James Bailey returns to the Dairy Saturday to open jazz series

“From Peru to Mexico” features cello-guitar duo with Alfredo Muro

By Peter Alexander


James Bailey, former music curator at the Dairy Arts Center

James Bailey, the former music curator at the Dairy Arts Center, moved to Mexico last year, “to open myself up to whatever happens next,” he says.

What happened next included quite a bit of performing, and now he is back in Boulder to play for the opening of the “Jazz at the Dairy” series at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, in the Dairy’s Gordon Gamm Theater (tickets available here). Bailey will be the cello half of a guitar-cello duo with Peruvian guitarist Alfredo Muro. Together they will perform “From Peru to Mexico,” a program of Latin jazz and other music for their instruments.

With an extensive international career as a solo guitarist, Muro was originally booked at the Diary as part of a current North American tour. When Bailey was able to be in Boulder this weekend, they decided to add some of their duo repertoire to the program.

“Part of (the concert) will be what it was originally going to be, which is him performing alone,” Bailey says. “And then the other part will be the duo portion. There are elements of jazz to what we do, but I think the (main) jazz component will be his part of the program.”


Guitarist Alfredo Muro

Bailey and Muro have performed together for three years. They first met when Bailey booked Muro for a concert at Dazzle in Denver. They became friends and soon formed a duo. Since then they have performed whenever they can get together, most recently this summer at the San Miguel Chamber Music Festival in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where Bailey now lives.

“It’s a unique combination, the cello and guitar, and it really works well,” Bailey says. “Balance-wise it works out well. The thing that we’ve been surprised by is how much people like that combination, especially with Latin music. It’s just something that’s not heard very often.”

Bailey says they have not decided yet what they will play for the Dairy program, which will be announced from the stage. “I’m sure we will decide that afternoon how we’re going to do it,” he says. Very likely they will intersperse duo performances with Muro’s solo pieces.

“A good part of the concert will be music from Brazil,” Bailey says. The duo “will be playing some traditional Brazilian jazz pieces. We’ll also play two pieces from Peru, and a suite of pieces that are either written by Bach, or influenced by Bach, that will venture further off the jazz chart.”

Since moving to Mexico, “I’m being asked to perform a lot of different things,” he says. In addition to the duo performances at the chamber music festival, “I did a jazz ballad with a jazz pianist, I’m doing a Kol Nidre Jewish service, I’m putting together a repertoire of Mexican music with a jazz guitarist who lives in San Miguel, a woman who has a wonderful Bösendorfer grand in her living room wants to work on some Beethoven sonatas, and there are a couple of string players who want to put together a string quartet.”

A native of Peru, Muro performs a wide variety of styles, many based in South American folk idioms, as well as jazz and classical guitar. He has a particular interest in many varieties of Brazilian music, including choros, frevo and bossa nova, but he also has an extensive repertoire of classical guitar and has performed with the Boulder Chamber Orchestra.

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Jazz at the Dairy: From Peru to Mexico
Alfredo Muro, guitar, and James Baily, cello
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16
Gordon Gamm Theater



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