CapitalBop http://www.capitalbop.com DC jazz clubs, calendar, blog Thu, 21 Aug 2014 13:46:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Exclusive: After closing, HR-57 owner aims to build new club across from Howard Theatrehttp://www.capitalbop.com/closing-hr-57-owner-aims-build-new-club-near-u-street/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=closing-hr-57-owner-aims-build-new-club-near-u-street http://www.capitalbop.com/closing-hr-57-owner-aims-build-new-club-near-u-street/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 16:25:16 +0000 http://www.capitalbop.com/?p=118214 HR-57 is down again, but not out. The popular jazz club closed its doors on H Street NE last weekend, but its owner is laying plans to build a new, expanded venue along the U Street corridor. Tony Puesan told CapitalBop on Wednesday that he will submit a proposal to the D.C. government to purchase […]

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HR-57 is down again, but not out. The popular jazz club closed its doors on H Street NE last weekend, but its owner is laying plans to build a new, expanded venue along the U Street corridor.

Tony Puesan told CapitalBop on Wednesday that he will submit a proposal to the D.C. government to purchase a vacant, city-owned property on the corner of T Street and Florida Avenue NW, across the street from the Howard Theatre. Located at 625 T St., the site (shown above) is currently a parking lot owned by the city.

Puesan’s development proposal has yet to be approved by the District government. But if the deal goes through, he says the new location would allow for extended daytime hours and more resources for musicians.

“We are in the midst of negotiating for a spot that we would consider historic—next to the Duke Ellington statue, right across from the Howard Theatre,” Puesan said. “We are going to build this facility from the ground up. This is from scratch.”

The club—whose full name is HR-57 Center for the Preservation of Jazz & Blues—is no stranger to relocations. In its 21-year history, it has already had five different homes around the city. But it’s been seven years since the club owned its own property, and Puesan hopes to use a new building to offer open jam sessions and house other community gatherings.

On Aug. 4, Puesan told the blog Frozen Tropics that his old location on 10th and H Streets NE would close at the end of the week, prompting outcry from area fans and speculation about where the club might be headed. If the announcement seemed abrupt to some, Puesan says he has been building community support in the U St. neighborhood for some time.

The scene inside HR-57's now-closed location at H and 10th Streets NE. Courtesy bittersweetzine.com

The scene inside HR-57′s now-closed location at H and 10th Streets NE. Courtesy bittersweetzine.com

According to Puesan, the ANC 1B and the LeDroit Park Civic Association have sent official letters of support. “They want us at that location. We’ve met with them and they’re happy,” he said.

Golda Phillip, president of the LeDroit Park Civic Association, said that Puesan first came to the community group’s May meeting, where he announced plans for the site on T Street and fielded questions. Parking space and noise were residents’ paramount concerns, but the overall mood was receptive, she said. Puesan assured the community that he would soundproof the building and abide by D.C. noise ordinances. The association voted to support HR-57′s plans at the next month’s meeting.

“We had, I believe, two abstentions and no votes in opposition,” Phillip said. “Based on the vote, I think the folks who were at the meeting felt that the benefits greatly outweighed the potential problems.”

The ANC 1B office did not respond to requests for comment.

Community support alone does not guarantee the move will go through. Since the lot is owned by the D.C. government, its sale must be approved by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. For that to happen, the office must first release a Request for Proposals (RFP), and then evaluate all bids on the property—a process that can take months.

Chandra Washington, communications director for the Office of the Deputy Mayor, says that while her office has not engaged in direct negotiations with Puesan regarding the T Street location, it has been acting as a resource to help HR-57 identify possible locations. She stresses that HR-57 will need to apply to purchase the space like any other institution.

“We anticipate issuing an RFP for 625 T Street in the near future,” Washington said. “This process is competitive and we would be happy to receive proposals from anyone.”

Washington says that while she cannot name specifics, she has heard other businesses may be interested in the location. Despite the lengthy process, Puesan is confident about his proposal’s chances.

“They can’t just go along with [our development plans], simply because they’re a government agency,” he said. “They administer the property, they put it up for a bid, and we’re submitting a bid. We have our bid ready to go.”

If approved, the site on Florida and T will be HR-57′s sixth location in just over two decades. After its founding in 1993, the club spent three years at 9th and P Streets NW. After a short stint at 14th and V Streets, it spent more than a decade at a big and rundown but widely treasured venue at 14th and Q Streets. Then in 2010 Puesan surprised the jazz scene by announcing plans to move to Northeast’s H St. corridor; he first opened up shop in a relatively small room on 8th and H Streets NE, and later moved to the corner of 10th and H.

Ultimately, the response on H Street was not strong enough to keep Puesan there. The allure of U Street’s foot traffic, along with the opportunity to own his own building, spurred the move back to Northwest.

“Basically we found that we had a big audience in Northwest. We’ve got a lot of supporters here in Northeast, but we’ve got a ton in Northwest,” Puesan said.

