As Jason Adasiewicz put down his mallets and Rob Mazurek drew the trumpet from his lips for the last time on Sunday night, a very palpable daze had overtaken the room. Glances flitted around, saying stuff like, “What was that?” or “Don’t let them stop yet!” The trio Starlicker — rounded out by drummer John Herndon — waned angular and drony throughout its set, riding on rock beats that cruised and crushed. The Chicago prog-fusion group was also a rarity for CapitalBop’s D.C. Jazz Lofts: an out-of-town act.
Sunday marked the fourth loft overall and the last one before our much-anticipated D.C. Jazz Loft Series at the DC Jazz Festival, sponsored by Hipnotic Records. That series, like this most recent loft, will showcase an array of boundary-pushing national bands alongside thrilling, beloved local acts. Free jazz outfit OOO and the bebop-oriented Elijah Jamal Balbed Quartet, each of whom will open for a New York act at the festival series, played ferocious sets on Sunday.
OOO (which includes bassist Luke Stewart, who’s also a CapalBop editor) started off in its usual acoustic-trio format, then expanded into an electric, two-drummer sextet that unleashed a crunchy, wavy stream of sound. The group’s spontaneously-fashioned formula didn’t lack for catchy patterns and hard grooves. Balbed’s group swung hard through two of his originals, “Imanus” and “Brief Encounter,” plus a roiling cover of Wayne Shorter’s “Infant Eyes,” among others. Then came Starlicker’s thrilling set, followed by the nightcap: Trombonist Reginald Cyntje unfurled his warm, flexible tone as he led a trio – a modified iteration of the U St. All-Stars – through jazz standards. Below is a collection of pictures from Sunday night.
First four photos above by Carlyle V. Smith/CapitalBop. Last three by Giovanni Russonello/CapitalBop.