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Carmen Sandim at Caffè Sole

Photo: Alexandra Foster • The Sentry
CU Denver professor debuts her new album live.

CU professor celebrates new album

Carmen Sandim, a piano professor at CU Denver and Boulder, performed at Caffè Sole in Boulder on Oct. 26. The performances came in celebration of her new album release Playdoh. The audience was filled with older jazz fans as well as a handful of students there to support Sandim. Her septet included six members: Shane Endsley on trumpet, Bruce Williamson on reeds, Alex Heitlinger on trombone, Khabu Doug Young on guitar, Bill McCrossen on bass and Dru Heller on drums. Sandim has a plethora of professional accomplishments from running her own music production company JAM to releasing music internationally through German publisher SONOTON. 

Sandim began playing piano at an extremely young age, around the age of 12 she decided that playing classical music was boring and she began looking for a way to be more expressive with her music. “I started looking into other styles and jazz was really…just the idea of improvisation and how much freedom the instrumentalist has, it really enchanted me” Sandim said.  This enchantment is something that any concert-goer could recognize as Sandim settled herself in front of the piano and began the show.   

The opening song of the night began with a mellow chime of the drum symbols, each hit growing louder and becoming more sporadic in rhythm. Drummer Dru Heller lead the crowd on an almost confusing journey before Sandim and the rest of the septet glided their way into unison, creating an effortless and enchanting sound. The song continued with trumpet player Shane Endsley blessing the crowd with a smooth solo. Patrons cheered in excitement as his solo progressed, with various claps and whoops of approval. As the song ended, Sandim thanked the crowd for coming to support her, and gave them a round of applause. 

Caffè Sole is a small picturesque café that only holds around 20-30 people. Which made the experience far more intimate. Many people in the audience were able to show their appreciation right as songs ended. The small space also offered a quiet quality to the music that would otherwise be taken away if the show was to be at a large venue like The Mission Ballroom or Red Rocks. A large majority of those in the crowd were older. While most of the younger audience came from Sandim’s various piano classes. Regardless of the demographic, everyone there was extremely respectful of the music and excited to hear Sandim work her magic on the piano. 

This concert showcased the raw talents that CU Denver professors have to offer. The profound understanding everyone in the crowd had for the music can surely be life changing for anyone. Sandim’s piano playing was delicate and told a story to everyone sitting in the crowd. It felt like she was giving the crowd a direct look into the things that are most important to her.

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