This weekend was filled with standout performances around U Street, none of them more vibrant or exciting than what went down at Café Nema. Sadly, the shows there on Saturday and Sunday nights will be the club’s last.
Nema came to U Street in 1995, one of only two jazz clubs then on the corridor. In the past 15 years, the area has grown up around Nema and is now a focal point of D.C.’s culture — as it had been in the early- and mid-20th century.
On Saturday night, the Jolley Brothers teamed up with guitarist Pete Muldoon for a night of neo-soul-tinged jazz that got crowds dancing throughout the club’s cozy room, which was largely emptied of its tables and chairs and felt bare without the signature art that had once adorned its walls. Then last night’s finale — led by Muldoon, with Eric Wheeler on bass — found some of the brightest musicians on U Street coming to sit in and pay their respects to a club that had done so much to foster their musical and personal growth. A slew of regulars in the audience also seemed duly grateful for Nema’s contributions, and saddened by the loss.
Nema will officially close on Tuesday, although it will only be open for food and drinks over these next two days.
A full recap of last night’s performance, including video and photos, is coming very soon. Keep your dials tuned to CapitalBop.