Glenwood Springs’ Summer of Jazz features a local for the first time
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Ashton Taufer got an early appreciation for jazz music growing up in Glenwood Springs and going to the Summer of Jazz concerts with his family.
Though his musical tastes and styles vary, after studying for the past three years at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, graduating in May, he returns the favor to an appreciative hometown crowd of jazz lovers this week.
The Ashton Taufer Quartet, including Taufer on bass and college mates Nick Petrillo on piano, Steve Schreiber on guitar and Scott Quintana on drums, plays the Wednesday night Summer of Jazz concert in Two Rivers Park.
“Bob Noone [Summer of Jazz co-founder with wife Mary] called me up on my birthday in February and asked if I wanted to play this summer,” Taufer recalled. “It took me a few weeks to think about it, but I finally decided I wanted to do it.
“It’s a big honor,” he added. “I remember going to Summer of Jazz as a kid. It’s pretty special.”
Taufer’s appearance represents a first for Summer of Jazz, in that the 24-year-old summer concert series has never featured a homegrown musician.
“He’s one of a new generation of musicians who grew up listening to music in the park,” Noone said of the 23-year-old Taufer. “Our whole program approach is to bring music that you can’t otherwise listen to locally.
“Anyone who has seen him play in the last couple of years knows he has come an incredible distance in terms of his music,” Noone said. “I’m sure he’s going to be a world-renowned jazz musician some day.”
Taufer graduated from Glenwood Springs High School where he played in the school jazz band under the direction of Rob Merritt. He went on to Colorado State University where he developed an appreciation for live music, taking in two to three shows a week. That’s when he decided to further his musical studies at Berklee.
“It’s great to have a thousand like-minded people willing to help you out, who are dedicated to what they’re doing,” he said of Berklee.
Taufer and his bandmates met at Berklee, where Quintana, the eldest of the group at 27, will be a senior in the fall, and Petrillo and Schreiber, both 20, will be juniors.
“It’s a great way to get out and play somewhere else, and to visit Colorado,” Quintana said.
It’s the furthest west Petrillo has ever traveled. He said he is particularly looking forward to the Wednesday noon discussion about that evening’s show and their musical influences at the CMC Glenwood Center led by Wick Moses. The class fee is $8 on a drop-in basis, and is open to the public.
The group plans to play a number of jazz standards for the first set, and follow that up with a more danceable repertoire of songs from Stevie Wonder, the Beatles and even a couple of Michael Jackson tributes, Taufer said.
“We’re in for an incredible demonstration of musicianship from these four guys,” Noone said. “They’ll show us a little bit of what they’ve learned, and how they can take it in new directions.
“When I first talked to Ashton, I told him he has a two-hour canvass, paint it as you wish.”
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Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon closed around 9 p.m. Thursday for a flash flood warning.