Photos | The D.C. Jazz Loft Series at the DC Jazz Festival: Three nights of powerful improv and art

Jamire Williams prepares for ERIMAJ’s performance at the D.C. Jazz Loft Blowout Show on June 15. Elliot Blumberg/CapitalBop

by Giovanni Russonello
Editorial board

The DC Jazz Festival spent the past two weeks drawing some tremendous jazz out of the District’s woodwork, and what a festival it was. From our biased standpoint, the highlight was CapitalBop’s very own, third annual D.C. Jazz Loft Series. It culminated on Saturday night in a jam-packed Blowout Show on H Street, where the great Karriem Riggins and ERIMAJ headlined at a pop-up dance hall and art gallery featuring Jati Lindsay’s inimitable jazz photographs.

The Washington Post has a kind review zeroing in on the statement that our Blowout Show made — by presenting these unbelievable artists, we aimed to show D.C. something about the unbreakable ties between present-day jazz and the parallel innovators in hip-hop, R&B and other popular genres. But hey, from the crowd’s resounding response and the awesome vibe in the place, it seems like you folks didn’t need to be told.

Earlier in the series, we set up a double-exhibition at Union Arts and Manufacturing (Four Days in May and DECON/RECON), in conjunction with a concert by the legendary Peter Brötzmann and Joe McPhee, stalwart improvisers who draw sounds from their saxophones that you’ve never imagined. They shared the bill with D.C.’s own Anthony Pirog. And the day after that, Gerald Cleaver’s Black Host — a band that’s supporting a fabulous and broadly acclaimed debut album, which sounds like a kitchen sink’s worth of alternative music, from death metal to soulful free jazz to punk rock — played amidst a remarkable exhibition at the Fridge, along with Brian Settles & Central Union.

Some beautiful photos from all those shows are below, taken by the photographers Paul Bothwell and Elliot Blumberg. To keep up with future D.C. Jazz Loft shows like these, subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

JUNE 15: BLOWOUT SHOW, FEAT. KARRIEM RIGGINS QUARTET & ERIMAJ, d.c. jazz loft pop-up hall (906 h st. NE)

photos by Elliot Blumberg

June 9: Gerald Cleaver’s Black Host, with Brian Settles & Central Union, the Fridge

photos by Paul Bothwell

June 8: peter brötzmann + Joe McPhee duo, with the Anthony Pirog Sextet, Union Arts & Manufacturing

photos by Paul Bothwell


Photos by Paul Bothwell



About Giovanni Russonello

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A co-founder of CapitalBop, Giovanni Russonello is also a music writer and critic for the New York Times. He also teaches writing as a lecturer at New York University's School of Professional Studies. He previously served as a contributor to the Washington Post, the FADER, JazzTimes, NPR Music and others, and hosted “On the Margin,” a books show on WPFW-FM. He graduated from Tufts University with a bachelor’s degree in history, with a focus on African-American history. Reach Giovanni at [email protected]. Read him at or Follow him on Twitter at @giorussonello.

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  1. […] Today we’re unveiling a recap video, filmed and produced by the remarkable Paul Bothwell, that captures the spark-like energy of those shows. The video has a powerful live soundtrack, thanks to hip-hop and jazz experimenter Karriem Riggins’s performance at the series’ Blowout Show on June 15. You’ll also spy ERIMAJ, Peter Brötzmann, Gerald Cleaver, Darius Jones, Orrin Evans, Michael Bowie, Heidi Martin and all the others who performed at the series. (You can also check out our photographic recap here.) […]

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