Dave Devine's "Relay" 12.18.12

Dazzle Restaurant and Lounge
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By J-man

There are Jazz clubs and there are "Jazz clubs." Dazzle is a Jazz club unlike any in its market. Candlelit tables extend across the dimly lit room and depending on the evening, one might catch a packed house. Regardless of the turnout, the music is always top notch. On this particular evening, a Tuesday in fact, I found myself in the back booth of the illuminated "main room" with the waitstaff buzzing back and forth. The present patrons grinned widely and laughed loudly during what could best be described as the "social hour" leading up to the show.

Dazzle to me feels like home, tucked away in the back corner of the room. Past the presumed elitism of jazz music, I sit balanced, catching bits and pieces of conversation. The venue was littered with argyle and button-downs, though tie-dyes would have been equally suited. The one thing that Dazzle lacks is hippies. Not the loud, unkempt kind, but more the enthusiastic, genuine appreciators of improvised skill. Regardless of the crowd, Dazzle is always a scene. Wine, brie, schmoozing, tuning and the eventual entrance of Jazz led by a typical radio voice/personality, unfolded from the stage. Band announcements precede a note, yet the notes that follow command the attention of the room. Ambient notation and light effects work the half capacity room into the music, as folks continued to file in late.

A rock vibe took over as demanded by Dave Devine's guitar. Heavy, menacing effects crept in with transitions contrasting the highs and lows of the compositions. Paul McDaniel dropped heavy bass lines from a seated position. Brief mention of the material from the album "Relay," as well as the possibility of a blizzard and the band plowed on. Between songs Dave swapped out guitars on an almost continual basis, consistently bending down to further diversify his arsenal. The songs were tight and well-executed, while at the same time loose musically. Mark Dalio's drumming took many sections to the point of epic, while the rest of the band echoed before reassembling for yet another climb in composition. Interwoven melodies clashed with peaking harmonies. As was the case with many of the selections, the songs ended with echoing sustain.

Dave's control of the guitar were reflected in harmonic precision, with each descending note eloquently delivered. The key work of Michael Bailey went from sounding like synth output to electric guitar. At times it sounded as if the stage was occupied by two lead guitarists. The layers were thick and the band sounded full. The announcement of the show being two sets without any Christmas music, got a rise out of the growing crowd. The closing song of the set followed suit with a slow and ambient approach, a plethora of note bending and tonal manipulation. Intermission provided a needed break from the "mind-scrambling" of the first set. Ten minutes after the band broke, they returned.

The first song came with a hard edge and possibly the first abrupt stop of the evening. A barrage of minor chord progressions kept listeners on the edge of their seats as the tempo increased. Some of the heavier, more distorted material seemed lost on the older folks, but the younger crowd was captivated. The warning of a loud tune, most comparable to Black Sabbath mixed with King Tubby came next and was by far the loudest, most aggressive music that I have heard at Dazzle. It involved hard-rock, dub, jazz and was the track used for the evening's promotional video. The song transitioned back into ripping rock with Devine absolutely shredding until another abrupt stop. A shout out to Dazzle's Musical Director, Kevin Lee, and the band played one final song. Considering that it was a Tuesday night, the turnout was fantastic. Dave Devine has assembled a very solid group of talent, who not only fielded the material well, but knocked it out of the park!

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