Weekend in Jazz | 12.2-12.4: Notes from the underground

Little Women perform at Red Door on Saturday. Courtesy Ben Goldstein

by Giovanni Russonello
Editorial board

This weekend, two of the world’s most exciting avant-garde acts arrive in D.C. for one-off shows. At Red Door on Saturday, there will be a rare performance by noise/punk/jazz band Little Women, featuring alto saxophonist and D.C. Jazz Loft Series star Darius Jones. And the following night, the last installation of Transparent Productions‘ series at Bohemian Caverns will also constitute the first public performance by the William Parker Organ Quartet. (You can read our interview with Parker, a legendary bassist, here.) Find details on these performances and many 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, DECEMBER 2

cb picks:

  • Gretchen Parlato & Gerald Clayton, Atlas PAC, 8 p.m.
  • Etienne Charles, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th Street Lounge, 10:30 p.m.

Jackie Hairston, 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, Jackie Hairston leads an organ trio featuring Michael Hairston on saxophone and Earl Ivey on drums. The group is joined by vocalist Marlene Ross. $5 cover for adults, no cover for attendees under 16, no minimum. View event on calendar | Westminster Presbyterian Church website

Jolley Brothers, B. Smith’s, 7 p.m. | The Jolley Brothers, Noble on keyboard and Nate on drums, play thrice a weekend at B. Smith’s, the upscale soul-food restaurant in Union Station’s massive East Hall. The Jolleys, who perform with a bassist, comprise one of D.C.’s most exciting and auspicious acts. With roots in gospel, soul and the modal bop of the 1960s, the brothers (who also compose prolifically) bring some of the most creative elements in the African-American music canon forward into the 21st century, all while stamping it with their own distinctive flavoring. But B. Smith’s is a restaurant first, and the music remains in the background – no matter how expertly played. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | B. Smith’s 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

Potomac Jazz Project, Sala Thai (U St.), 7 p.m. | The Potomac Jazz Project is a jazz combo led by bassist Stan Hamrick that takes on modern and classic jazz tunes with a showmanly flair, as well as skill. The cast of supporting musicians tends to rotate. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

Yamomanem Jazz Band, Sala Thai (Petworth), 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

Tierney Sutton, KC Jazz Club, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. | Tierney Sutton, Grammy nominated three times, typically interprets of jazz standards. She sings with minimal tremolo, and a straightforward approach. Two separate sets at 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. Ticket prices vary ($26-$30), no minimum. View event on calendar | KC Jazz Club profile

Gretchen Parlato & Gerald Clayton, Atlas Performing Arts Center, 8 p.m. | Gretchen Parlato, winner of the 2004 Thelonious Monk Competition, recently released her third album, The Lost and Found. It’s loaded with originals, standards and less trodden jazz classics to which she’s written her own lyrics. This acutely talented singer is big on ideas, and her smokily rhythmic vocal gymnastics are immediately distinctive. Here she’s paired up with one of the most inventive and well-rounded pianists of today, the 27-year-old Gerald Clayton. A second-place finisher at the 2006 Monk Competition, he has released two compelling albums packed with originals and standards, and both are rhythmically morphing, open-aired affairs that bring the straight-ahead jazz tradition into a contemporary musical context. Correction: This rare piano-vocal duo show This double-bill, in which both Parlato and Clayton will lead their own bands, is to be preceded by an interview starting at 6:15, in which the Library of Congress’ jazz conservator Larry Appelbaum will ask Parlato and Clayton about their music. All tickets are sold out, but about 70 walk-up seats will be available to those who arrive early enough. Free. View event on calendar | Atlas PAC website

The Nighthawks, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | The Nighthawks are a roots rock and jump blues quartet. Here the group is joined by Tracy Nelson, a longtime R&B and rock singer who led the band Mother Earth in the 1960s and ’70s. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $30 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Lena Seikaly Quartet, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 8 p.m. | Vocalist Lena Seikaly sings jazz standards with a confident and playful demeanor, displaying a haziness reminiscent of Esperanza Spalding, but also nodding to traditional greats. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Mandarin Oriental Hotel website

Etienne Charles, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | Etienne Charles is a Trinidadian jazz trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist who blends Calypso with Latin jazz. He has a clear, winding trumpet attack that smoothly swirls and dives, even as it’s defined by its strong underlying rhythms. His recent album, Kaiso, emphasizes the West African roots of his Caribbean musical heritage. Here he leads his own combo in what is likely to be an infectious, dance-inducing evening of music. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

Sin Miedo, Bossa Bistro, 9 p.m. | Sin Miedo is an energetic, nine-piece Salsa band that plays highly danceable Afro-Cuban jazz, Mambo and Samba. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Bossa Bistro website

TBA, HR-57, 9 p.m. | No information yet available. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | HR-57 website

