At last month’s D.C. Jazz Loft Series at the DC Jazz Fest, hundreds of you braved massive heat to hear some of the city’s top acts double-billing with major musical innovators from New York City. We were thrilled by the enthusiastic response those shows received.
Prior to the June festival shows, CapitalBop hosted a number of smaller-scale D.C. Jazz Lofts on a monthly basis, and we’re getting back to it. This Sunday, three of D.C.’s most original and captivating jazz combos will share their singular sounds at July’s D.C. Jazz Loft. Then the floor at Red Door will open up into a free-jazz jam.
For the first four lofts, we closed things out with the U Street All-Stars, a hard-bop and bebop ensemble. At the very end of the night, anyone who wanted to bring their ax and join in on some jazz standards was welcome. In my humble opinion, the night-ending jam session was usually the most exciting part of the loft.
This month, the District’s foremost saxophone phoneticist, Brian Settles, will head up a different kind of open jam session: this time it’s free jazz. We hope that any and all musicians who are interested will come participate in the collective sound exploration — no “fake book,” no planning, just improvisation. And to all you music lovers who don’t play instruments: Come grab a front-row seat to the spontaneous combustion.
It’ll be a full night of music; below is an overview of the three groups that will perform at the loft, before the jam session heats up.
The Jolley Brothers headlined a show at Red Door during the loft series at the festival last month, and they brought down the house. Keyboardist Noble Jolley and drummer Nate swing hard, but they often blend their bebop impulses with neo-soul and hip hop. The result is a head-bobbing, ear-catching tumble through the past 50 years of American music — right up through today. At the loft, they’ll appear in a trio setting.
Reginald Cyntje Group
At the May D.C. Jazz Loft, a much smaller version of the U Street All-Stars closed things out. In fact, the group (typically a nine-piece ensemble) was just a trio. Not only that, it was a trombone trio — not something you hear every day. What could have been a flop turned out to be an unforgettable performance, thanks to Reginald Cyntje’s warm, commanding trombone tone and inventive lyricism. Cyntje is a native of the U.S. Virgin Islands, and he’s been transfusing the joyful musical tradition of his Caribbean homeland into D.C.’s bebop-dominated jazz scene for many years. He recently completed the recording of his debut album as a leader, and from the early indications, it seems poised to be a bold statement. He performs at the loft with a quartet.
Brian Settles-Jeremy Carlstedt Duo
The afore-praised Brian Settles, a constantly inventive saxophonist whose quavering, questioning tone is instantly recognizable, teams up here with drummer Jeremy Carlstedt for a duo performance from the vanguard. Carlstedt is one fifth of the band on Settles’ new album, Secret Handshake, which is a gem (we’ll be posting more about that in the coming days). Settles has performed at previous lofts in a trio and solo-sax setting, and this duo show will fill the gap — the other two shows he’s done at the loft have drawn wild audience response, so this one will surely be a thrill.
The D.C. Jazz Loft starts at 7 p.m. on Sunday, July 10, and runs until 11 p.m. It will be held at Red Door, at 443 I St. NW.