by Giovanni Russonello
At the most recent D.C. Jazz Loft, trombonist and effects pedal whiz Joseph Bowie was ankle deep in a free improvisation with drummer Nasar Abadey when he momentarily took the mouthpiece from his lips. He put it back and started sputtering wet, toneless air into the horn, shaking his head side to side and sending out wheezy, squealing vibrations. Amid their set of piercing horn declarations and terse, crackling drums, it was a surprise — startling and comical, but somehow poignant. Bowie is well known around the world for his accomplished career with the funk group Defunkt, but it’s hard to imagine him leaving a deeper impact than he did on the packed-in crowd at the Dunes on March 11.
After Bowie and Abadey, Jessica Boykin-Settles arrived with her quartet, masterfully singing a range of tunes that included a healthy helping of Abbey Lincoln rearrangements. Her all-woman band was joined on a few tunes by her husband, Brian Settles, CapitalBop’s best album of 2011 winner. Then at the end of the night, the wild card: 20-year-old bassist Eliot Seppa, who keeps a low profile, ran through a series of originals and covers with his exuberant trio, always pushing forward and leaving a spoor of exhilaration in his wake. Below, check out photos from the loft by the talented Jesse Allen.
More magic will be getting passed around at the Dunes this Saturday night, when CapitalBop hosts a blowout show featuring New York City’s Andrew N. D’Angelo and his DNA Big Band, plus D.C.’s own steel pan master Victor Provost with his quartet. The DNA Big Band presents a throbbing, electric-charged dash of futurism, and Provost brings his Caribbean roots to bear on swinging hard-bop and contemporary originals. This will be a stellar performance, and unlike most of our shows it’s ticketed, so get yours now!