‘I’m Here for a Reason:’ Preview Keith Butler’s new album

Keith Butler’s playing has everything you’d expect from one of D.C.’s most prominent young drummers: nuance, strength and a deep sense of swing. But the path Butler took to arrive there is hardly what you might expect. A year ago, he hadn’t composed any original material. Three years ago, he was brand new to the […]

Nicole Saphos and Chris Barrick headline our next DC Jazz Loft

After a few incredible weeks of presenting some of our favorite artists from out of town, it’s time to get back to our main, monthly thing: showcasing the innovations being wrought by musicians here in D.C., on home turf. This month’s installment of the DC Jazz Loft features bassist/vocalist Nicole Saphos and vibraphonist Chris Barrick, […]

5 April D.C. Jazz Picks

April is Jazz Appreciation Month, which means a flood of special programming at jazz institutions across the District and the return of some favorite annual traditions (like the Calvin Jones Big Band Festival at UDC, April 29). The Japanese cherry blossoms trumpet the impending summer outdoor concerts, but before that, the annual Japanese embassy-sponsored series […]

‘Pure fire improv:’ Roscoe Mitchell and Moor Mother in conversation

Roscoe Mitchell and Camae Ayewa, who performs as Moor Mother, are among the most fearless improvising performers of their respective generations. Both are also community organizers and activists: Mitchell became an early member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians and a longtime educator; Ayewa co-founded the Philadelphia showcase ROCKERS! (a series focused […]

Why you need to hear Ben Wendel — online and in person

Saxophonist Ben Wendel’s latest album, The Seasons, evokes emotional impressions of every time of year, passing through stages of bustling life, warmth, and hibernal loneliness. But The Seasons isn’t just an album. It’s the next form of an evolving project that Wendel has been exploring for years, a concept piece whose many forms offer some […]

The Comet Is Coming is coming — to D.C. Here’s our in-depth interview.

Much of The Comet Is Coming’s music sounds like it belongs in a science-fiction movie. The London-based trio of saxophones, synthesizers and drums creates soundscapes that often coalesce rapidly into something urgent and frantic; they’d sound at home in TRON or Blade Runner. Dan Leavers, the collective’s synth player, says the music aims to present […]