Weekend in Jazz | 7.26-7.28: Free improv at Capital Audio Fest, new Cuban sounds at Bohemian & more

Janel & Anthony, an excellent avant-garde duo, perform in Silver Spring throughout the weekend. Courtesy dcmusicdownload.com

by Giovanni Russonello
Editorial board

The Capital Audio Fest this weekend turns Silver Spring into a haven for free improvisation and the jazz avant-garde. Janel & Anthony, the excellent ambient-experimental duo, perform along with Sarah Hughes and Brad Linde on Saturday, and Anthony (whose last name is Pirog) plays in a trio with Linde and Hughes on Sunday. Both shows are part of the festival. Janel & Anthony also appear on Friday evening in a separate, free show, also in Silver Spring, at BioWall Plaza. On U Street, Michael Thomas brings his straight-ahead quintet to Twins Jazz and the Cuban-born Manuel Valera visits Bohemian Caverns with his stellar New Cuban Express band.

There’s info on all those shows and many more in this week’s edition of “Weekend in Jazz.” As always, you can find our full listings at CapitalBop’s D.C. jazz calendar. Our favorites have a label. Happy hunting!

FRIDAY, JULY 26

cb picks:

  • Reginald Cyntje, Westminster Presbyterian, 6 p.m.
  • Janel & Anthony, BioWall Plaza, 6 p.m.
  • Michael Thomas Quintet, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Manuel Valera & New Cuban Express, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy Quintet, 18th St. Lounge, 10:30 p.m.

Reginald Cyntje, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6 p.m. | Reginald Cyntje, arguably D.C.’s most agile and expressive trombone player, is at Westminster Presbyterian this week to celebrate the release of his new album, Love. Each of its tracks addresses a different emotion or virtue, from “Beauty” to “Respect.” Cyntje’s sloping, danceable compositions tap these feelings without moving too far in any explicit direction. For this gig, he’s joined by an excellent cast of musicians, most of whom are on the album: Allyn Johnson on piano, Warren Wolf on vibraphone, Herman Burney on bass, C.V. Dashiell on drums and Christie Dashiell on vocals. $5 cover for adults, no cover for attendees under 16, no minimum. $5 cover for adults, no cover for attendees under 16, no minimum. View event on calendar | Westminster Presbyterian Church website

Janel & Anthony, BioWall Plaza, 6 p.m. | Janel & Anthony, a locally based improvising duet, pull rising waves of sound out of their instruments – the guitar and the cello, respectively – with the help of loops and effects pedals. On their debut album, “Where Is Home,” released last year, the pair forge a humid, rolling landscape of sound. They perform at Biowall Plaza in a special free show presented by Cuneiform Records, the Silver Spring-based label that released “Where Is Home,” and by Sonic Circuits. Free. View event on calendar | BioWall 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

Night & Day Trio, Sala Thai (Petworth), 7 p.m. | The Night & Day Trio plays traditional, swing-oriented jazz, featuring Renée Tannenbaum on vocals, Mike Suser on piano and vocals and Dennis Johnson on saxophone. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

Triple Double, Sala Thai (U St.), 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

Maryland Summer Jazz Festival Finale, St. Mark Presbyterian, 7 p.m. | In conjunction with the Maryland Summer Jazz workshop and camp, students will perform at 7 p.m. and “all-star” faculty members will play a concert at 8:30. The stellar professional performers will include the trumpeter John D’earth (who has performed with Miles Davis, Bonnie Raitt and others) and the bassist Leonardo Lucini, among others. Tickets $20, $5 for children 12 and under. View event on calendar | St. Mark Presbyterian website

Michael Thomas Quintet, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 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 8 & 10 p.m. $16 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Shanice, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | The singer Shanice’s music exists somewhere between smooth jazz, soul and R&B. She has a flexible, agile voice that can reach soaring heights. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $35 cover, $2.50 surcharge, $12 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Manuel Valera & New Cuban Express, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | Manuel Valera, a powerful young pianist hailing from Havana, calls his current project the New Cuban Express. It turns saxophones into gliding percussion instruments, and Valera’s Chick Corea-influenced piano is its engine. Valera’s latest album, also titled New Cuban Express, earned a Grammy nomination and four-and-a-half stars from DownBeat magazine. $18 cover in advance, $23 at the door, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

Antonio Parker Quartet, HR-57, 9 p.m. | The alto saxophonist Antonio Parker’s playing is swinging and soulful, colored by a bright, aggressive tone. He casually sprinkles neo-soul and R&B influences into his otherwise straight-ahead bop, and his improvisation shows a redolence of Kenny Garrett. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | HR-57 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

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

Simon Brothers, Ulah Bistro, 11 p.m.View event on calendar | Ulah Bistro website

SATURDAY, JULY 20

cb picks:

  • Jazz Brunch: Donvonte McCoy, HR-57, 11:30 a.m.
  • Janel & Anthony with Brad Linde & Sarah Hughes, Capital Audio Fest, 12 p.m.
  • Round Robin Improvisations, Capital Audio Fest, 2 p.m.
  • Michael Thomas Quintet, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Manuel Valera & New Cuban Express, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Steve Synk Trio, Columbia Station, 9:30 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy Quintet, 18th St. Lounge, 10:30 p.m.

