921 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Alto saxophonist Fred Foss is among the most important performers and educators on the D.C. jazz scene. He grew up in Corona, Queens, in the 1950s and ’60s, and remembers neighborhood encounters with jazz greats like Jackie McLean, Dizzy Gillespie and Jimmy Heath. Foss toured and performed with legends such as Lionel Hampton, Hugh Masekela, James Moody and Ray Charles, people who instilled in him an understanding of music’s importance—if you can truly reach an audience on a personal level, he knows, you have the opportunity to change their outlook and open their hearts. It’s an ethos that Foss has passed down to his generations of students: After moving to D.C. in 1980, he became one of the city’s most important jazz teachers, and nearly two dozen of his past students have gone on to become professional jazz artists, including the world-famous Marc Cary and Ben Williams. Though he’s happy to put the emphasis on his students, it’s always a special thrill to hear the guru lead a combo of his own. This show is part of CapitalBop’s Hot 5 @ Hill Center series. It will begin with a 15-minute artist Q&A.