6.6-6.8: Strathmore’s Jazz Samba Project festival hits a high note, and Pharoah Sanders plays Blues Alley

Sergio Mendes, third from left, shown with his famous group Brasil ’66, is a pioneer of pop and bossa nova. He performs at Strathmore this weekend.

You’ve got to wonder why more performing arts centers don’t treat bossa nova as museums treat impressionism: a legitimate form of art, historically and culturally digestible, and devastatingly popular with the suburban ticket-buying audience.

Okay, so that doesn’t make it sound all that hip. Come on, though—can you argue with Jazz Samba? The Strathmore bet on no, and it seems like they got it right. They’ve sold out both of the big ticketed concerts at the Jazz Samba Project festival this weekend: Sergio Mendes with Eliane Elias, and Romero Lubambo with Duduka da Fonseca. Luckily, there’s a full day of free, open-door music on Sunday.

The saxophone legend Pharoah Sanders brings his spiritually voyaging approach to Blues Alley for shows all weekend. At Bohemian Caverns, the guitarist Mark Whitfield performs with his combo on Friday and Saturday nights. On Saturday, the U St. Jazz Jam—which recently found a home at the caverns—returns to foster late-night experiments. The house band this week features Ameen Saleem, Quincy Phillips, and Mark Meadows.

As usual, all our favorite upcoming shows are shown in the calendar below. To see everything, click on “tags” and remove the “CB PICK” selection.

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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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