embodies the edge of modern jazz and the sultriness of blues. Every time he steps on stage, David takes us on the emotionally engaging journey of love and liberation, wrapped in a sound that embraces the groove, grit and swing of the past. Growing up in a neighborhood called Scotlandville, in Baton Rouge, La, David L. found his fingers pressed against the sliding brace of the trombone at the age of sixteen and has never let go since. He has toured internationally and domestic performing at The Newport Jazz Festival, The Montreal Jazz Festival, and The New Orleans & Heritage Jazz Festival. David L. has performed and been a featured soloist at legendary concert halls, such as the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, NY, The Lincoln Center in New York, NY, and The L’Olympia Music Hall in Paris, France; and has performed, recorded and collaborated with artist Herlin Riley, Wynton Marsalis, Shannon Powell, Aaron Neville, Aloe Blacc, Dr. Michael White, Dee Dee Bridgewater and The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra.


Harris would spend seven hours a day practicing while allowing the sounds of legendary musicians like Tyree Glenn, Joe “Tricky Sam” Nanton, and Al Grey to train him along the way. He went on to further his knowledge of music, and fine-tune his technique, by continuing his studies at Southern University, Louisiana State University, and the University of New Orleans. He can been seen on the Cover of Offbeat Magazines’ Satchmo SummerFest issue(2017) and also in DownBeat Magazine, an artist profile interviewed by Phillip Lutz. David L. is currently a proud Performing/Endorsing Artist forAntoine Courtois/The Buffet Group. He has captured and moved audiences in China, Europe, Taiwan, Russia, South America, Australia, Canada, South Africa, and in over twenty cities in Japan. Harris demonstrates in every show how he prizes the gift of sharing jazz from New Orleans, for the genre enables the creation of artwork that could not be made anywhere else in the world. His masterful team joins him in this endeavor, most recently with the critically-acclaimed “Blues I Felt”, Harris’ debut album.


Jonathan Doyle (Port Townsend, WA) – Clarinet and Tenor Saxophone

Clarinetist, saxophonist, composer, and arranger Jonathan Doyle recently relocated to Port Townsend WA in the Pacific Northwest. He still spends time in Chicago, Austin TX, and on the road.

Jonathan briefly attended Depaul’s School of Music in Chicago, where he studied under Mark Colby. He left school to pursue a full time career in music during the neo-swing movement of the mid-90s, playing with the Mighty Blue Kings and then the Four Charms. He has also worked with Chicago’s emerging improvisers such as Josh Berman, Jason Adasiewicz, and Design Flaw, and developed an interest in country blues and jug band music playing with the Wabash Jug Band. In 2004, Mr. Doyle moved to Austin to pursue his love of acoustic and roots music afresh. After a brief stint with the Asylum Street Spankers, he went on to freelance in Central Texas’ vibrant traditional jazz, swing, and western swing scene, playing with well-established acts such as Willie Nelson and Asleep at the Wheel, and the Jim Cullum Jazz Band, as well being a part of many fine local bands such as Thrift Set Orchestra, Albanie & her Fellas, Stan Smith and the Jazz Pharaohs, Aunt Ruby’s Sweet Jazz Babies, East Side Dandies, White Ghost Shivers, Whit Smith’s Hot Jazz Caravan, The Giant Three and his own projects The Jonathan Doyle Quintet / Swingtet. His time in New Orleans introduced him to the hot jazz and traditional blues band, Tuba Skinny, whom he played and traveled with extensively from 2011-2015. 2016 to early 2017 had Jonathan spending a whole lot of time in Chicago playing with the amazing Fat Babies as well as guitar maestro, Joel Paterson. 2016 was also the start of playing more regularly with Naomi & Her Handsome Devils and Hal Smith’s Swing Central!

Jonathan is committed to crafting original music as well studying the American musical traditions. He strives to organize and be a part of bands whose music is rooted, yet distinct. And to play for listeners and dancers anywhere they’ll have him!


Hal Smith (Searcy, AR) – Drums

When Hal Smith plays, the spirits of George Wettling, Zutty Singleton and Dave Tough smile. Whether it’s small group swing, San Francisco Jazz, 1920s classics or freewheeling Eddie Condon jazz, his playing lifts up the music with taste, class and subtle ideas.

— Scott Yanow, Jazz Historian and Journalist.

Hal Smith took up the drums in 1963, and became a full-time professional musician in 1978. He has played with many of the best Traditional Jazz and Swing bands including the Dukes of Dixieland, Jim Cullum’s Jazz Band, Butch Thompson Trio, Grand Dominion Jazz Band, Bob Schulz’s Frisco Jazz Band, Climax Jazz Band, Yerba Buena Stompers, the Fat Babies and many others. Hal has also played Western Swing, Rockabilly and Blues music with a variety of groups across the U.S.