Jazz Brunch: Donvonte McCoy, HR-57, 11:30 a.m. | HR-57, a reliable destination for strong, swinging jazz, recently added weekend brunch shows to its itinerary. The musician leading the way, Donvonte McCoy, is one of the best in the city. He plays the trumpet with focus and power and a contemporary rhythmic swagger, never overstating his case but easily drawing a soulful essence from the horn. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | HR-57 profile

Janel & Anthony with Brad Linde & Sarah Hughes, Capital Audio Fest, 12 p.m. | Brad Linde, a studious and sturdy saxophonist who alternates between tenor and baritone, often teams with the alto saxophonist Sarah Hughes, who makes focused streaks of melody, in a straight-ahead jazz quartet. That’s not what’s going on here: They’re joined on this gig by the cellist Janel Leppin and the guitarist Anthony Pirog, both of whom are experimentalists with a warm and acute sensitivity to tone. The show is part of the 2013 Capital Audio Fest. $20 entry fee for entire festival. View event on calendar | Capital Audio Fest 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

Round Robin Improvisations, Capital Audio Fest, 2 p.m. | As part of this weekend’s 2013 Capital Audio Fest, a handful of area improvisers will come together for a rotating series of spontaneous duet performances. The music is likely to range from dfree jazz to ambient sounds. $20 entry fee for entire festival. View event on calendar | Capital Audio Fest website

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 (Bethesda), 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

Michael Thomas Quintet, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 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 8 & 10 p.m. $16 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Shanice, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | The singer Shanice’s music exists somewhere between smooth jazz, soul and R&B. She has a flexible, agile voice that can reach soaring heights. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $35 cover, $2.50 surcharge, $12 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Manuel Valera & New Cuban Express, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | Manuel Valera, a powerful young pianist hailing from Havana, calls his current project the New Cuban Express. It turns saxophones into gliding percussion instruments, and Valera’s Chick Corea-influenced piano is its engine. Valera’s latest album, also titled New Cuban Express, earned a Grammy nomination and four-and-a-half stars from DownBeat magazine. $18 cover in advance, $23 at the door, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

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

Alfredo Mojica, HR-57, 9 p.m. | Alfredo Mojica, who sang for years with the group Sin Miedo, unites salsa, jazz and Latin American balladry. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | HR-57 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

Projeck GP, Black Fox Lounge, 9:30 p.m. | Projeck GP plays funky smooth jazz. 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

SUNDAY, JULY 28

cb picks:

  • Jazz Brunch: Donvonte McCoy, HR-57, 11:30 a.m.
  • Janel & Anthony with Brad Linde & Sarah Hughes, Capital Audio Fest, 12 p.m.
  • Bobby Muncy, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 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: Donvonte McCoy, HR-57, 11:30 a.m. | HR-57 – a reliable destination for strong, swinging jazz – recently added weekend brunch shows to its itinerary. The musician leading the way, Donvonte McCoy, is one of the best in the city. He plays the trumpet with focus and power and a contemporary rhythmic swagger, never overstating his case but easily drawing a soulful essence from the horn. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | HR-57 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

Todd Simon, Kellari Taverna, 12 p.m. | The sturdy and swinging pianist Todd Simon performs every Sunday in a duo setting; his accompanists vary from bass to guitar to saxophone, depending on the week. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Kellari Taverna website

Third Wheel, Capital Audio Fest, 12 p.m. | The inquisitive saxophonists Brad Linde and Sarah Hughes team up with Anthony Pirog, an excellent guitarist and loops pedal manipulator, in the trio known as Third Wheel. They perform here as part of the 2013 Capital Audio Fest, a celebration of outré, improvised sound. $20 entry fee for entire festival. View event on calendar | Capital Audio Fest website

Trio 33 1/3, Capital Audio Fest, 3 p.m. | The trombonist Gary Gill, who helps organize the annual Capital Audio Fest, will perform with his free-jazz trio at this year’s festival. $20 entry fee for entire festival. View event on calendar | Capital Audio Fest 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, 6:30 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 | 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

Virginia Music Adventures Summer Institute Ensemble, Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club, 7:30 p.m. | The Virginia Music Adventures Summer Institute Ensemble is a group of 12-to-18-year-old music students. They perform here as part of a summer education program. $15 cover, $15 minimum for dining-area seating. View event on calendar | Bethesda Blues & Jazz website

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

Shanice, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | The singer Shanice’s music exists somewhere between smooth jazz, soul and R&B. She has a flexible, agile voice that can reach soaring heights. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $35 cover, $2.50 surcharge, $12 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Bobby Muncy, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | The saxophonist Bobby Muncy writes snaky tunes influenced by 20th century classical and alternative rock, as well as jazz. He appears at Twins with a strong, straight-ahead quartet. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $10 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz 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

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About Giovanni Russonello

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Giovanni is a regular contributor to JazzTimes, and the host of “On the Margin,” a books show on WPFW-FM. He has written articles for The New York Times, The Atlantic online, msnbc.com, NPR Music, Politico and others. He graduated from Tufts University with a bachelor’s degree in history, with a focus on African-American history. He’s a recreational pianist with enough self-awareness to know he really shouldn’t play much outside home. You can reach Giovanni at editor@capitalbop.com.

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