Weekend in Jazz | 1.25-1.27: A Latin jazz legend, a young tenor innovator & D.C. jazz composers

Eddie Palmieri performs at the Kennedy Center on Saturday, with his Latin jazz septet. Courtesy corfecali/flickr

by Giovanni Russonello
Editorial board

Eddie Palmieri, perhaps the most important living bandleader in Latin music, performs this Saturday at the Kennedy Center, with his septet. Across town, Kenneth Whalum III is at Bohemian Caverns on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday night, the D.C. Jazz Composers Collective — which recently incorporated as a nonprofit — presents the music of John Kocur, a fiery local saxophonist. You can find info on all those shows and many more in this week’s edition of “Weekend in Jazz.” As always, you can find our full listings at CapitalBop’s D.C. jazz calendar. Our favorites have a label. Happy hunting!

FRIDAY, JANUARY 25

cb picks:

  • Tony Martucci Quintet, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Roy Ayers, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Birdland Big Band, GMU Hylton Performing Arts Center, 8 p.m.
  • Kenneth Whalum III, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th Street Lounge, 10:30 p.m.

Earl Wilson, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6 p.m. | The guitarist Earl Wilson has a way with jazz that makes it clear he came up in the church. His mother was an Apostolic minister, and she taught him his instrument with spirituals, starting at age 12. At D.C.’s famed “Jazz Church,” he leads a stellar band that includes Lyle Link and Sam King on saxophones, Wade Beach on piano, Herman Burney on bass and John Lamkin III on drums. $5 cover for adults, no cover for attendees under 16, no minimum. $5 cover for adults, no cover for attendees under 16, no minimum. View event on calendar | Westminster Presbyterian Church website

Karen Gray Trio, Sala Thai (Bethesda), 7 p.m. | Commanding vocalist Karen Gray sings laid-back renditions of jazz standards in a drumless trio. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

Triple Double Jazz Band, Sala Thai (U St.), 7 p.m. | Consisting of Joey Whitney on tenor sax, Ed Gallagher on guitar, Alan Pachter on bass and Tom Reed on drums, the Triple Double Jazz Band plays straightforward, straight-ahead versions of jazz standards. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

Night & Day Trio, Sala Thai (Petworth), 7 p.m. | The Night & Day Trio plays traditional, swing-oriented jazz, featuring Renée Tannenbaum on vocals, Mike Suser on piano and vocals and Dennis Johnson on saxophone. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

Tony Martucci Quintet, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | A frequent sideman and bandleader in the D.C. area, drummer Tony Martucci is a seasoned bop drummer with a clarion swing. He has recorded with such superstars as Joe Lovano, and for this show he’s assembled an all-star cast of D.C. talent: Luis Hernandez and Jeff Antoniuk on saxophones, John Lee on guitar and Tom Baldwin on bass. Two separate sets at 9 & 11 p.m. $15 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Roy Ayers, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Vocalist and vibraphonist Roy Ayers – beloved by acid-jazz fans, hip-hop heads and disco lovers alike – touts the title “King of Neo-Soul Music.” But before that, his days as an experimental jazz musician found him partnering with greats like Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Hubert Laws. Nowadays, Ayers typically sings sultry ballads over programmed drums and synthesizers; he’s experienced something of a renaissance, too, as the greater jazz community finally embraces osmosis with hip-hop, underscoring Ayers’s earlier prescience. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $35 cover, $2.50 surcharge. $12 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Julian Hipkins Quartet, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 8 p.m. | Julian Hipkins sings with a swinging flair and jaunty, deep voice that recall Jimmy Rushing. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Mandarin Oriental website

Birdland Big Band, GMU Hylton Performing Arts Center, 8 p.m. The Birdland Big Band, which performs weekly at one of New York City’s top jazz clubs, is led by the drummer drummer Tommy Igoe. It will perform tight arrangements of tunes by Herbie Hancock, Duke Ellington, Paquito D’Rivera and other preeminent figures in jazz. Ticket prices vary ($28, $36 and $44), no minimum. View event on calendar | Hylton center website

