News | CapitalBop’s debut at Montserrat House features Michael Bowie’s Siné Qua Non

Click for hi-res version of flyer

by Giovanni Russonello
Editorial board

CapitalBop is coming to the U Street Corridor. Starting on Sep. 9, our monthly D.C. Jazz Lofts will resettle at Montserrat House, on 9th Street just around the corner from U. (Be advised, it looks a little different from the digs on the flyer.) At our first show there, one of the city’s most ambitious, enriching acts will take the stage: Siné Qua Non. Led by the versatile and energizing bassist Michael Bowie, the quintet offers singular arrangements of everything from classic rock to Western classical. Montserrat House is a one-floor walkup with a stellar sound system and a top-rate bar; Bowie’s set will add another textural element to the room: projected videos to accompany the music, by area videographer Michael Pino.

The evening will also feature Howard “Kingfish” Franklin’s quintet and the Pete Muldoon Project. As always, admission is free, but we strongly suggest donations of $10 or more to the musicians. Read on for more info on the night’s musicians.


Bassist Michael Bowie, a veteran of bands led by stars Abbey Lincoln, Betty Carter and Michel Camilo, is beloved as one of the ablest and most sympathetic sidemen in D.C. Recently, though, he’s been showcasing a heady project of his own: Siné Qua Non, an effortless coalescence of Eastern rhythms, Western classical techniques, straight-ahead jazz and modern pop. The band’s title translates (from Latin) roughly as a description of something essential, something “without which [the whole] could not be.” But a master chef doesn’t let essential ingredients overpower, and in this coherent, gratifying quintet, Bowie keeps his entire band at a rippling equilibrium. The ensemble includes Victor Provost on steel pan, Mark Prince on drums, Lyle Link on saxophone and flute, and Sam Turner on percussion.



The drummer Howard Franklin earned his nickname from his mentor, the late educator and multi-instrumentalist Calvin Jones. The “KingFish” is a hard-swinging drummer who leads both straight-ahead groups and R&B ensembles. He’s performed with greats such as Jackie McLean, Nneena Freelon and Curtis Fuller. This evening, his band will include some of the strongest musicians in the area: Donvonte McCoy (who recently finished a residency at Bohemian Caverns) on trumpet, Elijah Jamal Balbed on tenor saxophone, Hope Udobi on piano and Blake Meister on bass.



Once a mainstay of the District’s erstwhile jazz hub, Café Nema, Pete Muldoon is a hard-working, flinty guitar player who today performs all over the city. He’s also a master’s student at Howard University’s jazz program, and at the loft he’ll present a suite of rigorously arranged original compositions with a small group.


Photo on flyer courtesy .craig/flickr.



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