We had the good fortune of connecting with Annie Booth and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Annie, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
Authenticity is something that I value greatly. I value it in my own art as I aim to create music – whether improvised or composed – in the most authentic way possible. When I get away from what I “think people want to hear” or what I “think people will be impressed by” and I double down on my most authentic expression, it tends to connect the most and be my best work. I value authenticity in art made by others I enjoy listening to/viewing/reading/etc. The experience of witnessing someone’s personal and unique vision is always more valuable to me than witnessing a recreation or an imitation.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a jazz composer, pianist, and bandleader. I lead several musical projects of varying size and scope (the Annie Booth Trio, Sextet, BigBand, et al) and I have a wonderful time writing for these projects that I also perform in. It’s always a balance between my love for performing and improvising in the moment and my love for the compositional process, which obviously takes place behind the scenes, alone and in my basement studio.
I’ve been greatly supported by the Denver community in which I’ve grown up, and I don’t think I’d be where I’m at today without cultural institutions such as Dazzle Jazz Club (and owner Donald Rossa), the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts (CCJA) and Jazz 89.3 KUVO. Not to mention a very supportive family. I’ve worked really hard at this whole music thing. I think a lots of folks who maybe only knew me as a younger musician would be surprised to hear where I’m at now – I had a lot to catch up on! While I’m really proud of where I’m at and what I’m working on and who I’m collaborating with, I’m always striving to learn more and grow. I mentioned “authenticity” earlier, and that’s the principle that’s driving my career path at the moment – I’m striving to create the most authentic music that’s within me and hoping to continue to connect meaningfully with audiences through that authentic expression.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love this question! IFor a special occasion, I always take people to the Brown Palace Hotel to hear John Kite – the most entertaining entertainer in the city – play the piano and sing. Afternoon tea is a classy option there, or pints of beer and tasty bar food at the Ship Tavern at night.
My favorite park in the city is Cheesman Park (I have a song, “Prologue-Park Fanfare,” that I wrote in tribute to it!) and you can’t go wrong with a picnic hang there.
A go-to combo for me is Tattered Cover Bookstore and Twist & Shout Records and I usually take out-of-town friends to both. I’ll go as a “treat yourself” excursion myself every so often, but I have to give myself a budget for each store otherwise I could go nuts.
Lastly, I will always sing the praises of one of my favorite restaurants – Cart-Driver (two locations in Denver). Their pizza is the most legit in the city and it’s one of my favorite post-gig places!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I owe so much to the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts (CCJA), a non-profit organization based in Denver, CO. I found out about and began playing piano in CCJA as a 15 year old and it completely changed the trajectory of my life in a positive way. I was able to take my budding passion for jazz and truly amplify it by connecting with other kids my age who were just as curious about the music as I was and CCJA connected me with mentors who have held important roles in my life still to this day. I’m so grateful for the passion, dedication, and vision of Paul & Chris Romaine who started the organization over 20 years ago. It’s an absolute gem in this city and is responsible for creating a really beautiful and positive ecosystem of jazz musicians and community members. I’m very lucky to be associated with CCJA nowadays as a program director and faculty member, sharing my love of the music with the next generation of engaged teens.