Building a jazz club from the ground up comes with its own challenges, the foremost being funding. Puesan figures he will need about $600,000 to construct the “very tall, one-story building.” He says HR-57 has between $85,000 and $90,000 of the total already, and plans to make up the difference with website donations, an upcoming Kickstarter campaign, and some help from the city government. He hopes the club’s reputation as a cultural institution will inspire individuals, nonprofits and city officials to make an investment.

If and when Puesan attracts the needed funding, he says the new facility will allow for expanded programming. He hopes to keep the new HR-57 open seven days a week, and offer use of the space for rehearsals, community meetings and nonprofit functions during the day.

“We’re going to buy a space where we can have longevity,” Puesan said. “The structure and the institution will still be there 100 years from now.”

The local trumpeter DeAndrey Howard—a longtime regular at HR-57 who spent this week helping Puesan move out of the H St. location—anticipates the new venue will allow Puesan to bring in more prominent performers. “Tony says he’s stepping it up,” he said. Howard added that his audio production company, Musician’s Sound Systems, will provide the new club with a more robust system than it had at past locations.

The HR-57 owner estimates it could take as little as eight or nine months before the new facility is ready to go. But he won’t be sitting idle: Puesan says he is in negotiations to secure an interim venue elsewhere in Northwest.

“We will be doing events across the city, and we do have one space—I can’t speak on it now until the ink is dry—where we will be having continuous events until a structure is built,” he said. favicon

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Jazz and community: Could we be learning from Fort Reno?http://www.capitalbop.com/jazz-community-could-we-learn-from-fort-reno/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=jazz-community-could-we-learn-from-fort-reno http://www.capitalbop.com/jazz-community-could-we-learn-from-fort-reno/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 19:41:50 +0000 http://www.capitalbop.com/?p=118201 Sriram Gopal Swing District   The pop star Sting recently gave a TED Talk on how he overcame a serious bout with writer’s block. Casting for inspiration, he began to compose pieces about his boyhood home, a shipyard town near Newcastle, England. When the yard closed, Sting’s hometown was economically devastated. “There’s a symbiotic and […]

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Sriram Gopal
Swing District

 


The pop star Sting recently gave a TED Talk on how he overcame a serious bout with writer’s block. Casting for inspiration, he began to compose pieces about his boyhood home, a shipyard town near Newcastle, England. When the yard closed, Sting’s hometown was economically devastated. “There’s a symbiotic and intrinsic link between storytelling and community, between community and art, between community and science and technology, between community and economics,” he said. “It’s my belief that abstract economic theory that denies the needs of community, or denies the contribution that community makes to economy, is shortsighted, cruel and untenable.”

While Sting’s takeaway on community focuses on economics, the other connections he makes are equally valid. Any arts scene that does not snugly embed itself inside the broader community is, like abstract economic theory, shortsighted and untenable. Certainly, there’s a strong sense of kinship among those of us directly connected to the music: Jazz players in this city are remarkably supportive of each other, as are the journalists and presenters who cover and showcase these artists. But I wonder whether further steps can be taken to build bridges to those without their own direct connections into jazz. (If you need evidence that there is a disconnect between us jazz folks and the greater cultural world, just take a look at Justin Moyer’s inane opinion piece on why jazz isn’t worth people’s time, from last Sunday’s Washington Post.)

First, a clarification on the word “community.” As the philosopher and theologian Jean Vanier put it, communities enable us to “welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals.” Communities are attached to a place. They’re organic, and although they bring together a group of people, they also allow for relationships among individuals to remain intimate. They also provide an identity with which one can engage the outside world.

But communities require action, contribution and development from their members. And in this regard, more effort might be required in the jazz community. You can think of the creative work that musicians provide as a form of action, and the money a listener pays to buy an album or see a performance as a kind of contribution—but a finite, transactional relationship is not where true community is built. Our ability to act and contribute to building a jazz community has been hindered by the music’s shift toward the academy over the past several decades. The conservatory’s ivory tower can be intimidating to some laypeople, and it creates its own body of knowledge and structures, resulting in a divide between those “in the know” and the uninitiated.

We don’t have to look far to find the model for a local music scene that nurtures community in a way that is inviting, not alienating—a scene that requires action from all its members, listeners as well as performers. D.C.’s vibrant indie rock scene has done that for decades, ever since it first developed in the late 1970s with the hardcore punk movement. Two free, public concert series offer us a lens through which we can see the differences between the indie and jazz communities: the performances at Fort Reno, curated by Amanda MacKaye, and the Petworth Jazz Project, curated by Tom Pipkin. (Editor’s note: CapitalBop works with the Petworth Jazz Project every August to present the New Vintage Jazz & Wine Festival.) Both are free and draw a diverse audience, but the vibes are very different. To me, one feels like a community gathering whereas the other feels like an open-air concert.

