5 live jazz picks for June in D.C.

The summer season has started with some spectacular weather to accompany our region’s extended outdoor concert season. The weekend of June 9 and 10 features a pair of great shows to wind down and relax with: violinist Chelsey Greene and her genre-fluid Greene Project take the stage at Jazz in the Garden on the 9th, the first proper “jazz” act for that annual series. Then Elijah Jamal Balbed kicks off the Strathmore-sponsored “Bloom” series at the Good Hope community center in Silver Spring on the 10th

The following weekend, trumpeter Muneer Nasser will lead his own Jazz in the Garden concert to mark Juneteenth at the National Gallery of Art on June 16.

(That same night, CapitalBop and HR Records’ Home Rule Music Festival kicks off its second year with Grammy-nominated musician, emcee, singer, producer and drummer Kassa Overall, at the top of a bill that also includes top local talents, at Songbyrd. The festival continues the following day at the Parks at Walter Reed, with a line-up of Great Black Music from in and around D.C.: Kahil El’Zabar, Doug Carn, E.U. featuring Sugar Bear, Brian Jackson, Mark G. Meadows and the Movement and more. The event is outdoors and free on June 17. It closes with a night of avant-garde luminaries, including Hear in Now, Hamid Drake’s Turiya, Nag Champa Art Ensemble and Jamal R. Moore.)

Disclaimer: a small shout-out to two of our CB team members, creative media lead and violinist/bassist Jamie Sandel and assistant editor and French hornist Abe Mamet. They’ve locked down a new weekly residency every Friday at District Kitchen. Sandel on bass, Mamet on horns and a rotating cast of guest leaders present standards and more. Our director of presenting and co-founder Luke Stewart also returns to D.C. at the end of the month as a member of the saxophone titan David Murray’s new quartet at Blues Alley.

For all your other jazz needs this month, see the full D.C. jazz calendar.


Saturday June 3, 7 p.m.
Takoma Station Tavern (tickets)
[view on calendar] 

Bassist Corcoran Holt began his musical career in D.C. as a four-year-old, learning African percussion on the djembe. He later switched to bass but kept that deep feeling of groove central to his music; it brought him to share the stage with luminaries like Kenny Garrett. He’s now a respected veteran in the straight-ahead scene.

He will once again take the stage for his residency at Takoma Station, this time alongside vibraphonist Joel Ross, whose mastery on the mallets has been blowing up the New York and national jazz scenes for years. 


Friday June 9, 6 p.m.
Westminster Presbyterian Church ($10, Free for Kids 16 and Under)
[view on calendar] 

Lafayette Gilchrist was born and raised in D.C., developing his musical interests and experiences during the culturally fertile ‘80’s, when go-go and jazz were in full swing. With live music everywhere, Gilchrist was able to have deep early experiences with music that has influenced him to this day. Now residing in Baltimore, he is a creative force in the Mid-Atlantic region through his many groups and collaborative projects.

For this go-around at D.C.’s legendary Westminster jazz series, Gilchrist leads an all-star group of musicians from up-and-down the I-95: Brian Settles on saxophone, Christian Hizon on trombone, Herman Burney on bass and Eric Kennedy on drums.


Wednesday June 14 and 28, 8 p.m.
AMP by Strathmore (tickets)
[view on calendar]

Pianist Joshua Jenkins’ sound shouldn’t surprise you once you know he came up through the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and the wider richness of D.C.’s jazz history. His own compositions draw in the airy ear-worms of soul and soul-jazz, grooving funk and chops solidly based in the tradition. 

He is this month’s artist-in-residence at Strathmore. 


Monday June 26, 7 p.m.
Rhizome D.C. (tickets)
[view on calendar]

Tennessee-born saxophonist and flautist Zoh Amba creates chant-like pieces of original, improvised music by drawing on a wide variety of influences: folk melodies, noise music, devotional hymns and the fierce jazz of the likes of David Murray. She pairs with upstate New York-based drummer Chris Corsano.

Opening the show is CapitalBop’s own Luke Stewart, a leading creative bassist.


Tuesday June 27, 8 p.m.
Kennedy Center – Concert Hall (tickets)
[view on calendar]

Herbie Hancock has helped to shape many of jazz’s machinations in the past 50 years. By his early 20s, Hancock was recording definitive hard-bop albums for Blue Note Records; soon after, he was a sideman in Miles Davis’ second great quintet, which exploded the rhythmic and harmonic barriers of mainstream jazz. By the 1970s, Hancock was on the forefront of jazz-funk fusion, and he created one of the most successful albums that the genre would ever know: Head Hunters. The list of his achievements runs on and on. The best way to experience the Grammy-decorated legend is to sit in the audience and let his music wash over you, live and in the flesh.



About Jackson Sinnenberg

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Jackson Sinnenberg is a broadcast journalist and a freelance writer. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, JazzTimes, Downbeat, NPR Music, NPR.org, the Washington City Paper, On Tap/District Fray Magazine and the blog of Smithsonian Folkways Records. He began covering the city’s music scene for WGTB, Georgetown University’s radio station, where he was a show host, writer, and columnist. He graduated from Georgetown with a bachelor’s degree in American Musical Culture. Reach him at [email protected]. Follow him at @sinnenbergmusic.

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