For the first weekend date of the 2020 virtual D.C. Jazz Festival, the programming expands to feature three, exciting, boundary pushing local artists and some established figures on the national and international scene. You can watch the entire DCJF on their Facebook page or fans.com
5:00 PM ¡Fiasco! – Guitarist Nelson Dougherty, bassist Steve Arnold and drummer Keith Butler Jr. are three malleable collaborating; in Butler’s own trio the group performs expansive, Bill Frisell-style, reverb-soaked improvisations with an Appalachian tinge; and in Arnold’s Sea-Change, the ensemble performs epic, winding prog rock-y originals. Add in saxophonist Andrew Frankhouse and you get ¡Fiasco!, a dynamic quartet that performs constantly shifting, ever-surprising music indebted to Chris Potter as much as it is to noise rock. Snaking melodies can whisper like a chill wind one minute and explode into a roaring fire the next.
5:30 PM Heidi Martin – Vocalist Heidi Martin is one of D.C.’s treasures: She emits messages complex but clear, with an essence of mourning and resilience that hints at Billie Holiday and a quavering force not unlike Joni Mitchell’s. But as a poet, she’s most closely linked to Abbey Lincoln, that vocalist and composer whose ear was always turned toward the acridity of injustice—not just its effects, but the ways we push it aside by drilling dow
6:00 PM Heart of the Ghost – Creative music trio Heart of the Ghost is the result of a collaboration by mutually admiring musicians. Drummer Ian McColm, saxophonist Jarrett Gilgore and bassist Luke Stewart [Disclaimer: Capitalbop’s Director of Presenting] are three expansive, visionary musicians; the way they weave their three, highly individualized, improvisational voices is something to behold.
7:00 PM Dado Maroni – Italian straight-ahead pianist Dado Moroni plays frenetic, highly rhythmic originals that still hold a strong sense of melody.
8:00 PM Giveton Gelin Quintet – 21 year old trumpeter Giveton Gelin is one of those young genius stories the jazz establishment loves to embrace; a rising star recognized in workshops like the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program then brought under the wings of iconic mentors, in this case Wynton Marsalis, Nicholas Payton and the late Roy Hargrove. Gelin plays in a fluid, highly melodic and classic style that shines best on ballads. He’s usually found leading his regular quintet which features other young stars in the NY scene like the Jason Moran protege Immanuel Wilkins on saxophone and pianist Micah Thomas on piano.
9:00 PM Matthew Whitaker Quartet – Joey Alexander may be post-bop piano jazz’s wunderkind, but Matthew Whitaker brings a R&B-tinged, gospel testament to his virtuosity on the ivories, especially the Hammond B-3 Organ. The 19-year old prodigy plays with a sense of groove and melody that exists as a comfortable synthesis of Jimmy Smith’s rollicking bounce and Stevie Wonder’s playfulness.