* Kenneth Whalum III

The rising tenor saxophonist Kenneth Whalum III can send a message with a screed or a soft whisper—sometimes both at once. There’s always an insistence, a captivating sense of purpose, living within his tone. Whalum contributed lithe accompaniment to R&B star Maxwell’s album, BLACKsummers’night, and on his own robust solo debut, titled To Those Who Believe, Whalum plays modal jazz over rolling grooves.

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Giovanni Russonello

About Giovanni Russonello

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Giovanni is the founder of CapitalBop, and a music critic for the New York Times. He previously served as a contributor to the Washington Post, the FADER, JazzTimes, NPR Music and others, and hosted “On the Margin,” a books show on WPFW-FM. As head of CapitalBop, he has covered the D.C. jazz scene since 2010. (He is no longer directly involved in the presenting of CapitalBop's concerts.) He graduated from Tufts University with a bachelor’s degree in history, with a focus on African-American history. Reach Giovanni at editor@capitalbop.com. Read him at giovannirussonello.com or nytimes.com/by/giovanni-russonello. Follow him on Twitter at @giorussonello.