Peter Edelman Trio, Columbia Station, 9 p.m. | The stalwart D.C. piano player Peter Edelman every week leads a rotating cast of musicians that often outgrows the title “trio.” No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Columbia Station profile

Salim Washington & the Harlem Arts Ensemble, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m. | Salim Washington is a consummate saxophonist, flautist and oboist who blends funk with jazz’s avant-garde. It’s a captivating mix. He leads the Harlem Arts Ensemble. Two separate sets at 9 & 11 p.m. $15 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Aaron Myers, Black Fox Lounge, 9:45 p.m. | Vocalist Aaron Myers leads this straight-ahead jazz quartet, featuring piano, bass and drums, at the new Black Fox Lounge. 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

DeAndrey Howard’s Collector’s Edition, Utopia, 11 p.m. | Trumpeter DeAndre Howard’s regular engagements at Utopia bring hordes to the restaurant and bar. He and his small group, Collector’s Edition, play standards with a friendly, inviting touch, and they add to the positive vibes already flowing throughout the room — especially when Howard tosses aside the trumpet to sing a spontaneous blues. no cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Utopia profile

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 3

cb picks:

  • Little Women, Red Door, 8 p.m.
  • Edge Theory, Sitar Center, 8 p.m.
  • Etienne Charles, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th Street Lounge, 10:30 p.m.

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 calendarJohnny’s Half Shell website

Jolley Brothers, B. Smith’s, 7 p.m. | The Jolley Brothers, Noble on keyboard and Nate on drums, play thrice a weekend at B. Smith’s, the upscale soul-food restaurant in Union Station’s massive East Hall. The Jolleys, who perform with a bassist, comprise one of D.C.’s most exciting and auspicious acts. With roots in gospel, soul and the modal bop of the 1960s, the brothers (who also compose prolifically) bring some of the most creative elements in the African-American music canon forward into the 21st century, all while stamping it with their own distinctive flavoring. But B. Smith’s is a restaurant first, and the music remains in the background – no matter how expertly played. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendarB. Smith’s 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

Full Ascent, Sala Thai (Petworth), 7 p.m. | This jazz band plays in a number of traditional styles, from hard-bop to Dixieland to calypso. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

District Jazz Trio, Sala Thai (Bethesda), 7 p.m. | A self-described “cool swinging jazz trio,” the District Jazz Trio is saxophonist Seth Popkin, pianist Dan Nathan and bassist Roger Rosa. The group plays jazz standards. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendarSala Thai website

Nancy Scimone, Henley Park Hotel, 7:30 p.m. | Nancy Scimone reaches into the jazz and popular American songbooks during this weekly gig at the Henley Park Hotel in downtown D.C. She’s typically joined by a pianist. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Henley Park’s website

Lena Seikaly & Potomac Jazz Project, Extra Virgin Restaurant, 7:30 p.m. | Vocalist Lena Seikaly sings jazz standards with a confident and playful demeanor, displaying a haziness reminiscent of Esperanza Spalding as well as a deference to traditional greats. 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 calendarExtra Virgin’s website

Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, Natural History Museum, 8 p.m. | The talented, traditional Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra performs a holiday-themed program, including Shorty Rogers’ “Swingin’ Nutcracker” and the Duke Ellington Orchestra’s reinterpretation of the “Nutcracker Suite.” $25 cover, no minimum. View event on calendarKennedy Center website

Marion Meadows, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Saxophonist Marion Meadows has made a major name for himself since he started his career by working on a record with legendary smooth jazz pianist Bob James. He’s never lost the smooth. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $25 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Sara Jones Quartet, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 8 p.m. | Vocalist Sara Jones sings jazz standards sweetly; her top-notch band here includes Chris Grasso on piano, Gavin Fallow on bass and Todd Harrison on drums. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendarMandarin Oriental Hotel website

Little Women, Red Door, 8 p.m. | Little Women can be thought of as a side project for some of the country’s top jazz and noise musicians, but more importantly, the band in its own right is a nonpareil leader of today’s musical avant-garde. Its music isn’t for everyone – some might say it’s mostly for people who never made it into a metal refinery and want to know what that sounds like. But truthfully, the sounds created by saxophonists Darius Jones and Travis Laplante, guitarist Andrew Smiley and drummer Jason Nazary are surreal and transcendent. This band is about recognizing the joy to be found in order disguised as chaos, beauty confused with assault, rapture obscured by immolation. In these unoccupied times, such confrontation is about the best an artist can strive for. Little Women strives, and succeeds. (Full disclosure: CapitalBop editor Luke Stewart is responsible for presenting this show, but CapitalBop is not affiliated with it in any capacity, and Stewart had no hand in writing this preview.) $15 suggested donation, BYOB. View event on calendar | Red Door website

