Sara Donnelly :: interim executive director

Sara Donnelly has devoted her decades-long career to elevating and empowering artists on jazz’s cutting edge, working as a visionary granting officer, show presenter, artist advocate, festival administrator and mentor to those working throughout the field. Before stepping in as CapitalBop’s interim ED, she served as the director for jazz at South Arts, where she launched the innovative Jazz Road grant program, placing tour and residency support directly into the hands of musicians. Previously, she served in grant-making roles for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Jazz Service Organization, the Association of Performing Arts Professionals and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation. She also helped launch the Jazz.NEXT grant program at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Reach Sara at sara AT capitalbop DOT com.

Giovanni Russonello :: co-founder + editor-in-chief

Giovanni is a co-founder of CapitalBop, and a music critic who covers jazz 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. He also serves as an adjunct professor at New York University’s School of Professional Studies. As editor 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, where he edited the daily student newspaper and was involved in the successful movement to demand a degree program in Africana studies. He received a fellowship from the Logan Nonfiction Program in 2021 and a 2023 Community Culture and Heritage grant from Humanities DC. His first book, The First Minute of a New Day: Gil Scott-Heron’s Revolution, is under contract to Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt. Reach Giovanni at editor AT capitalbop DOT com. Read him at or Follow him on Twitter at @giorussonello.

Luke Stewart :: co-founder + director of presenting

Luke Stewart is a musician, performer, improviser-composer, organizer and writer-researcher whose work represents a deep reverence for the history and tradition of Creative Music: a tradition which encompasses the diverse styles of expression within the body of Black Music in the United States, Africa and throughout the world. Stewart’s regular ensembles include Irreversible Entanglements, SILT Trio, Exposure Quintet, and the experimental rock duo Blacks’ Myths; he also performs regularly in numerous collaborations. Stewart has had residencies at Roulette Intermedium, Brooklyn, NY; The Hermitage Artist Retreat, Englewood, FL; and Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, NY. He received a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant (2022) to support his work with KO Arts in New Orleans. Stewart was noted in DownBeat as one of twenty-five performers to “shape jazz for decades” (2020). He holds a B.A. from American University and an M.A. from The New School, where he is also an adjunct professor in the College of Performing Arts. Stewart is a co-founder and artistic director of CapitalBop. Reach Luke at luke AT capitalbop DOT com. Follow him on Twitter at @lukeostewart.

Jamie Sandel :: creative media lead

Jamie is a musician and creative producer based in Northwest DC. He was raised in Silver Spring, MD by theater artists who dedicated their careers to social change, and who helped him understand how art is both personal and political. Jamie was drawn to filmmaking by his desire to communicate the power of live music, and he thinks like a musician even when he’s behind a lens. The same goes for music recording, showrunning, graphic design, and writing — each of which have become important elements of his work. Jamie has appeared onstage with Bartees Strange, MALINDA, Misfit Marti, Rahiem Supreme, October ’71 and many others; he regularly performs with Sarah Hughes’ Zara, Eli and the Waltz, Dono, the Oshy Annas, and LMB, his duo with hornist Abe Mamet. He is a co-producer and creative partner with T.L. Benton of Mecca Filmworks. Reach Jamie at jamie AT capitalbop DOT com. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wjsandel, and at for his multimedia work.

Abram Mamet :: assistant editor

Abe Mamet is a musician and writer living in beautiful Mount Rainier, MD. Originally from Denver, CO, Abe relocated to the DMV in 2017. Abe’s work as a writer and editor focuses on people, cities, and community. This umbrella covers a number of topics, such as incarceration (for Solitary Watch), housing (for Tax Credit Advisor), and jazz (for CapitalBop and the Home Rule zine). Abe is also a composer and instrumentalist, generally working at the boundaries of the French horn in groove-oriented improvised music (informed by the traditions of jazz/creative music/Black American Music). He leads or co-leads a number of ensembles, including the Abe Mamet trio, quintet, and septet, Cutting Ceremony, Also Chosen, and LMB, his duo with violinist Jamie Sandel. He is also an in demand hornist in both large and small ensembles led by others; artists and groups include Il Volo, William Parker, Frank Lacy, Sarah Hughes, BJ Simmons, Sarah Brightman, and others. You can hear Abe lead a trio every Saturday at Eckington’s Lost Generation Brewery, and you can read and hear more of his work at

Jackson Sinnenberg :: editor-at-large and senior correspondent

Jackson has helped lead CapitalBop’s coverage of all things going on in the D.C. jazz scene for the last seven years. He’s reported on D.C. Council legislation, interviewed scores of artists and written long-form features. He currently works as a national online news producer for The National Desk and serves as a contributing writer to JazzTimes magazine and District Fray magazine. His byline has also appeared in The Washington Post, NPR, Downbeat and the Washington City Paper. A native Clevelander, he graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in American Musical Culture and received the top prize for music seniors in 2015. Follow him at @SinnenbergTND on Twitter and @sinnenberg_reports on Instagram. Reach him at jackson AT capitalbop DOT com.

Kelsye Adams :: presenting associate

Advocacy is her artistry. Kelsye has been an organizer since 2016 during her tenure in college. She first started as a finance intern through VCU at the Democratic Party of Virginia, later becoming Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s The Way Ahead PAC Finance Director. From there she began helping the very cultured organization Long Live GoGo here in Washington, DC and helped curate its Moechella platform utilizing gogo music as the intersection of politics and culture. Kelsye also serves on the U ST Neighborhood Association and is a board member for The Live Movement National/Howard chapter. Kelsye completed the Nonprofit Management Certificate Program at Georgetown University in 2021. Kelsye was brought on as a team member of DC Vote in January of 2022 as DC Vote’s Program Director. Kelsye plans to continue the utilization of the culture to create innovative pragmatic programming both locally and nationally to amplify the need for DC Statehood. She believes the time is NOW for DC to become the 51st state of the United States. Kelsye, our new managing associate is nothing new to the CapitalBop team as she was brought on board in 2021 for NEXTfest as Program Manager. Kelsye plans to continue to utilize her many attributes to help DC remain Chocolate City and keep its true culture.

Lauren Honesty :: staff videographer

Lauren is a videographer, editor, and visual content creator. She maintains a passion projects business and regularly creates content for non-profit organizations with a focus on music and social justice. She graduated from George Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. Follow her Instagram at @laurenhonesty.

Board of Directors

Sara Donnelly • Theo George • Maxx Myrick • Gloria Nauden • Giovanni Russonello
Not pictured: Akua Allrich • Paul Blackman • Jon Hart • Luke Stewart