Weekend in Jazz | 11.9-11.11: Chick Corea, William Parker, Chuchito Valdés & the D.C. Jazz Loft

The Oscillators perform this Sunday at CapitalBop’s D.C. Jazz Loft. Courtesy oscillatorsdc.com

by Giovanni Russonello
Editorial board

Some of the best living musicians in jazz are in D.C. this weekend, spanning across many subgenres. There’s Chick Corea, the catholic innovator who came to prominence in the late 1960s and ’70s; the free-jazz bassist William Parker; the Latin jazz scion Chuchito Valdés; and the great Jason Moran, who will present “A Night of Comedy & Music” with the likes of David Alan Grier manning the microphone. (Read our interview with Moran, in which he discusses how he came up with the idea for the presentation.) And CapitalBop is presenting its November D.C. Jazz Loft this Sunday night at 7; there’ll be an exciting blend of acts, and it’s taking place in Petworth, right off the Green Line.

You can find details on all these shows and more in this week’s edition of “Weekend in Jazz,” a listing of every D.C. jazz show on our radar. Our favorites have a label, and as always, you can read CapitalBop’s full listings directly at our D.C. jazz calendar, if you’d rather. Happy hunting!

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9

cb picks:

  • Romeir Mendez Quartet, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Michael Thomas Quintet, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m.
  • Chuchito Valdés, HR-57, 9 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th Street Lounge, 10:30 p.m.

Howard Franklin Quintet, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6 p.m. | What began as an experiment over a decade ago continues today as one of Washington’s greatest weekly traditions: Westminster Presbyterian Church’s “Jazz Night.” Every Friday night, the house of God becomes a hub for fish frying, communing and jamming on straight-ahead jazz. This week, the headliner is Howard “Kingfish” Franklin, a rambunctiously swinging drummer who plays with some of the greatest musicians in the D.C. area. Here he appears with a quintet of young and lustrous musicians: Elijah Balbed on saxophone, Donvonte McCoy on trumpet, Hope Udobi on piano and Blake Meister on bass. $5 cover for adults, no cover for attendees under 16, no minimum. View event on calendar | Westminster Presbyterian Church website

Karen Gray Trio, Sala Thai (Bethesda), 7 p.m. | Commanding vocalist Karen Gray sings laid-back renditions of jazz standards in a drumless trio. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

Yamomanem, Sala Thai (U St.), 7 p.m. | The Yamomanem Jazz Band plays a faithful take on New Orleans jazz, conjuring the days of King Oliver and early Louis Armstrong with its lush brass section. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

Jacqui Simmons & Friends, Sala Thai (Petworth), 7 p.m. | Jacqui Simmons sings jazz standards with a heartfelt and elegant presentation. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

Stephanie Nakasian Quartet, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 8 p.m. | The vocalist Stephanie Nakasian is a respected straight-ahead jazz singer, who’s worked with the likes of Pat Metheny, Bobby McFerrin and Clark Terry. She fronts a band this weekend featuring Chris Grasso on piano, Tommy Cecil on bass and Chuck Redd on drums. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Mandarin Oriental website

Walter Beasley, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Walter Beasley is a classic smooth jazz singer and saxophonist, once thought – and still considered by some – to be the heir to Grover Washington, Jr. Two separate sets at 8 and 10 p.m. $35 cover, $12 minimum, $2.50 surcharge. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Romeir Mendez Quartet, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | You know how Charles Mingus had a way of lifting the bass out of its subordinate position, so that you could virtually hear the sweat pouring out of it, and little battles being fought within it? Romeir Mendez, a young bassist accruing esteem on the D.C. scene, may not have Mingus’s compositional prowess, but he embodies the Baron’s uncompromising, bodily instrumentalism. Mendez appears at Bohemian Caverns with his own quartet. Two separate sets at 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. $15 cover in advance, $20 at the door, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

Peter Edelman Trio, Columbia Station, 9 p.m. | The stalwart D.C. piano player Peter Edelman every Friday night leads a rotating cast of musicians that often outgrows the title “trio.” No cover, one-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Columbia Station profile

Alfredo Mojica, Bossa Bistro, 9 p.m. | Alfredo Mojica, who sang at Bossa for years with the group Sin Miedo, unites salsa, jazz and Latin American balladry. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Bossa profile