Fugazi performs at Fort Reno in 2002. Courtesy dischord.com

Fugazi performs at Fort Reno in 2002. Courtesy dischord.com

Bands that play at Fort Reno must make a pitch in a creative way, beyond simply submitting press kits. In fact, doing the latter is a strike against you. Instead, MacKaye receives creative, “DIY” packages that aim to demonstrate how passionately the band wants to play the series—which has been going on in some form or another since 1968—and how exciting their performance will be. The community atmosphere was best brought to light earlier this summer, when a change in National Park Service policy ended up doubling the cost of staging the series. The response from across the indie community was swift and intense, eventually causing the authorities to compromise. As much as I appreciate the free-of-charge jazz concerts that take place around town, I can’t envision this type of citizen response taking place, should any of them be canceled.

MacKaye nurtures the scene, and young bands, by making sure that each summer’s program includes kids that are still in high school all the way to seasoned veterans. I was at this summer’s annual “Night of 1,000 Cakes” show at Fort Reno, where attendees brought sweets that anyone could enjoy as the show took place. The lineup included a mixed-race hard-rock band called Stereosleep and was headlined by Black Sparks, a group of teenagers who were a bit green but played with more passion than any band I’ve seen in a long time. In most free concert settings,  the curator’s tastes that are laid upon the community, whereas at Fort Reno it’s much more wide-open.

The ethos of D.C.’s hardcore scene has been inclusive in other ways. During the 1980s and ‘90s, the seminal band Fugazi refused to play shows that were not all ages and whose admission was over $10. The community also had a common way of releasing its material through Dischord Records. The storied local label sells only music from the D.C. area because “this is the city where we live, work and have the most understanding. To expand would be to dilute our focus.” The label also encourages communities in other cities to “take control” of their local scenes.

Between the openness to new acts, the inclusivity to its audiences and the formation of a creative hub that gets the word out with a grassroots approach, the indie scene in D.C. has a handful of facets that could be instructive to the jazz community. All that said, I recognize that community building does not pay the rent, especially if we’re talking about free shows. Also, communities can only grow to a certain point before they are forced to lose their nebulous qualities: Musicians with national and international aspirations require support networks that can only exist with a certain level of formalized structure. Still, I strongly feel that community should be the level at which jazz’s aspirations toward greater relevance and accessibility take root. As artists, presenters and writers, we are asking for members of the broader community to listen, attend and read what we produce. In turn, we should help foster community to create a more sustainable artistic environment. favicon

Sriram Gopal is CapitalBop’s monthly columnist. He can be reached at sriram@capitalbop.com. His column appears on the second Thursday of every month.

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Announcing the New Vintage Jazz & Wine Fest, with Lakecia Benjamin, Soul Understated & morehttp://www.capitalbop.com/announcing-new-vintage-jazz-wine-fest-lakecia-benjamin-soul-understated/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=announcing-new-vintage-jazz-wine-fest-lakecia-benjamin-soul-understated http://www.capitalbop.com/announcing-new-vintage-jazz-wine-fest-lakecia-benjamin-soul-understated/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 19:05:48 +0000 http://www.capitalbop.com/?p=118159 Scroll down for a special CapitalBop discount offer, poster and preview video.   Get ready for a day full of sun, fine wine and delicious eats. Doesn’t sound so bad, right? Now add the fact that it’ll feature six bands from across the jazz spectrum—each of them truly masters in their own right. The Second […]

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Scroll down for a special CapitalBop discount offer, poster and preview video.

 
Get ready for a day full of sun, fine wine and delicious eats. Doesn’t sound so bad, right? Now add the fact that it’ll feature six bands from across the jazz spectrum—each of them truly masters in their own right.

The Second Annual New Vintage Jazz & Wine Festival is coming up on Saturday, August 9, and CapitalBop is proud to be curating the music again this year. Lakecia Benjamin, a New York saxophonist and funk musician on the rise, is our headliner: She sounds like a jazzier Maceo Parker, refashioned for the 21st century, and we’re thrilled to be presenting her. Also coming in from the Big Apple is Soul Understated, feat. Mavis “SWAN” Poole on vocals. SU is simply one of the most grooving and downright happenin’ bands in jazz and soul these days, and they happen to have a very hot new album that’s about to be released. Don’t miss out.

New Vintage Fest 2014There’ll be 15 varietals of wine, all hand-picked by Robert Kacher Selections. The lineup also features four of the best D.C.-based bands around. Funk Ark is an Afrobeat ensemble that was a smash hit at last year’s New Vintage Fest. Allyn Johnson’s Sonic Sanctuary is the electric project of the guy who’s arguably D.C.’s greatest pianist—someone you probably know for his gospelly straight-ahead chops more than his formidable skill as a progressive jazz bandleader. Lenny Robinson, a creative and energizing drummer, has been featured on our stages many times, but never before with his Wayne Contingency band: It’s an exploration of Wayne Shorter’s which he’ll bring here. And Elijah Jamal Balbed, the District’s young sax phenom, will kick the day off right with his straight-ahead quintet.

