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Ron Miles

Inducted: November 28, 2017

Ron Miles

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Bill Frisell

Inducted: November 28, 2017

Bill Frisell

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Larry-Dunn

Larry Dunn

Inducted: November 28, 2017

Larry Dunn

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Philip Bailey

Inducted: November 28, 2017

Philip Bailey

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East High

Inducted: November 28, 2017

East High

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Colorado has an incredible wealth of actors, artists, and musicians to call our own, and it’s astounding to see how many of them came out of East High School.

Many of our Jazz Masters inductees attended East High. Philip Bailey, Larry Dunn, and Andrew Woolfolk of Earth, Wind & Fire all went to East High School, and so did Bill Frisell and Ron Miles, as well as prior inductees Judy Collins and Paul Whiteman.

While Philip Bailey was singing in the Youth Choir with future actress Pam Grier,

future guitar great Bill Frisell was playing clarinet in the school band. A few years later, Ron Miles was playing trumpet in the East High Jazz Band with actor Don Cheadle on saxophone.

A long list of renowned East High alumni spanning many generations have all benefited from the remarkable music programs there.

The East High School Music Program is the very first recipient of the Barry Fey Visionary award presented to the school for making great music possible in Colorado.

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East High was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall Of Fame, with Jazz Masters class of 2017.

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Earth, Wind & Fire

Inducted: November 28, 2017

Earth, Wind & Fire

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Certain songs will always remind you of particular moments in your life; like your first time you fell in love, or of a certain time and place, or a special event in your life.

It’s a feeling that truly masterful musicians can create for us. But there is one funky group that seems to do this quite often. We are specifically talking about Colorado’s Earth, Wind & Fire – the local band gone global. It is the grounding that all these players have in jazz that has made Earth, Wind & Fire so enduring and expressive. Every time people hear these songs, they only love them more. Members Philp Bailey, Larry Dunn, and Andrew Woolfolk all attended East High School.

Every time people hear these songs, they only love them more.

Larry Dunn was working clubs seven nights a week by the time he was 15, and he signed with Earth, Wind & Fire at the tender age of 17. Larry was already playing rock and jazz gigs and had a regular gig with local blues artist Sam Mayfield.

Andrew Woolfolk is a natural-born saxophone player who infuses every song with exquisite and adventurous playing. Philip Bailey’s four-octave range makes Earth, Wind & Fire’s songs unique, beautiful, and timeless.

Earth, Wind & Fire has taken us on an extraordinary musical journey for more than 40 years. They have used elements of jazz to create pop songs that have become a part of our lives, truly living up to the term “Jazz Masters.” Congratulations, Larry, Philip, and Andrew, for your induction into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.

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Earth, Wind, & Fire has taken us on an extraordinary musical journey for more than 40 years.

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Dianne Reeves

Inducted: November 28, 2017

Dianne Reeves

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Denver native Dianne Reeves has achieved remarkable status as a vocalist in the jazz world.

The unique timbre of her voice and the style and sensitivity she brings to her songs have made her an American treasure. Music was everywhere in Dianne’s family when she was growing up, and she honed her jazz chops with her cousin, George Duke, and her uncle, Charles Burrell.


Friends and family played a huge role in Dianne’s life.

She moved to Los Angeles in 1976 at the suggestion of Earth, Wind & Fire’s Philip Bailey, and the two quickly rose to the top of their respective fields.

Ms. Reeves ranks among the top echelon of jazz singers, winning five Grammy Awards, two honorary doctorates, and numerous other awards. She sang with everyone from Stanley Turrentine to Harry Belafonte, and she was the featured singer in George Clooney’s film Good Night and Good Luck.

We are fortunate that she decided to move back to Colorado in the 1990s, and we treasure her for her elegance and evocative voice and the way she makes us feel as she explores and re-imagines jazz standards and new compositions. Congratulations to Dianne on being inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.

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Congratulations to Dianne on Being inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.

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Miles & Frisell

Inducted: November 28, 2017

Miles & Frisell

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By the time Bill Frisell graduated from Denver’s East High School, he was already an incredible guitarist and had begun working with some of the greats.

Bill has held the number-one guitarist spot in the annual Downbeat Critics Poll for nine out of ten years. He has been named Guitarist of the Year 18 times, and he’s won numerous Grammys for his work recording with Petra Haden, Tony Scherr and Kenny Wolleson. Bill continues to collaborate with a wide range of artists and musicians, from Paul Simon to Vinicius Cantuaria. But his most lasting connection and collaboration has been with Denver’s own Ron Miles.

Ron Miles has played in many genres and styles of music with artists from all over the world… Yet there is something uniquely Colorado about the way he approaches all music equally.

Ron Miles has played in many genres and styles of music with artists from all over the world. Yet there is something uniquely Colorado about the way he approaches all music equally. As much as Ron and Bill are both renowned for jazz playing, they both frequently cross musical boundaries into styles like folk, country music and Americana. It is fitting that these two were inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame together in 2017.

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It is fitting that Ron Miles and Bill Frisell were inducted into the Colorado Music Hall Of Fame together in 2017.

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Charles Burrell

Inducted: November 28, 2017

Charles Burrell

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Any story of jazz in Colorado must begin with Charles Burrell, also known as the Jackie Robinson of classical music.

He was the first African-American to ever play in a symphony orchestra. He was also a brilliant jazz musician, playing with all of the luminaries of his time.

