CapitalBop brought the U St. All-Stars to Bayou, a recently opened restaurant and bar that’s been having jazz as background music during dinner most nights of the week, on Friday, Apr. 22. Bayou also hosts a featured hard-bop quintet on Thursday evenings, but most weekend nights are reserved for rock and blues. So when the folks over there offered to have us present a show, we were happy to oblige – and evangelize. As it turned out, a strong showing of jazz fans showed up, and a ring of attentive listeners formed around the stage, remaining in place all night.
It was nice to see a solid group of people getting turned on by front-and-center live jazz in a space where that doesn’t happen all the time. A lot of folks seemed like longtime jazzbos. But was it the first time for some? Seemed as though it could have been. (There’s always those who don’t know quite when to clap — and we love ’em for it!) In that way, it had the come-one-come-all feel that so many people have said characterized the One Step Down, a historic D.C. jazz club situated right next door to Bayou’s address until it closed in 2000. In the video below, shot and produced by Ed Stansbury, musicians reflect on the bygone club, the rise of jazz at Bayou and all the energy that’s pervading the D.C. scene these days.