We’re also thrilled to be able to offer you, the faithful CapitalBop reader, a 20% discount off the already-affordable ticket price. Just click below to visit the Eventbrite page, and enter the promotional code “capbopvip” when you buy.

See you there on Saturday, Aug. 9!

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7.11-7.13: Top local talent around town; Cory Henry of Snarky Puppy; DC Jazz loft on Sundayhttp://www.capitalbop.com/7-11-7-13-local-talent-shines-bohemian-twins-wesley-presbyterian-dc-jazz-loft/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=7-11-7-13-local-talent-shines-bohemian-twins-wesley-presbyterian-dc-jazz-loft http://www.capitalbop.com/7-11-7-13-local-talent-shines-bohemian-twins-wesley-presbyterian-dc-jazz-loft/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 15:37:30 +0000 http://www.capitalbop.com/?p=118116 The focus falls on local musicians this weekend; things get started on Friday night with Alison Crockett, a powerful and message-conscious vocalist and a CapitalBop favorite. Then at Bohemian Caverns on Saturday, the grooving, freely shape-shifting Young Lions trio (Kris Funn, Quincy Phillips and Allyn Johnson) have a one-night-only booking. Finally, on Sunday, we’re shedding […]

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The focus falls on local musicians this weekend; things get started on Friday night with Alison Crockett, a powerful and message-conscious vocalist and a CapitalBop favorite. Then at Bohemian Caverns on Saturday, the grooving, freely shape-shifting Young Lions trio (Kris Funn, Quincy Phillips and Allyn Johnson) have a one-night-only booking. Finally, on Sunday, we’re shedding a light on some up-and-coming power players on the local scene at the DC Jazz Loft. Brad Linde’s new collective, Team Players, and the area vocal talent Aaron Myers will be celebrating CD releases, and the drummer Aaron Seeber will bring his quartet.

Also, on both Friday and Saturday the area trumpeter Luke Brandon, a member of two widely reputed big bands, brings his own small group to Twins Jazz. And for any Snarky Puppy fans that missed the chance to hear the band at the DC Jazz Festival last month, one of its stars — the keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist Cory Henry plays Friday night at Bohemian. As usual, all our favorite upcoming shows are shown in the calendar below. To see everything, click on “tags” and remove the “CB PICK” selection.

August – September 2014

Akua Allrich @ Bohemian Caverns
Akua Allrich @ Bohemian Caverns | Washington | District of Columbia | United States
Nina Simone and Miriam Makeba are two strong influences that bubble up in Akua Allrich’s scorching, muscular music; here she presents a program paying tribute to both idols. An effervescent singer who wields a sort[...]
Akua Allrich @ Bohemian Caverns
Akua Allrich @ Bohemian Caverns | Washington | District of Columbia | United States
Nina Simone and Miriam Makeba are two strong influences that bubble up in Akua Allrich’s scorching, muscular music; here she presents a program paying tribute to both idols. An effervescent singer who wields a sort[...]
Joe Herrera @ Bohemian Caverns
Joe Herrera @ Bohemian Caverns | Washington | District of Columbia | United States
The trumpeter Joe Herrera, a leader of the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra and versatile stalwart of the D.C. jazz world, plays with brightness and compassion. As artist-in-residence this month at Bohemian Caverns, he performs with[...]
Reginald Cyntje @ Bohemian Caverns
Reginald Cyntje @ Bohemian Caverns
Reginald Cyntje, arguably D.C.’s most agile and expressive trombone player, makes a strong impression on his newest album, Elements of Life. Cyntje’s sloping, danceable compositions tap strong feelings, and lull you into exhilaration. Ever active,[...]
Reginald Cyntje @ Bohemian Caverns
Reginald Cyntje @ Bohemian Caverns
Reginald Cyntje, arguably D.C.’s most agile and expressive trombone player, makes a strong impression on his newest album, Elements of Life. Cyntje’s sloping, danceable compositions tap strong feelings, and lull you into exhilaration. Ever active,[...]
Rosslyn Jazz Festival @ Arlington Gateway Park
Rosslyn Jazz Festival @ Arlington Gateway Park | Arlington | Virginia | United States
Sep 6 @ 1:00 pm Virginia CB PICK Free Outdoors
The 24th annual Rosslyn Jazz Festival sticks to the event’s reliable formula of national star power plus wisely selected local talent. There’s another theme, though: big ensembles with their own ideas of how a party[...]

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Traveling to feed the ears and soulhttp://www.capitalbop.com/traveling-feed-ears-soul/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=traveling-feed-ears-soul http://www.capitalbop.com/traveling-feed-ears-soul/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 02:15:42 +0000 http://www.capitalbop.com/?p=118097 Sriram Gopal Swing District   I know bona fide globetrotters. I am not one of them. But I do make it a point to make use of my passport once a year. For those who are fortunate enough to have the means, there are few more inspiring experiences than voyaging to lands unknown and interacting […]

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Sriram Gopal
Swing District

 


I know bona fide globetrotters. I am not one of them. But I do make it a point to make use of my passport once a year. For those who are fortunate enough to have the means, there are few more inspiring experiences than voyaging to lands unknown and interacting with people who see life from a different perspective.