Michael Thomas Quintet, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m. | The trumpeter and composer Michael Thomas has been all over this country. After growing up in Las Vegas, he attended Grambling University in Louisiana before moving to upstate New York, then leading a successful gigging career in Philadelphia and finally settling in the D.C. area. Thomas has become a frequent bandleader in the region. His tenaciously swingin’ music tends toward the Jazz Messengers’ strain of no-compromises hard-bop; Thomas’ searing tone and dipping-and-diving improvisations have a lot in common with Lee Morgan’s. Two separate sets at 9 & 11 p.m. $15 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Chuchito Valdés, HR-57, 9 p.m. | Although he’s most recognizable for his lineage (his father Chucho and grandfather Bebo are both famous Latin jazz innovators), the pianist Chuchito Valdés deserves his own level of recognition. He’s an intense performer, with a modernistic Afro-Cuban style that’s magnanimous in demeanor and bursting with energy. Valdés’s last album, “Cuban Dreams,” was nominated for a Latin Grammy award. He returns to HR-57, his D.C. stomping ground, for a weekend run. Two separate sets at 9 & 11 p.m. $25 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | HR-57 website

Peter Fields & Tara Hoffman, Black Fox Lounge, 9:30 p.m. | Guitarist Peter Fields and vocalist Tara Hoffman team up for a light dose of jazz standards and pop tunes. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Black Fox profile

Donvonte McCoy, 18th St. Lounge, 10:30 p.m. | Arguably the city’s best jazz trumpeter, Donvonte McCoy plays every Friday and Saturday at the hip 18th St. Lounge. He likes to mix in some funk as well during the lounge gig, and he’s liable to inflect a touch of Chuck Brown-esque groove into his combo’s treatment of classic bop tunes by the likes of Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard. After all, the setting is that of a dance club, not a jazz joint – no tables and chairs or hushed applause after every solo. Cover varies ($5-10), no minimum. View event on calendar | 18th St. Lounge profile

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10

cb picks:

  • Michael Thomas Quintet, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m.
  • Chick Corea & Gary Burton, Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, 8 p.m.
  • Chuchito Valdés, HR-57, 9 p.m.
  • Steve Synk Trio, Columbia Station, 9:30 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th Street Lounge, 10:30 p.m.

Antonio Hart Master Class, Levine School, 10 a.m. | Soulfulness that’s smooth but refreshingly rough around the edges when it wants to be. This might have been an apt description for Cannonball Adderley’s playing, and so it is for the music of one of his most skilled acolytes: Antonio Hart. Hart rose to prominence playing with Roy Hargrove, and has gone on to achieve renown as a bandleader. Here he offers a master class that is open to the public. Free. View event on calendar | Levine website

Jam Session with Peter Edelman, Columbia Station, 4 p.m. | Pianist Peter Edelman, a constant presence on the D.C. jazz scene for years now, leads an afternoon jam session every Saturday and Sunday. No cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Columbia Station profile

Charles Woods, Johnny’s Half Shell, 6 p.m. | Saxophonist Charles Woods plays and has recorded in both free and straight-ahead jazz styles, but for his regular gig at Johnny’s Half Shell he keeps things within the traditional bop realm. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Johnny’s Half Shell website

Mark Mosley Trio, Sala Thai (U St.), 7 p.m. | Baltimore guitarist Mark Mosley plays a slick hand as a smooth jazz guitarist, but he can also hunker down on serious bop. He performs laid-back straight-ahead here with his trio. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

Triple Double, Sala Thai (Petworth), 7 p.m. | Consisting of Joey Whitney on tenor sax, Ed Gallagher on guitar, Alan Pachter on bass and Tom Reed on drums, the Triple Double Jazz Band plays straightforward, straight-ahead versions of jazz standards. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

Bob Schwartz Quartet, Extra Virgin, 7 p.m. Saxophonist Bob Schwartz leads a quartet in lighthearted, straight-ahead renditions of jazz classics. No cover, 1-drink minimum. | View event on calendar | Extra Virgin website

Stephanie Nakasian Quartet, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 8 p.m. | The vocalist Stephanie Nakasian is a respected straight-ahead jazz singer, who’s worked with the likes of Pat Metheny, Bobby McFerrin and Clark Terry. She fronts a band this weekend featuring Chris Grasso on piano, Tommy Cecil on bass and Chuck Redd on drums. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Mandarin Oriental website

Walter Beasley, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Walter Beasley is a classic smooth jazz singer and saxophonist, once thought – and still considered by some – to be the heir to Grover Washington, Jr. Two separate sets at 8 and 10 p.m. $35 cover, $12 minimum, $2.50 surcharge. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Chick Corea & Gary Burton, Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, 8 p.m. | Vibraphonist Gary Burton is a pioneer of both his instrument – helping to popularize the four-mallet technique – and the entire jazz genre. He was easing rock and country influences into his sound years before anyone had begun talking about jazz-rock fusion. Burton’s playing prizes fluidity and grace, which helps explain his decades-long, foil-like partnership with the pianist Chick Corea, a lissome but serrated technician. One of the seminal figures of late-20th century jazz, Corea has folded romantic, popular Brazilian and psychedelic concepts into his music since the 1960s. The two began their partnership in 1972, with the classic album “Crystal Silence,” and have worked together off and on for the past 40 years. They recently released their seventh album together, “Hot House,” and it’s a triumph. At the Sixth & I Synagogue, the duo appears in a presentation of the Washington Performing Arts Society. Tickets $62.50. View event on calendar | Strathmore website