Charles Burrell learned from some of the best,

and he passed it on in so many ways, most notably in tutoring his cousins George Duke, who became a world-famous keyboard player and producer, and Purnell Steen, also a well-known keyboard player, as well as his niece, the celebrated singer Dianne Reeves. Burrell, who turned 99 in 2019, has had an enormous impact on music during his lifetime, especially on jazz in Colorado.

Charles Burrell received the Denver Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Arts & Culture and the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award, and Congresswoman Diana DeGette led a tribute to him on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, referring to him as “a titan of the classical and jazz bass.” Charles Burrell was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame Jazz Masters class of 2017.

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A titan of the classical and jazz bass, Charles Burrell was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall Of Fame, with Jazz Masters class of 2017.

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Wendy Lynn Kale

Inducted: December 3, 2019

Wendy Lynn Kale

Wendy Kale is the first journalist to be inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, and her dedication to and support of the Colorado music scene makes her very worthy of that honor. “She just loved the music,” Firefall’s Jock Bartley has said of Kale.

Born in New Jersey on March 19, 1953, Kale moved west to Boulder in the fall of 1971 to attend the University of Colorado, where she studied Communications.

Boulder’s reputation as a hot spot for emerging music and art was the main reason she selected CU Boulder, she told friends. Kale became a regular at Tulagi and the Buff Room on the Hill, enjoying all kinds of music, from folk to jazz. She also found a prolific music scene at the University of Colorado, where she caught such acts as the Jefferson Airplane, Savoy Brown and the Marshall Tucker Band in Balch Fieldhouse, and Zephyr and B.B. King in the Glenn Miller Ballroom.

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Kale wanted to be involved in the scene, and soon found her way to the office of the CU Program Council, the campus group responsible for bringing movies and concerts to campus. She began as a general volunteer, hanging posters, working on production crews moving equipment, volunteering for security and selling tickets for the movie programs. But mostly, Wendy loved the music.

She helped organize free concerts with local musicians and suggested bands to play at the enormously popular Friday Afternoon Club concerts at the UMC Grill. In 1976, Phil Lobel became the director of the CU Program Council and hired Kale to be the official PR director. She relished the opportunity to talk with musicians and write press releases; she arranged interviews and coordinated press access and kept guest lists. She also wrote stories for The Entertainer, the Program Council’s in-house publication, and scoured area venues for emerging talent.

When Stu Osnow took over the reins at the Program Council, he relied heavily on Kale to suggest acts for the organization’s events. She selected local talent to serve as opening acts for established touring artists, and continued to find musicians for FAC and other events. Among the bands she helped in their early days were Big Head Todd and the Monsters, the Samples, the Subdudes, Chris Daniels & the Kings and 16 Horsepower, to name only a few.

Kale graduated from CU in March 1979 and continued to help out at the Program Council, even enrolling in continuing-education classes to stay eligible. She advised several classes of Program Council staffers and was considered a mentor for most of her life. In order to make ends meet, she took almost any job that would accommodate her music-dominated schedule. She worked at the CU Bookstore and at CU registration, and helped out at local entertainment venues in any capacity available.

In 1986, Kale was hired to write a music column for the Colorado Daily. That column, “Out and About,” allowed her to continue doing what she loved: attend music events and promote local and emerging talent. According to Colorado Daily entertainment editor Leland Rucker, who hired Kale, “She wasn’t a very good writer, but she was certainly enthusiastic and she was willing to work for $25 per week.” At the Daily, Kale established herself as a music writer; her beat was the theater and club circuit in Boulder. She specialized in finding and promoting new talent, and many artists credit her with giving them the boost they needed.

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Wendy Kale CU Yearbook Photo

When the E.W. Scripps Company purchased the Colorado Daily, Kale was one of three or four writers who were spared in the inevitable purge, and her work began to appear regularly in the Boulder Daily Camera. While continuing to write about music and local venues, she expanded her scope to write about alternative healing and new-age spiritualism. She continued to write for the Camera until her untimely death on August 3, 2011. Kale was also working at the Unity of Boulder Church at the time of her death, helping develop materials for the church’s outreach. She was beloved by both the staff and the congregation.

It has been said that Kale attended more concerts than any other person in Boulder. If you wanted to find her, you just went to the Fox, or the Blue Note, or Tulagi, or Nissi’s, or any other local music venue; looking around the back of the house, you’d surely find her. If she wasn’t there, she was peddling her old black bicycle from one performance to another. She loved the music. She was a rock writer.

When word of Kale’s passing became known, many friends in the music community came together to honor her memory. Jeff Brinkman, Rebecca Folsom, Jock Bartley, Chris Daniels, Hazel Miller, Liza Oxnard, Mark Diamond, Trace Bundy, Brian Nevin and Al Laughlin all contributed words or songs to her memorial; Teresa Taylor, Andy Schneidkraut and Helen Forster also spoke. Each person mentioned Kale’s tireless support for music and musicians; each shared a personal account of how she’d given them help early on or at a critical juncture in their career. For some, Kale arranged their first interview or wrote the first article about them; for others, she connected them with people who would book them. The event ended with the entire group gathered on stage for Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and many tears were shed.

It was an honor and a privilege to give Wendy “Rock & Roll” Kale the Barry Fey Innovation Award and make her the first journalist to be inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, as part of the Going Back to Colorado Class of 2019.

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