Of course I make it a point to seek out live music when abroad; one way is to make the music a destination, by going to a major festival. To that end, the sixteen events that make up the International Jazz Festivals Organization are on my bucket list (I’ve hit up just three so far). These tend to make great experiences: a week filled with music while soaking up the host city’s flavor. But that’s not the undertaking I want to focus on in this space—equally memorable are those hidden gems that one stumbles upon in a strange place. It’s a truism by now that jazz is everywhere. Knowing that, it’s the seemingly minor experiences that stand out to me. I’d like to explore why they left such a strong impression, and then describe how those moments colored my understanding of jazz in the District.

In any given city with a serious scene, there are jam sessions (non-festival related) that always prove to be intriguing. Watch a vocalist in Paris trying to mimic Sarah Vaughan, a drummer in Prague searching for the proper swing on a shuffle beat, or an exuberant young pianist in Amsterdam showing all the technique in the world, but needing just a bit more maturity and restraint on his treatment of a Monk tune: They’re all struggling to connect with the American blues tradition, its warm-hearted inventiveness, but within the context of their own experience. Seeing this struggle was endearing because it echoed a similar challenge that many artists in this country face, especially those of us that are immigrants or are otherwise at a remove from African-American culture.

Most recently, I took a much-needed vacation to Europe, a jaunt that included a weeklong road trip in Croatia. The final stop was two days in the capital city of Zagreb. Tkalciceva Street is a charming thoroughfare in the old city that’s lined with outdoor cafés and restaurants, where the food is great but the people-watching is outstanding. Tucked in a hidden corner is the Melin Cafe, by far the hippest spot on Tkalciceva. Earlier that day my travel mate and I had asked around for venues that featured live music, and we were directed to Melin. We were not disappointed. The ensemble, whose name I never wrote down, was made up of locals, and the instrumentation included electric keys (doubling on keyboard bass), trumpet, drums and guitar. The sound is what one might call acid jazz, with references to ‘70s-era Miles Davis along with drum ‘n’ bass-influenced groups like Screaming Headless Torsos and Jojo Mayer’s Nerve. The band’s music was modern in a variety of its own ways, but it was clear that there was a heritage from which the musicians were drawing.

My most dramatic and touching musical memory comes from a work-related trip to Serbia in 2001. The country had been simmering since the death in 1980 of its longtime authoritarian leader Josip Broz Tito. The nation started to disintegrate after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the ‘90s became a period of bloody conflict and civil war. The conflict ended in 1999, but there were still visible scars when I arrived. The day I landed in Belgrade was the same day that Slobodan Milosevic, who was responsible for large-scale ethnic cleansing, was arrested at his home and charged with war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

A work colleague told me that there was an ensemble playing at the University of Belgrade’s student center. The group was a quintet under the direction of its bassist, a faculty instructor, along with his students on piano, drums, trumpet and saxophone. The trumpeter stood out. As the band charged through classic hard bop and bebop tunes, this 18-year old Serbian kid was blazing through Dizzy Gillespie and Kenny Dorham licks alike, having clearly immersed himself in the music of that era. His notes struck a blow against the violence and atrocity amongst which he had been brought up, and they struck a universal chord.

These trips affect the way in which I view my own surroundings. There are parallels here with those inexperienced musicians studying the classics, or the electric group drawing from the early fusion years, because there is such a sense of history and lineage in D.C.’s scene too. The musicians here have studied the world-renowned masters, but Buck Hill and Butch Warren are held in equally high regard.

At the same time, these European musicians I’ve just described are not afraid to adapt music to their own circumstances. The individuality that comes from personal and geographic history leads to a true local identity, which is central to building a sustainable music community. The DMV certainly has its own flavor now, but the District is in the midst of rapid change, with gentrification overtaking large swaths of the city. My hope is that these new musicians and audiences will take the time to understand this identity and history and incorporate them into their own tastes. Likewise, I hope the jazz community that is already here will allow itself to evolve with the city itself.

My travels have led me to appreciate the gift of living in an international city. This is one area where I believe our jazz family can make some improvements by creating more opportunities for the cross-pollination of cultures. There have been and still are events that already do this, for example the Intersections Festival or the concerts that the DC Jazz Festival used to present with Voice of America, which brought together musicians who hailed from former Communist countries. There can and should be more of these spaces to take advantage of the fact that so much of the world is represented right here, in the Biggest Small Town in the World.

Sriram Gopal is CapitalBop’s monthly columnist. He can be reached at sriram@capitalbop.com. His column appears on the first Thursday of every month.

