News | Announcing the U St. All-Stars at Bayou, presented by CapitalBop

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by Giovanni Russonello
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Our mission with CapitalBop has always been to build something new – a wider jazz audience, a scene where musicians have more places to play that encourage innovation – while drawing on the traditions of this legendary jazz town that is D.C.

That’s why we’re especially excited to announce our concert at Bayou on Friday, Apr. 22, featuring the U St. All-Stars.

Dig this: Any jazzbo who was in D.C. during the 1980s and ’90s will tell you the One Step Down was the place to be. National stars came through on weekends to play at the Pennsylvania Ave. club, and on weeknights local legends like Lawrence Wheatley led jam sessions. The spot had a jukebox stacked with the great hard-bop recordings – tunes by Cannonball Adderley, John Coltrane, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Pianist George Colligan recalls that in D.C., “the One Step was the REAL jazz club.”

Elijah Jamal Balbed of the U St. All-Stars onstage at Bayou. Giovanni Russonello/CapitalBop

The venue vanished in 2000, but this past winter a new spot arose, like a phoenix from its ashes, one door down. Bayou, a New Orleans-themed restaurant and music club, sits at 2519 Pennsylvania Ave., just beside the One Step’s old 2517.

The best part? Bayou immediately proclaimed a commitment to putting on great jazz, with a dinner set four times a week and a featured quintet set every Thursday night. Next week, we’re upping the ante.

CapitalBop will be bringing the eight-piece U St. All-Stars, a group that we assembled for the D.C. Jazz Lofts and includes some of the city’s most vigorous jazz improvisers. So far, the All-Stars have been a huge hit – swinging through some of the fieriest jazz classics in an open-ended, jam-oriented format.

There’s a slim $5 cover, and once you’re in, Bayou offers a wide selection of Big Easy cuisine and Abita beer. A trio will open things up at 10 p.m. before the full All-Stars band takes the stage at 11.

Between those two groups, the musicians include award-winning saxophonists Brent Birckhead and Elijah Jamal Balbed, trombonist Reginald Cyntje, trumpeter Joe Herrera, guitarist Rodney Richardson, the Jolley Brothers (Nate and Noble), bassist Blake Meister and drummer Allen Jones.

Come on out and help us celebrate the next step for jazz on Pennsylvania Avenue.



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