Howard Franklin Quintet, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | Howard “Kingfish” Franklin is a rambunctiously swinging drummer who plays with some of the greatest musicians in the D.C. area. Here he appears at the helm of an expert quintet, with Doug Pierce on trumpet, Ron Sutton, Jr. on saxophone, Janelle Gill on piano and Eliot Seppa on bass. Two separate sets at 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. $15 cover in advance, $20 at the door, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

Michael Thomas Quintet, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m. | Trumpeter and composer Michael Thomas has been all over this country. After growing up in Las Vegas, he attended Grambling University in Louisiana before moving to upstate New York, then leading a successful gigging career in Philadelphia and finally settling in the D.C. area. Thomas has become a frequent bandleader in the region. His tenaciously swingin’ music tends toward the Jazz Messengers’ strain of no-compromises hard-bop; Thomas’ searing tone and dipping-and-diving improvisations have a lot in common with Lee Morgan’s. Two separate sets at 9 & 11 p.m. $15 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Chuchito Valdés, HR-57, 9 p.m. | Although he’s most recognizable for his lineage (his father Chucho and grandfather Bebo are both famous Latin jazz innovators), the pianist Chuchito Valdés deserves his own level of recognition. He’s an intense performer, with a modernistic Afro-Cuban style that’s magnanimous in demeanor and bursting with energy. Valdés’s last album, “Cuban Dreams,” was nominated for a Latin Grammy award. He returns to HR-57, his D.C. stomping ground, for a weekend run. Two separate sets at 9 & 11 p.m. $25 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | HR-57 website

Cubista, Bossa Bistro, 9 p.m. | Cubista is a salsa band that plays at Bossa every Saturday. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Bossa profile

Dee Stone, Black Fox Lounge, 9:30 p.m. | Dee Stone sings soul, blues, jazz and rock. The first set of every performance is usually comprised of jazz standards. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Black Fox profile

Steve Synk Trio, Columbia Station, 9:30 p.m. | Lyrical bassist Steve Synk, a music major at the University of Maryland, leads a young trio that explores music ranging from standards to originals, groove-based contemporary jazz to swinging bop. No cover, one-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Columbia Station profile

Donvonte McCoy, 18th St. Lounge, 10:30 p.m. | Arguably the city’s best jazz trumpeter, Donvonte McCoy plays every Friday and Saturday at the hip 18th St. Lounge. He likes to mix in some funk as well during the lounge gig, and he’s liable to inflect a touch of Chuck Brown-esque groove into his combo’s treatment of classic bop tunes by the likes of Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard. After all, the setting is that of a dance club, not a jazz joint – no tables and chairs or hushed applause after every solo. Cover varies ($5-10), no minimum. View event on calendar | 18th St. Lounge profile

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 11

cb picks:

  • Jazz Brunch: Reginald Cyntje, Twins Jazz, 11 a.m.
  • A Night of Comedy & Music, Kennedy Center, 7 p.m.
  • D.C. Jazz Loft, Chez Billy, 7 p.m.
  • William Parker Double Quartet, Atlas PAC, 8 p.m.

Gospel Brunch, The Hamilton, 10 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. | Every Sunday morning, the Hamilton presents two sets of rafters-raising gospel, along with an all-you-can-eat buffet. Two separate shows at 10 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. $25 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | The Hamilton website

TBA, Acadiana, 11 a.m. | Performer TBA. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Acadiana website

Jazz Brunch: Reginald Cyntje, Twins Jazz, 11 a.m. | Twins Jazz’s new Sunday Jazz Brunch initiative revolves around the magnetic powers of Reginald Cyntje’s trombone. Last year, he released his debut CD, “Freedom’s Children: The Celebration,” a glimmeringly hopeful record immersed in the warm, danceable rhythms of Cyntje’s native U.S. Virgin Islands. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Twins profile

Harlem Gospel Choir, Howard Theatre, 12 p.m. | The talented Harlem Gospel Choir, which has been active since 1986, performs a Sunday brunch show every week at the Howard Theatre. Either an all-you-can-eat buffet or an a la carte menu are available. Doors open at noon, and the music starts at 1:30 p.m. Tickets vary ($35 for all-you-can-eat or $20 for admission and a la carte options in advance, $45 or $30 at the door). View event on calendar | Howard website