Photo above of Melin Café courtesy julio-frangen-unifoto.com

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DC Jazz Loft July 2014: This Sunday, introducing three acts quickly on the risehttp://www.capitalbop.com/dc-jazz-loft-july-2014-introducing-three-acts-quickly-rise/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dc-jazz-loft-july-2014-introducing-three-acts-quickly-rise http://www.capitalbop.com/dc-jazz-loft-july-2014-introducing-three-acts-quickly-rise/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 22:08:27 +0000 http://www.capitalbop.com/?p=118057 After three stunning shows at the DC Jazz Festival, we’re excited to return to Union Arts this Sunday with a program of three D.C.-based acts on the rise. Come hang with us at the loft, where we hosted last month’s killer Three-Piano Cutting Contest. As always, the loft is our homey showcase for the wide […]

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After three stunning shows at the DC Jazz Festival, we’re excited to return to Union Arts this Sunday with a program of three D.C.-based acts on the rise. Come hang with us at the loft, where we hosted last month’s killer Three-Piano Cutting Contest.

DC Jazz LoftAs always, the loft is our homey showcase for the wide array of sounds and perspectives that keep the District’s music scene so rich. As it has since 2010, the loft remains donation-based (we strongly suggest $15 for the musicians). And at Union, it’s BYOB. Come find us by following your ear toward the syncopated sounds spilling into the air from the third floor of our warehouse on New York Avenue, just a few blocks north of Union Market. Enter through the rear door off 4th Street NE.

It’s thrilling to be able to present three very different, but in certain ways like-minded, young ensembles this time around. The night will begin with Aaron Seeber, a young drum phenom who’s been playing on U Street since he was in his teens (and isn’t far out of them yet). Then we’ll hear from the newest project of Brad Linde, one of the area’s top saxophonists and bandleaders; he has a bass-free group called Team Players that’s about to release its debut album. Hear them here first. The four musicians hail from across the United States, from Utah to Ohio to Brooklyn, and they’re crucial members of their respective scenes.

Finishing out the night on Sunday will be Aaron Myers, a powerful young singer who’s held down a residency at the Black Fox lounge in Dupont Circle for the past two years. He’s just right for fans of Gregory Porter (which, these days, seems to be about everyone): That is to say, if you like all-in, soul-stirring jazz singing that can hold soul music and straight-ahead in its head at the same time, check this guy out.

AARON MYERS

TEAM PLAYERS

Team Players – Scrimmage

AARON SEEBER

Poster image courtesy illawarrajoyfamily.wordpress.com

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7.4-7.6: Fourth of July weekend shows from Brian Settles, Loide & morehttp://www.capitalbop.com/7-4-7-6-fourth-july-weekend-shows-brian-settles-loide/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=7-4-7-6-fourth-july-weekend-shows-brian-settles-loide http://www.capitalbop.com/7-4-7-6-fourth-july-weekend-shows-brian-settles-loide/#comments Fri, 04 Jul 2014 19:35:09 +0000 http://www.capitalbop.com/?p=118046 Brian Settles, shown above performing at last week’s DC Jazz Festival, leads a trio at Bohemian Caverns this weekend. Photo by Jati Lindsay/CapitalBop The jazz scene rolls on this weekend, post-DC Jazz Festival, only a smidgen weaker for the wear. Theaters and performing arts centers are taking a break from jazz programming, and some clubs […]

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Brian Settles, shown above performing at last week’s DC Jazz Festival, leads a trio at Bohemian Caverns this weekend. Photo by Jati Lindsay/CapitalBop

The jazz scene rolls on this weekend, post-DC Jazz Festival, only a smidgen weaker for the wear. Theaters and performing arts centers are taking a break from jazz programming, and some clubs are sitting out Friday night because of the Independence Day holiday, but as usual there’s loads of talent at play. The most crucial shows come from the ruminative saxophonist Brian Settles’ trio, performing on Friday and Saturday at Bohemian Caverns; the Afro-Lusophone vocalist Loide, on Saturday night at Blues Alley; and the saxophonist Bobby Muncy, playing at Twins Jazz on Sunday.

The D.C. Jazz Jam (on Friday at Bohemian Caverns and at Saturday at Dukem) is taking a break for the holiday weekend. Blues Alley and HR-57 are closed on Friday night, but that only serves to make Settles’ show a sure choice. As usual, all our favorite upcoming shows are shown in the calendar below. To see everything, click on “tags” and remove the “CB PICK” selection.

