by Giovanni Russonello
The powers that buy have decided, and so it is final: In four months, there will be no more Red Door. That’s why it was with slight melancholy and an added sense of dutifulness that we set about planning the upcoming D.C. Jazz Loft. Luckily, we got some tremendous musicians on board, and we’re thrilled about the company we’ll be keeping. It’s time to make the most.
So here it is: We’re announcing the next D.C. Jazz Loft, scheduled for 7 p.m. this Sunday, Sep. 11. It’ll feature music ranging from hip-hop fusion to straight-ahead to post-bop. The night will end with a commemorative free jazz jam session, in honor and contemplation of the show’s fateful date. As always, the loft is donation-based and BYOB. Don’t miss out on the grunge and grit at Red Door, where the music is elevated.
Todd Marcus is only one in a handful of jazz musicians ever to call the convention-fragging bass clarinet his primary instrument. It’s a naturally quiet horn, with a papery whisper and a doleful gentleness. But Marcus can really tear things up on there, swinging his butt off and marshaling a thick, powerful tone. He’s signed to Hipnotic Records (which is also a friend of CapitalBop), and he recently released In Pursuit of the 9th Man, his debut record, filled with his modern-skewing compositions. Here the Baltimore native performs with a tremendous band of D.C. and Charm City brethren: Harry Appelman on piano, Eric Wheeler on bass and Eric Kennedy on drums.
Cricket Fusion is a group that, contrary to what its name might suggest, isn’t interested in the 1970s jazz-rock fusion that was the jazz synthesizer player’s best friend and seems to have found itself on the wrong side of history. Instead, Cricket sets out to bridge gaps that aren’t as gaping — between bebop and hip-hop, rap and Afro-Cuban music, contemporary jazz and R&B. The band even performs with an emcee. The sextet’s lineup is a laundry list of first-call cats residing in the nation’s capital: trumpeter and bandleader Joe Brotherton, alto saxophonist Herb Scott, tenor saxophonist Tedd Baker, bassist Blake Miester, drummer Terance Arnett and African percussion player Monty Montgomery, plus rapper Yusef Jordan.
Brent Birckhead isn’t to be missed. The young alto saxophonist, who will lead his own quartet here, is D.C.’s fiery, soulful heir to Cannonball Adderley and Dexter Gordon. If you’ve been to hear the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, he’s the nattily dressed dude in the front row who always seems to bring the crowd to its feet when he solos. Ah, yes, now you remember! Birckhead’s currently working on a debut album, but in the meantime you can get a taste at the D.C. Jazz Loft. Need we say anything more than the video below…?
Brian Settles, a jazz loft favorite, will lead a night-ending free jazz jam for the second time in a row. In July, he conjured something akin to the spirit of the freewheeling “loft jazz” scene that flourished in New York City’s downtown studios throughout the 1970s. This month, the musical meditation will invite any musicians who care to participate — as well as the audience — to take the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Sep. 11, 2001 attacks to contemplate family, loss, the United States’ role in the world and anything else that bubbles up.