Jam Session with Peter Edelman, Columbia Station, 4 p.m. | Pianist Peter Edelman, a constant presence on the D.C. jazz scene for years now, leads an afternoon jam session every Saturday and Sunday. No cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Columbia Station profile

D.C. Jazz Jam, Dahlak, 6 p.m. | This jazz jam presents a friendly, relaxed environment where professionals and amateurs can play together. No cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Dahlak profile

Potomac Jazz Project, Laporta’s, 6:30 p.m. | The Potomac Jazz Project is a quartet that takes on modern and classic jazz tunes (and even some pop covers) with a showmanly flair, as well as skill. It’s led by bassist Stan Hamrick, and its rotating lineup often features some of D.C.’s best musicians. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Laporta’s website

D.C. Jazz Loft, Chez Billy, 7 p.m. | At this Sunday’s upcoming D.C. Jazz Loft, CapitalBop is spreading the music’s new gospel into another neighborhood. Join us at Chez Billy, a low-lit restaurant and club in the heart of Petworth, for a show that will range from straight-ahead jazz by saxophonist Herb Scott to hip-hop fusion by Yusef to spaced-out jazz-rock by the Oscillators. Every act includes some of the city’s best musicians — but each one sounds distinct. $10 suggested donation, no minimum. View event on calendar | D.C. Jazz Loft website

Vinx, Bohemian Caverns, 7 & 9 p.m. | Vocalist and percussionist Vinx plays R&B-indebted pop, with some quirky lyrics. Two separate sets at 7 & 9 p.m. $20 cover in advance, $25 at the door, no minimum.View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns website

A Night of Comedy & Music, Kennedy Center, 7 p.m. | As part of his ongoing quest for outreach and blown-up barriers, the Kennedy Center’s jazz advisor, Jason Moran, has put together “A Night of Comedy & Jazz.” He and his trio, the Bandwagon, will appear in an extended format; their music will work in a dialogue with stand-up comedy by David Alan Grier, Marina Franklin and Faizon Love. Tickets vary ($20-$55). View event on calendar | Kennedy Center website

DC Choro, Grill from Ipanema, 7:30 p.m.| DC Choro is a sextet that plays Brazilian music drawing on European folk traditions. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Grill from Ipanema profile

Mike Flaherty’s Dixieland Jazz Direct, Zoo Bar Café, 7:30 p.m.| This combo specializes in traditional New Orleans-style jazz. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Zoo Bar website

Odd Men In, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | Odd Men In is a New York City-based trio, molded around the chiming piano work of Isamu McGregor. The group – which includes Jerry DeVore on bass and John Bishop on drums, and performs every Sunday this month at Twins Jazz – owes a lot to the inward but expansive jazz being made in New York in the 1990s and early 2000s, particularly by people like Brad Mehldau. Two separate shows at 8 & 10 p.m. $10 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Bill Heid, Black Fox Lounge, 8 p.m. | Bill Heid plays piano and sings blues songs and jazz standards. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Black Fox Lounge profile

Walter Beasley, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Walter Beasley is a classic smooth jazz singer and saxophonist, once thought – and still considered by some – to be the heir to Grover Washington, Jr. Two separate sets at 8 and 10 p.m. $35 cover, $12 minimum, $2.50 surcharge. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

William Parker Double Quartet, Atlas Performing Arts Center, 8 p.m. | In conjunction with Transparent Productions, the Atlas Performing Arts Center presents the U.S. premier of William Parker’s Double Quartet. Parker, a bassist and preeminent figure on jazz’s avant-garde, was inspired by Jean-Luc Godard’s iconic film “Alphaville.” He has re-scored the film for double quartet and voice. The sirenic Leena Conquest, a frequent Parker collaborator, takes the lead as the vocalist. One of the quartets is a traditional chamber-music string quartet, featuring Jason Kao-Hwang, Jean Cook, Alex Waterman and Jessica Pavone. For the other, the intriguing instrumentation is that of a drummer-less quartet, featuring Parker on bass, Rob Brown on alto sax, Lewis Barnes on trumpet and Cooper-Moore on piano. Tickets $25, $15 for students, no minimum. [words by Luke Stewart] View event on calendar | Atlas website

Peter Edelman Trio, Columbia Station, 8:30 p.m. | The stalwart D.C. piano player Peter Edelman every Sunday night leads a rotating cast of musicians that often outgrows the title “trio.” no cover, one-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Columbia Station profile

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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.

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