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DC Jazz Loft Series photo recap: When old meets new, fresh sounds emergehttp://www.capitalbop.com/dc-jazz-loft-series-photo-recap-old-plus-new-equals-fresh-ideas/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dc-jazz-loft-series-photo-recap-old-plus-new-equals-fresh-ideas http://www.capitalbop.com/dc-jazz-loft-series-photo-recap-old-plus-new-equals-fresh-ideas/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 20:37:26 +0000 http://www.capitalbop.com/?p=117981 CapitalBop’s DC Jazz Loft Series at the DC Jazz Festival was the old meeting the new—and on each of its three mind-bending nights, freshness and experimentation were the end result. Things got going on Thursday with a Three-Piano Cutting Contest, featuring some of the music’s greatest: Orrin Evans, Lafayette Gilchrist and Allyn Johnson. The cutting […]

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CapitalBop’s DC Jazz Loft Series at the DC Jazz Festival was the old meeting the new—and on each of its three mind-bending nights, freshness and experimentation were the end result. Things got going on Thursday with a Three-Piano Cutting Contest, featuring some of the music’s greatest: Orrin Evans, Lafayette Gilchrist and Allyn Johnson. The cutting contest has a storied history in jazz, but it hasn’t enjoyed much of a life since the mid-20th century. This show, which was more of a collective invention than a sparring match, updated the all-piano format for the present day. Held at the Union Arts loft, things got started with all three pianists tinkling a soft drizzle of high notes onto the keyboard, feeling their way — three people working together to get the lantern lit — and the night ended with a burning workout: a couple dazzling, swinging solos brought the climax before one pianist threw up his hands in good-natured resignation.

The next evening, Marc Cary’s Rhodes Ahead, Butcher Brown and the Braxton Cook Quartet played to a relaxed but energized audience at the Atlantic Plumbing parking lot, just off U Street. On a perfectly crisp summer evening, with delicious food and drink provided by Union Kitchen, you could see conversations starting up spontaneously, and new fans being made during each band’s set. On the final night, Tarus Mateen’s fabulous new band, West Afro East, performed an opening set for Matana Roberts’ COIN COIN, which was making its D.C. debut. Playing to an enraptured crowd at the intimate Fridge art gallery in Barracks Row, both bands mined wells of folklore and healing traditions to make stirring, upward-circling wreaths of sound. The City Paper’s Michael J. West called Roberts’ set “perhaps the best thing in the festival.”

Photos of all the shows are below, courtesy of CapitalBop contributors Paul Bothwell and Jati Lindsay. And don’t forget that CapitalBop’s outside-the-box programming continues year-round. Our D.C. Jazz Lofts at Union Arts are always on the second Sunday of the month, so mark your calendar for July 13.

Three-Piano Cutting Contest at Union Arts, June 26

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Lafayette Gilchrist, Orrin Evans & Allyn Johnson. Paul Bothwell/CapitalBop

Lafayette Gilchrist. Paul Bothwell/CapitalBop

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The audience applauds as the first set comes to an end at the Cutting Contest. Paul Bothwell/CapitalBop

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Allyn Johnson. Paul Bothwell/CapitalBop

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Orrin Evans, left, takes a solo while keeping both ears open to the maestros beside him. Paul Bothwell/CapitalBop

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Lafayette Gilchrist and Orrin Evans embrace after the final notes of the Cutting Contest. Jati Lindsay/CapitalBop

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The three contestants chat after the performance. Jati Lindsay/CapitalBop

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At Union Arts, all the cutting was cordial. Here Allyn Johnson welcomes a fellow pianist to the stage. Jati Lindsay/CapitalBop

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Orrin Evans. Jati Lindsay/CapitalBop

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Lafayette Gichrist. Jati Lindsay/CapitalBop

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Allyn Johnson and Lafayette Gilchrist. Jati Lindsay/CapitalBop

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Orrin Evans, Allyn Johnson & Lafayette Gilchrist. Jati Lindsay/CapitalBop

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One of the three pianos at the contest, freshly tuned. Jati Lindsay/CapitalBop

Block Party at the Jazz Lot, June 27

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Marcus Tenney performs with Butcher Brown. Jati Lindsay/CapitalBop

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CapitalBop’s luke Stewart, left, and Giovanni Russonello welcome the crowd to the Block Party. Jati Lindsay/CapitalBop

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Marc Cary prepares for his late-night set. Jati Lindsay/CapitalBop

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Marc Cary. Jati Lindsay/CapitalBop

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Brian Settles sits in with Marc Cary’s Rhodes Ahead. Jati Lindsay/CapitalBop

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Marc Cary. Paul Bothwell/CapitalBop

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The percussionist Sameer Gupta prepares his tabla before Rhodes Ahead’s set. Paul Bothwell/CapitalBop

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Marcus Tenney. Paul Bothwell/CapitalBop

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Zach Brown of the Braxton Cook Quartet. Paul Bothwell/CapitalBop

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Braxton Cook. Paul Bothwell/CapitalBop

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Braxton Cook. Paul Bothwell/CapitalBop

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Samora Pinderhughes, left, takes a solo during the Braxton Cook Quartet’s performance. Paul Bothwell/CapitalBop

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Butcher Brown. Paul Bothwell/CapitalBop

Concert at the Fridge, June 28

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Tarus Mateen, left, and Pete Muldoon perform with West Afro East, Mateen’s new combo. Paul Bothwell/CapitalBop

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Pete Muldoon. Paul Bothwell/CapitalBop

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Uasuf Gueye. Paul Bothwell/CapitalBop

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Tarus Mateen. Paul Bothwell/CapitalBop

