After 25 years in business, Dazzle has found a new home at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, and, after over a year of waiting, it’s officially open.
“We are honored, humbled, and thrilled to be a part of Denver’s theatre district,” said Kelley Dawkins, Dazzle’s marketing director. “Jazz is the music artists are playing in the community right now. It and the Blues are the only original American music forms, and including them in the Denver Performing Arts Complex compliments the currently represented arts.”
Inside the stretched out space guests are greeted by a long bar and piano lounge area, perfect for those looking for a nightcap after a show at the DCPA or before a live music set there at Dazzle. Or, both. The idea behind Dazzle’s move is partially to offer theatre, opera and ballet goers an easy and accessible place to hang out after the performance, either to decompress or continue the night.
Not that Dazzle’s last home was far from the Arts Complex. In fact, the old space was just two blocks northwest in the historic Baur’s Building. Designed by the architecture firm Loomis Improvements Inc., the new spot at 1080 14th St. takes a card from Dazzle’s original location in Capitol Hill, giving the venue a more intimate feel and separate bar and performance spaces.
The Main Listening Room
“The Main Listening Room” offers 140 seats nightly, which can be expanded to 240 when needed. The layout consists of two levels of banquet seating along with tables. The third tier sports simple tables and chairs horseshoed around the stage. It’s simple with clean lines, dark colors, pops of pink and purple, and a stunning mural of musician Ron Miles created by the artist Detour.
“The design of the main listening room places the focus solely on the music with seating on three of the four sides of the stage, reflecting the Greek or Roman style of theater-in-the-round,” said Dawkins. “It creates the most intimate listening experience of the three Dazzle locations, with the front row being close enough to tap your foot on the edge of the stage and no seat being more than 20 feet away from the stage.”
Bar & Lounge
When not at max capacity, visit the bar and piano lounge for food and drink including shrimp bruschetta, muffuletta sliders and craft salads, as well as cocktails, wine, coffee and soda. Chef Mario Acevedouma has curated the menu to work with the very small onsite kitchen, and also plans on showcasing local culinary artists including Kettle Head Popcorn, Denver Chip Company, Pint’s Peak Ice Cream and more.
The lounge area generally won’t require a ticket, and patrons will be able to hear music even though they can’t see the show well. Where the main listening area is dark, the lounge proves airier, with natural light coming through the windows and pale hues making up the color pallet.
“Audiences in the bar and piano lounge can still see the stage, although not as intimately as in the main listening room, and hear the music well,” added Dawkins. “It allows for different live music experiences depending on the type of night out one is looking for.”
Music isn’t the only reason to stop by. Art greets patrons as they enter, specifically Big Horn by local artist Brett Matarazzo. While the image showcases Colorado’s state animal, the big horn sheep, it’s also a nod to the “big horns” musicians play on stage. Another local twist can be seen in the wall of vinyl recorded in Colorado or by local artists.
Also check out the El Chapultepec Legacy Collection by artist Shay Guerrero. Titled With Love, the installation was commissioned by Deborah and Jim Frank and honors the Hispanic and Chicano influences on jazz in Colorado. Each piece symbolizes the special gifts the individual named in the art has put out into the world, kind of like love letters to the community. Honorees include Flo Hernandez-Ramos, Carlos Lando, Tina Cartagena, Freddy Rodriguez Sr., and Arturo Gomez.
El Chapultepec Piano Bar
In an alcove to the left is a throwback to what Denverites feared was a lost era. In partnership with the now-closed yet beloved jazz club, the El Chapultepec Piano Bar has opened, offering different musical experiences for a diverse groups of artists. Called the The Late Set, these El Chapultepec performances start this fall running Thursday through Sunday from 11pm to 1am. Best part, the live set has no cover charge, keeping in tandem with the idea that music should be accessible to all.
While Dazzle continues to be privately owned by Donald Rossa, by having the City of Denver’s Arts & Venues department as a landlord will help the small club promote, showcase and keep the art of live jazz alive for all to enjoy.
To start with, expect one or two shows in August most nights save Tuesday when it’s closed, with doors opening at 6pm. By September Dazzle plans to have daytime programming with lunch and/or brunch Thursday through Sunday. But overall, the team is figuring out what works best for the venue and area, so things may change down the line.
Currently the lineup of shows is available until November, with acts including Claudette King with the Gregory Goodloe Band (August 18), The Jason Marsalis Quartet (August 31), Johnny Rawls Blues Band (October 1), and so many more. Check the full lineup online at dazzledenver.com.