Party on a Tuesday night? Denver sure got one when an aggregate of musicians joined together to celebrate the 40th birthday of Scott Morrill, owner and booking agent of Denver’s Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom and Other Side.
Scott Morrill celebrated his hatching day with some incredible musicians who contributed their talent, complete with a crowd of friends whom were both actively engaged and mesmerized. The event held at Cervantes’ Other Side proved to be a fitting venue for the affair, which was complete with room a silk dancer and a Soul Train-esque dance line; Skillfully executed tunes challenged even those standing in the back corners of the room to not groove.
So, let me introduce you to what was arguably this year’s most epic jazz/funk/soul experience thus far: local music icon and founder of the Motet, Dave Watts teamed up with fellow powerhouse Nigel Hall and a laundry list of other insanely gifted musical friends. The official roster included talent such as: Garrett Sayers and Ryan Jalbert of Motet fame, Kim Dawson (Pimps of Joytime) Mike Tallman (Euforquestra) Jordan Linit (Analog Son) Tanya Shylock (SOS) Fleeb Thomas (O-NEB) and Leah Concialdi (Atomga).
Not all performers can team up to bring the heat and provide the audience an experience that will blow them away in the fashion that this party did. The musical chemistry was real! They brought their game so hard it was difficult to believe that they don’t play together all of the time. Nigel Hall’s song choices clearly spoke to his love of funk and his voice conveyed it through his soulful, sultry style. New-Orleans based Hall ostensibly has always held a great appreciation for jazz, “I grew up with records…that’s why I’m obsessed…I’d be in third grade with my Walkman and everyone’s listening to Ace of Bass, and I’m listening to ‘Return to Forever’ Chick Corea’s fusion project with Stanley Clarke”.
But jazz is not Hall’s genre of choice, alone. More musical influence was evidenced through this group’s original arrangements of material from Maze’s collection in addition to Earth, Wind, and Fire’s. Nigel Hall lent his talent to three songs that really stood out: “Can’t Hide Love”, “September”, and “Happy Feelings”. Dave Watts brought his A-game per usual, and bassist Garrett Sayers really came through with some of his funky, driving bass lines. The female vocalists gave us a performance that quite literally gave me goosebumps. With such an incredible music community here in Colorado, unsurprisingly there were some other big names in the building that were not on the bill, such as the Motet’s resident trumpet-playing badass, Gabe Mervine.
Having played together for a number of years, The Motet men (Watts, Jalbert, Sayers, and Mervine) were undoubtedly in sync, demonstrated by their cohesive sound. One thing can be said for certain: it is rare to experience live music of this echelon. Considering Scott Morrill’s commitment to Cervantes’, it was only fitting that this birthday celebration be held at the venue. “In the years I have been involved with Cervantes’ it has become the hub for live art in Denver,” Morrill has said. “It has developed into a family, starting with the faithful fans, the artists on stage and painting in the crowd, and the staff…”.
Prior to the show Dave Watts said, “Scott has been a crucial part of the ever expanding Colorado music scene, bringing bands like The Motet, Lettuce, Soulive, Umphree’s McGee and so many more. Please come celebrate his 40th with us as we tear the roof off one of our favorite venues in Colorado!”
I’d say it was a smashing success. Happy Birthday Scott! We appreciate all that you do for our community.