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The Hamilton kicks out the jams to open the DC Jazz Fest, with back-to-back shows from Brass-A-Holics and Snarky Puppyhttp://www.capitalbop.com/hamilton-kicks-jams-open-festival-back-back-shows-brass-holics-snarky-puppy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=hamilton-kicks-jams-open-festival-back-back-shows-brass-holics-snarky-puppy http://www.capitalbop.com/hamilton-kicks-jams-open-festival-back-back-shows-brass-holics-snarky-puppy/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 16:34:30 +0000 http://www.capitalbop.com/?p=117959 The DC Jazz Festival spans many venues, but the Hamilton is the closest thing it has to a home base. The venue’s first two shows of the festival featured high-energy, electrifying bands: The Brass-A-Holics (whose trombonist Winston Turner is pictured above) played on Tuesday, and Snarky Puppy on Wednesday. Brass-A-Holics are a horns-heavy band that […]

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The DC Jazz Festival spans many venues, but the Hamilton is the closest thing it has to a home base. The venue’s first two shows of the festival featured high-energy, electrifying bands: The Brass-A-Holics (whose trombonist Winston Turner is pictured above) played on Tuesday, and Snarky Puppy on Wednesday.

Brass-A-Holics are a horns-heavy band that mixes various instrumental dance musics from around the U.S., particularly New Orleans second line and D.C. go-go. The dance floor during their show was revved up. When the keyboardist Nigel Hall, a D.C. native wearing the hat of the Washington football team, sang his rousing version of Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke,” the crowd was united in his favor. When he took to the mic between songs, arguing that the team’s name shouldn’t change, some applause were mixed in with conspicuous silence.

For Snarky Puppy’s show the next night, tables were installed where the dance floor had been, but the audience remained irrepressible—there was hooting and hollering throughout the show. The crowd was louder, in fact, than it had been even for Brass-A-Holics. The R&B- and rock-influenced band hasn’t played in D.C. much before, but a strong audience came out of the woodwork for them: When each song began, the crowd erupted with excitement, indicating that they were familiar with the repertoire.

Snarky Puppy’s set had a churchy feel: From the soulful chops of some band members — especially the keyboardist Cory Henry — to the crowd’s fervid, vocal reactions, there was plenty of evidence that some of these musicians must have come up playing gospel.

The festival continues throughout the week, with shows at the Hamilton every night, plus many more venues around the city. Check capitalbop.com/calendar for full listings, and keep up to date with us on Facebook, Twitter, or email for more of Jati Lindsay’s photo recaps.

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6.27-6.29: Festival weekend brings vast variety of talent to D.C.http://www.capitalbop.com/6-27-6-29-festival-weekend-brings-vast-variety-talent-d-c/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=6-27-6-29-festival-weekend-brings-vast-variety-talent-d-c http://www.capitalbop.com/6-27-6-29-festival-weekend-brings-vast-variety-talent-d-c/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 16:01:12 +0000 http://www.capitalbop.com/?p=117930 This is the one and only weekend to catch the 2014 DC Jazz Festival: Where it once lasted three weeks, the event has pared down to just six days. That means more urgency, and heavily concentrated programming. We’ve already started to heavily cover the festival, with a post recommending one show each night and the […]

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This is the one and only weekend to catch the 2014 DC Jazz Festival: Where it once lasted three weeks, the event has pared down to just six days. That means more urgency, and heavily concentrated programming. We’ve already started to heavily cover the festival, with a post recommending one show each night and the first installment of Jati Lindsay’s photo coverage. (We’ll continue updating that through the weekend.)

The rock ‘n’ roll legend Ginger Baker will play at the Howard Theatre on Friday night in a fusion context, which has long been his comfort zone. Gregory Porter and Robert Glasper and Trombone Shorty are all on a single (yes, high-priced) bill on Saturday. And at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, D.C.’s Brad Linde plays two shows with experimental chamber-jazz ensembles on Sunday. That’s just a small sampling.

There are also a number of sub-festivals going on as part of the DC Jazz Fest: At Twins Jazz, the annual Nordic Cool festival is this weekend, presenting a handful of jazz interpreters from northern Europe. The East River Jazz festival has a full slate of performers, too, including the vocalist Ola Cole Laryea and the Greater U St. Jazz Collective. And, of course, CapitalBop’s DC Jazz Loft Series runs tonight (Thursday) through Saturday, with innovative musicians playing in nontraditional scenarios.

You have a few choices for free late-night hangs this weekend, too. The Loews Madison Hotel has intimate shows featuring some excellent instrumentalists and singers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, all starting at 10 p.m. But if you’re out late and searching for the sound of surprise, it makes the most sense to hit up a U St. jam session: The festival’s deep ranks of out-of-town talent will be looking for places to hang after the gigs are over. The U St. Jazz Jam is at Bohemian Caverns on Friday night, and at Dukem on Saturday.

As usual, all our favorite upcoming shows are shown in the calendar below. To see everything, click on “tags” and remove the “CB PICK” selection.

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