We’re here every week: A look at DC Jazz Festival shows that happen all year round

The Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra performs every Monday night from 8 to 11 p.m.. Giovanni Russonello/CapitalBop

by Giovanni Russonello
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The DC Jazz Festival is a behemoth that lopes into the city every year at the beginning of June and is, all of a sudden, everywhere. The vast majority of the festival’s shows occur under the “Jazz in the ‘Hoods” moniker, meaning they’re at everyday venues across the city – and in many cases they would be happening either way, jazz fest or not. In that sense, the festival becomes a powerful advocate not just for itself, but for the scene as it exists every week of the year.

In that spirit, here’s a brief look at some shows going on this week as part of Jazz in the ’Hoods but that also happen to take place on a weekly basis, all year round. 

Monday: Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, Bohemian Caverns, 8 p.m.
The Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra is one of the District’s most exciting acts. This 17-piece swing big band commands the caves with a repertoire ranging from Count Basie to Coltrane to originals by the band members. A handful of truly excellent soloists, from alto saxophonist Brent Birckhead to tenor Elijah Jamal Balbed, strengthen the big band’s already-nimble arrangements. The weekly show at the Caverns is one of D.C.’s lesser-known must-sees. (This week the orchestra performs with special guest Yotam Silberstein, a prominent guitarist on the New York scene with soulful, burning chops.) $7 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar

Tuesday: Cheick Hamala Diabate, Bossa Bistro, 9 p.m.
Cheick Hamala Diabate, a West African historian in the griot tradition, is a masterful player of the guitar and ngoni, a Malian stringed instrument that predated the banjo. Diabate’s fingers often fly around the instruments’ necks in quick runs, and he sings of growing up and forging relationships in an inviting, knowing tone. His band – usually two horns, guitar, bass, drum kit and percussion – bounces with the rhythms of West Africa, but the music also draws on Indian and American influences. He plays every Tuesday at the chic, world music-themed Bossa Bistro in Adams Morgan. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar

Wednesday: Will Rast, Tryst, 8 p.m.
The talented piano and organ player Will Rast is making a major name for himself in the D.C. area as the leader of the Afrobeat band Funk Ark, which is set to release its debut album on the ESL Music label this month. But he holds down a weekly engagement at Tryst, the Adams Morgan coffee shop, playing groove-happy but straight-ahead jazz with his trio. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar

Thursday: Wayne Wilentz Trio, Utopia, 9 p.m.
Pianist Wayne Wilentz is well-versed in R&B and Latin jazz as well as bop, and it shines through in his playing. A frequent sideman around town for artists such as Brad Collins and Cheryl Jones, Wilentz leads his own trio every Sunday at Utopia on Brazilian and straight-ahead tunes, including a grab bag of originals. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar

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