Currently he lives in Searcy, Arkansas and travels to engagements with bands led by Kris Tokarski, Tim Laughlin and Banu Gibson. Hal’s primary band is the Kid Ory-styled On The Levee Jazz Band, He also leads Pretty Wild (Wild Bill Davison tribute), Swing Central (swing quintet) and co-leads the Rock Island Roustabouts with pianist Jeff Barnhart.

Hal was influenced by hearing Ben Pollack, Nick Fatool, Wayne Jones and Fred Higuera in live performance. He has also studied the recordings of drummers Sid Catlett, Dave Tough, Zutty Singleton, Jo Jones, Minor Hall, George Wettling, Morey Feld, Gene Krupa, Harry Dial, Johnny Wells, Vic Berton, Ray Bauduc and more.


Steve Pikal (Eden Prairie, MN) – Upright Bass

Steve Pikal has been playing music professionally for many years and is highly regarded as a first call bass player from the Minnesota Twin Cities area jazz scene. His rock-steady time, superb ear for correct notes, and obvious joy in every performance make him welcome on any bandstand. He has had the pleasure of working with many top performers and bands over the years. Some of his credits include the Jim Cullum Jazz band, Butch Miles, Artie Shaw Orchestra, the Barbary Coast Dixieland Show band, Dick Hyman, Danny Coots, the Wolverines Big band, Butch Thompson, Hal Smith, John Cocuzzi, Jeff Barnhart, The Midiri Brothers, and the Bill Evans New Orleans Jazz band.


Dan Walton (Austin, TX) – Piano

Dan Walton is a jazz pianist based in Austin Texas. Originally hailing from the San Francisco bay area, his music draws from a variety of influences–from boogie woogie, to stride, bebop, and classical music. Growing up, he enjoyed the music of Teddy Wilson, Art Tatum, George Gershwin, Fats Waller, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Pete Johnson, Arthur Rubinstein, and many others. He also enjoys the works of classical artists like Chopin and Debussy.

He has also worked quite a bit in the western swing genre, and has recorded/performed with a variety of interesting people in the music industry, including (in no particular order) Dale Watson, Willie Nelson, Asleep at the Wheel, Lyle Lovett, Jerry Jeff Walker, Pat Green, Johnny Bush, Paul Shaffer, Elizabeth Cook, Buddy Miller, Vince Gill, The Time Jumpers, Robert Earl Keen, George Strait, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Rhonda Vincent, Garrison Keillor, Leon Rausch and Elvin Bishop to name a few. Dan enjoys working in a great variety of musical genres.

Dan’s work as a musician has taken him all over the world, and he enjoys music and art of all sorts from many cultures and in many countries.


Jamie Cummins (Austin, TX) – Guitar

Jamey played with the Hot Club of Davenport before relocating to Austin — where he now plays with the Hot Club of Austin! In addition, his steady rhythm and outstanding solos are also heard in the group called Rent Party, and the Rockstep Relevators. He has played on the jazz festival circuit with swing bands led by Dave Bennett and Kris Tokarski as well as with an All-Star Western Swing band at the Redwood Coast Music Festival.


Studio Loft at Ellie Caulkins Opera House

1400 Curtis St. Denver, CO 80202

The Studio Loft is an 8,000 sq ft performance, rehearsal and event space with a cathedral ceiling, exposed brick, warm-colored walls, a 3,000sf wood dance floor. The Studio Loft is located in the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.


Dazzle Denver

1512 Curtis St. Denver, CO 80202

In business for more than fifteen years, Dazzle has secured its spot as the premier place for jazz in Denver. But it’s not just here that the club’s been praised: DownBeat magazine listed it as one of the top 100 jazz clubs in the world, and with good reason. The level of talent that’s brought in week after week is unmatched in these parts.

Rated as Denver’s Best Jazz club by Westword Magazine for 15 years running, Dazzle is a live music and culinary staple in the Denver arts scene.”


The Denver Jazz Festival is brought to you by Community-Minded Dance, best known in the Denver area as CMDance.

We rely on our loyal sponsors, partners and our incredible dancers from all over the world to keep our organization intact. With your support we are able to fulfill our mission of building healthy, thriving communities through world-class arts education programs that bring the global culture of both solo and partnered vernacular dancing to Colorado youth and adults.

We encourage your support of cmDance through The Denver Jazz Festival. We sincerely hope you will make a commitment to partner with us in sponsorship of this event which not only strengthens our relationship but will surely add the success of your organization.

Thank you to our loyal sponsors* for over 15 years!

Westerra Credit Union

ZoZo Group

Hawley Family Foundation

William Marcus

Carol Morris

Jeffrey Brenman

Ann Ehli

Lynn Herrington

Phelps Family Foundation

Burgess Trust

Denver Foundation

Colorado Creative Industries

100s of Colorado Gives Day Donors

*This list is not all inclusive, as we have numerous anonymous sponsors!

Earlier Event: February 1
Diversion: Swing Meets Blues