Kenneth Whalum III, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | The rising saxophonist Kenneth Whalum III delivers his message in the form of a screed, or a soft whisper. Sometimes both at once. There’s always an insistence, a captivating sense of purpose, living within his tone. He contributed lithe accompaniment to R&B star Maxwell’s latest album, BLACKsummers’night, and on his own robust solo debut, titled “To Those Who Believe,” Whalum is joined by the famed pianist Robert Glasper. The result is a vigilant musical exploration, sleek and slippery, riding the line between genres like a skateboarder grinds on a rail. Two separate sets at 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. $18 cover in advance, $23 at the door, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

Antonio Parker, HR-57, 9 p.m. | Alto saxophonist Antonio Parker’s playing is swingin’ and soulful, with a bright, aggressive tone. He casually sprinkles neo-soul and R&B influences into his otherwise straight-ahead bop, and his improvisation shows a redolence to Kenny Garrett’s. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | HR-57 website

Peter Edelman Trio, Columbia Station, 9 p.m. | The stalwart D.C. piano player Peter Edelman every Friday night leads a rotating cast of musicians that often outgrows the title “trio.” No cover, one-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Columbia Station profile

Alfredo Mojica, Bossa Bistro, 9 p.m. | Alfredo Mojica, who sang at Bossa for years with the group Sin Miedo, unites salsa, jazz and Latin American balladry. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Bossa profile

Cashandra J, Black Fox Lounge, 9:30 p.m. | CaShandra J sings jazz standards and originals with a combo. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Black Fox profile

Donvonte McCoy, 18th St. Lounge, 10:30 p.m. | Arguably the city’s best jazz trumpeter, Donvonte McCoy plays every Friday and Saturday at the hip 18th St. Lounge. He likes to mix in some funk as well during the lounge gig, and he’s liable to inflect a touch of Chuck Brown-esque groove into his combo’s treatment of classic bop tunes by the likes of Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard. After all, the setting is that of a dance club, not a jazz joint – no tables and chairs or hushed applause after every solo. Cover varies ($5-10), no minimum. View event on calendar | 18th St. Lounge profile

SATURDAY, JANUARY 26

cb picks:

  • Eddie Palmieri, Kennedy Center, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.
  • Tony Martucci Quintet, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Roy Ayers, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Kenneth Whalum III, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Steve Synk Trio, Columbia Station, 9:30 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th Street Lounge, 10:30 p.m.

Jam Session with Peter Edelman, Columbia Station, 4 p.m. | Pianist Peter Edelman, a constant presence on the D.C. jazz scene for years now, leads an afternoon jam session every Saturday and Sunday. No cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Columbia Station profile

Charles Woods, Johnny’s Half Shell, 6 p.m. | Saxophonist Charles Woods plays and has recorded in both free and straight-ahead jazz styles, but for his regular gig at Johnny’s Half Shell he keeps things within the traditional bop realm. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Johnny’s Half Shell website

Greater U St. Jazz Collective, Wesley United Methodist, 6:30 p.m. | The greater U St. Jazz Collective, a combo featuring stalwarts of the D.C. jazz scene, plays classic jazz repertory. The collective includes Art Cobb on drums, Thomas View on bass, Peter Frassrand on piano, Russell Carter on woodwinds and Carl Macintyre on trumpet. $10 suggested donation. View event on calendar | Welsey United website

Mark Mosley Trio, Sala Thai (U St.), 7 p.m. | Baltimore guitarist Mark Mosley plays a slick hand as a smooth jazz guitarist, but he can also hunker down on serious bop. He performs laid-back straight-ahead here with his trio. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

Triple Double Jazz Band, Sala Thai (Bethesda), 7 p.m. | Consisting of Joey Whitney on tenor sax, Ed Gallagher on guitar, Alan Pachter on bass and Tom Reed on drums, the Triple Double Jazz Band plays straightforward, straight-ahead versions of jazz standards. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

Jacqui Simmons & Friends, Sala Thai (Petworth), 7 p.m. | Jacqui Simmons sings jazz standards with a heartfelt and elegant presentation. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

Eddie Palmieri, Kennedy Center, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. | Eddie Palmieri, probably Latin music’s most important living patriarch, pushes his ensembles with unassailable scaffolds of notes – syncopated patterns that work a confounding joy upon his song forms, building and bursting at the same time. In the 1960s, his earliest band, La Perfecta, blended traditional Cuban dance music with jazz and classical influences. Since then, he’s been searching ever further; with his Latin jazz septet, he will play a repertoire of his own modernist compositions, amassed mostly since the 1990s, when he more fully embraced the loose framework of jazz improvising. Two separate shows at 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. Tickets $35. View event on calendar | Kennedy Center website

