It's been just under 9 months since Baur's Restaurant and Listening Lounge opened its doors in Denver's vibrant Theatre District, and the gourmet restaurant and live music venue has been adding to the food and culture scene ever since.
The eatery and venue has hosted a number of sold-out special tasting dinners, like Bubbles & Bliss which paired sparkling wine and champagne with some of the freshest fish in Denver. They've introduced a Chef's table and a charcuterie menu. And they've consistently delivered an eclectic multi-genre lineup of local, national and international musical talent – both established and up-and-coming – since Jon Cleary, a pianist-vocalist, played the opening concert last March.
On December 10, the restaurant, in conjunction with KUVO and the Music Appreciation Society (Baur's non-profit arm) will host two benefit concerts for the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts. It brings renowned New Orleans jazz patriarch Ellis Marsalis, Jr. to Denver for the first time, for two Thursday evening performances.
Jazz pianist Ellis Marsalis — Photo courtesy of Baur's Restaurant and Listening Lounge
Considered to be one of the top jazz pianists in the Big Easy, Marsalis is also a retired university professor, a philanthropist and the father to well-known jazz musicians Wynton and Branford.
Born on November 14, 1934, his formal music studies began at age eleven at the Xavier University Junior School of Music. After high school, Marsalis enrolled in Dillard University in New Orleans as a clarinet major. He graduated in 1955 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education and spent the next year working as an assistant manager in his father’s motel business.
It wasn't until joining the U.S. Marine Corps the following year, however, that the artist began to hone his piano skills. Stationed in southern California, he joined a Marine jazz quartet, which performed on TV and radio shows, and was used to boost recruiting efforts.
After completing his Marine Corps duty, Marsalis returned to New Orleans and married Dolores Ferdinand. The two raised six sons, many of who have become respected jazz musicians in their own right.
He also earned a master's degree and began teaching music, first at the high school level and later at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of New Orleans. All the while, Marsalis was playing the local music scene and gaining more recognition for his ability to play "the sound of truth," as his son Delfeayo Marsalis calls it.
"That’s a sound we’re all trying to get to,” Delfeayo Marsalis said.
The recipient of numerous honorary doctorate degrees, including one from the esteemed Julliard School, Ellis Marsalis and his family were also awarded the highest honor in jazz: NEA Jazz Masters in 2011. It was the first group award ever distributed by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Charcuterie at the Chef's table — Photo courtesy of Baur's Restaurant and Listening Lounge
Tickets go on sale on November 15 – visit Baur's website for purchase. The performances will be held at 7 pm and 9:30 pm. Although eating before the show is not mandatory (tickets gain entrance to the performance venue where chairs are arranged by the stage), you should consider the convenience and deliciousness on offer at Baur's Restaurant.
In addition to delivering a holistic approach to music, Baur's offers an eclectic menu where the focus is on hearty gourmet with a Rocky Mountain twist. It features everything from lobster deviled eggs (one of our faves!) to a fantastic flavor-packed pan-roasted black cod served with smoked gnocchi, spiced apples, chorizo and heirloom spinach.
If possible, try to book a seat at the recently opened Chef's table, where special menu items are prepared in front of you, including house-made charcuterie, salumi and cheese boards that provide a lighter dining option. The full menu is also offered at this table.