by Giovanni Russonello & Luke Stewart
When we launched the D.C. Jazz Loft in December 2010, it was in a rickety Chinatown artists’ warehouse called Red Door. The space had something akin to legendary status among D.C.’s underground circles. But earlier this year, the city’s turning tide proved too strong, and after one last blowout loft show, Red Door was no more. In the coming years, the building will become condos.
Over the past six months, we’ve enjoyed a successful run at the Dunes, but it’s come time to move on. This week the loft is taking over a DIY venue with the same rugged ethos as Red Door for a special, one-night-only event. (In September, we’ll be climbing back above board, moving to the U Street Corridor’s Montserrat House.) The venue this Sunday is Hole in the Sky, of punk/hardcore concert fame, and it’s located just around the corner from the Rhode Island Ave.-Brentwood Metro stop. (It’s a five-minute walk: Check our Facebook event for easy directions.)
We’ll be injecting some stinging swing from saxophone virtuoso Braxton Cook, steadfast groove by bassist Steve Synk and free jazz fire from the 33 1/3 trio. The August D.C. Jazz Loft starts at 7 p.m. on Sunday night, and goes all evening. Don’t miss out on this one-off DIY redux show! Find a list of performers below.
BRAXTON COOK QUARTET
Braxton Cook plays a bluesy, lightning-quick alto saxophone, with power and authority that just shouldn’t belong to a baby-faced 21-year-old. But there’s a reason why Cook was accepted last year to Juilliard on a scholarship, becoming one of only three saxophonists enrolled in the prestigious jazz program. This summer, he’s back on the scene in D.C., his hometown, often playing with Donvonte McCoy’s knockout band at Eighteenth Street Lounge. At the loft, he’ll lead a small band through a mix of standards and originals. [Giovanni Russonello]
The steam starts coming out of his horn around 1:10.
33 1/3 TRIO
The members of this D.C. area trio call themselves 33 1/3, and are led by trombonist and composer Gary Gill. Those who understand the reference (that number being the typical RPM of a vinyl LP) might surmised that these folks are into not only the music, but the technology which helps propel it along. That’s not to say that this is an electronic group: On the contrary, it displays a sound similar to that of mid-1960s free jazz heard on labels like ESP-Disk, something one might hear on a dusty record dug up at a thrift store. 33 1/3 is sure to bring listeners back to an era of immense importance in jazz – A time when artists like Sonny Simmons, Albert Ayler and Roswell Rudd were making names for themselves. The trombone/bass/drum trio will pay homage to that fabled era, by digging deeply into the present. [Luke Stewart]
STEVE SYNK & THE PH BALANCE
Bassist Steve Synk is no older than Braxton Cook, and he’s another one of the D.C. jazz scene’s brightest scions. Every Saturday, Synk leads a jazz trio at Columbia Station in Adams Morgan (we posted an interview with him about that last month), but at the loft he’ll lead a group called pH Balance. In this band, which demonstrates the breadth of Synk’s influences, his lissome and lyrical bass playing is dissolved in an acidic swell of muggy backbeats and hip-hop-derived grooves. [GR]
Photo of Red Door on flyer by Giovanni Russonello/CapitalBop.