Edge Theory, Sitar Center, 8 p.m. | Led by Howard alum and saxophonist David White, Edge Theory is a throbbing, propulsive fusion band that folds electronic instruments into a forceful, emotive style of playing. It features Dennis Wells Benjamin on guitar, Janelle Gill on keyboards, Rory Moore on bass and Aubrey Moore on drums. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Sitar Center website

Etienne Charles, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | Etienne Charles is a Trinidadian jazz trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist who blends Calypso with Latin jazz. He has a clear, winding trumpet attack that smoothly swirls and dives, even as it’s defined by its strong underlying rhythms. His recent album, Kaiso, emphasizes the West African roots of his Caribbean musical heritage. Here he leads his own combo in what is likely to be an infectious, dance-inducing evening of music. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile 

Palanke Music Company, Bossa Bistro, 9 p.m. | Led by vocalist and guitarist Jaime Andrés Salazar, a.k.a. Gato, Palanke Music Company is tropicalia meets electro meets Samba meets Afro-Cuban jazz. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Bossa profile

TBA, HR-57, 9 p.m.| No information yet available. View event on calendarHR-57 website

Salim Washington & the Harlem Arts Ensemble, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m. | Salim Washington is a consummate saxophonist, flautist and oboist who blends funk with jazz’s avant-garde. It’s a captivating mix. He leads the Harlem Arts Ensemble. Two separate sets at 9 & 11 p.m. $15 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar |Twins Jazz profile

Jeron White, Black Fox Lounge, 9:15 p.m. | Bassist Jeron White leads a straight-ahead jazz combo. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendarBlack 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

DeAndrey Howard’s Collector’s Edition, Utopia, 11 p.m. | Trumpeter DeAndre Howard’s regular engagements at Utopia bring hordes to the restaurant and bar. He and his small group, Collector’s Edition, play standards with a friendly, inviting touch, and they add to the positive vibes already flowing throughout the room — especially when Howard tosses aside the trumpet to sing a spontaneous blues. no cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendarUtopia profile

The Hang, Bohemian Caverns, midnight | Bohemian Caverns’ late-night jam, The Hang, is hosted by a different band every week of the month. The kitchen remains open until 1 a.m., so there’s a chance to get a late bite without having to traipse to Ben’s Chili Bowl. $7 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4

cb picks:

  • Marshall Keys, Acadiana, 11 a.m.
  • William Parker Organ Quartet, Bohemian Caverns, 7 & 9 p.m.

Marshall Keys, Acadiana, 11 a.m. | Marshall Keys’ saxophone can sing the blues or swing to the rhythms of bebop with a laid-back sense of cool; the native Washingtonian is a fluid, graceful player. He plays every Sunday brunch at Acadiana, usually with a group consisting of the city’s top jazz scene veterans: Federico Peña on piano, Tarus Mateen on bass and either Lenny Robinson or Mark Prince on drums. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Acadiana website

Jolley Brothers, B. Smith’s, 12 p.m. | The Jolley Brothers, Noble on keyboard and Nate on drums, play thrice a weekend at B. Smith’s, the upscale soul-food restaurant in Union Station’s massive East Hall. The Jolleys, who perform with a bassist, comprise one of D.C.’s most exciting and auspicious acts. With roots in gospel, soul and the modal bop of the 1960s, the brothers (who also compose prolifically) bring some of the most creative elements in the African-American music canon forward into the 21st century, all while stamping it with their own distinctive flavoring. B. Smith’s is a restaurant first, and the music remains in the background – no matter how expertly played. But as far as jazz brunch goes, it’s hard to top the Jolleys’ music. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | B. Smith’s 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

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

Jazz Jam, Dahlak, 6:30 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 | View Dahlak profile

Click to read an interview with Parker.

William Parker Organ Quartet, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | William Parker is the most iconic bassist of New York City’s downtown scene, and one of today’s most important jazz musicians. Back at Bohemian Caverns after a triumphant exhibition of his “Inside Songs of Curtis Mayfield” project earlier this year, Parker with this performance celebrates the world premiere of his organ quartet: Cooper-Moore, Darryl Foster and Gerald Cleaver. This show rounds out the successful debut season of Transparent Productions’ “Sundays at 7 at the Caverns” series. Two separate sets at 7 & 9 p.m. $20 cover in advance, $25 at the door, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

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 calendarGrill 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 calendarZoo Bar website

Loose Change Theory, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | Loose Change Theory is a quartet led by singer Gladys Hollis that harkens back to the feel-good R&B of the 1970s. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $10 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendarTwins Jazz profile

Marion Meadows, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Saxophonist Marion Meadows has made a major name for himself since he started his career by working on a record with legendary smooth jazz pianist Bob James. He’s never lost the smooth. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $25 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

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

Cheryl Jones Trio, Utopia, 9 p.m. | Singer Cheryl Jones has a weekly engagement every Sunday at Utopia, where she sings with depth, force and clarity. Jones is equally likely to sing jazz standards, pop tunes or gospel classics. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Utopia profile

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