Tony Martucci Quintet, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | A frequent sideman and bandleader in the D.C. area, drummer Tony Martucci is a seasoned bop drummer with a clarion swing. He has recorded with such superstars as Joe Lovano, and for this show he’s assembled an all-star cast of D.C. talent: Luis Hernandez and Jeff Antoniuk on saxophones, John Lee on guitar and Tom Baldwin on bass. Two separate sets at 9 & 11 p.m. $15 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Roy Ayers, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Vocalist and vibraphonist Roy Ayers – beloved by acid-jazz fans, hip-hop heads and disco lovers alike – touts the title “King of Neo-Soul Music.” But before that, his days as an experimental jazz musician found him partnering with greats like Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Hubert Laws. Nowadays, Ayers typically sings sultry ballads over programmed drums and synthesizers; he’s experienced something of a renaissance, too, as the greater jazz community finally embraces osmosis with hip-hop, underscoring Ayers’s earlier prescience. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $35 cover, $2.50 surcharge. $12 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Lena Seikaly Quartet, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 8 p.m. | Vocalist Lena Seikaly sings jazz standards with a confident and playful demeanor, displaying a haziness reminiscent of Esperanza Spalding, but also nodding to traditional greats. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Mandarin Oriental website

Kenneth Whalum III, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | The rising saxophonist Kenneth Whalum III delivers his message in the form of a screed, or a soft whisper. Sometimes both at once. There’s always an insistence, a captivating sense of purpose, living within his tone. He contributed lithe accompaniment to R&B star Maxwell’s latest album, BLACKsummers’night, and on his own robust solo debut, titled “To Those Who Believe,” Whalum is joined by the famed pianist Robert Glasper. The result is a vigilant musical exploration, sleek and slippery, riding the line between genres like a skateboarder grinds on a rail. Two separate sets at 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. $18 cover in advance, $23 at the door, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

AJ Parham, HR-57, 9 p.m. | AJ Parham is a smooth, deep-voiced vocalist who sings R&B with inflections of jazz. But on the bandstand at HR-57, where he’s long been a stalwart performer, Parham often tries his hand at jazz standards. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | HR-57 website

Cubista, Bossa Bistro, 9 p.m. | Cubista is a salsa band that plays at Bossa every Saturday. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Bossa profile

Anders Eliasson, Black Fox Lounge, 9:30 p.m. | The drummer Anders Eliasson leads a small jazz group. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Black Fox profile

Steve Synk Trio, Columbia Station, 9:30 p.m. | Lyrical bassist Steve Synk, a music major at the University of Maryland, leads a young trio that explores music ranging from standards to originals, groove-based contemporary jazz to swinging bop. No cover, one-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Columbia Station profile

Donvonte McCoy, 18th St. Lounge, 10:30 p.m. | Arguably the city’s best jazz trumpeter, Donvonte McCoy plays every Friday and Saturday at the hip 18th St. Lounge. He likes to mix in some funk as well during the lounge gig, and he’s liable to inflect a touch of Chuck Brown-esque groove into his combo’s treatment of classic bop tunes by the likes of Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard. After all, the setting is that of a dance club, not a jazz joint – no tables and chairs or hushed applause after every solo. Cover varies ($5-10), no minimum. View event on calendar | 18th St. Lounge profile

SUNDAY, JANUARY 27

cb picks:

  • William Hooker, Bohemian Caverns, 7 & 9 p.m.
  • Roy Ayers, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m.

Gospel Brunch, The Hamilton, 10 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. | Every Sunday morning, the Hamilton presents two sets of rafters-raising gospel, along with an all-you-can-eat buffet. Two separate shows at 10 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. $25 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | The Hamilton website

TBA, Acadiana, 11 a.m. | Performer TBA. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Acadiana website

Harlem Gospel Choir, Howard Theatre, 12 p.m. | The talented Harlem Gospel Choir, which has been active since 1986, performs a Sunday brunch show every week at the Howard Theatre. Either an all-you-can-eat buffet or an a la carte menu are available. Doors open at noon, and the music starts at 1:30 p.m. Tickets vary ($35 for all-you-can-eat or $20 for admission and a la carte options in advance, $45 or $30 at the door). View event on calendar | Howard website

Jam Session with Peter Edelman, Columbia Station, 4 p.m. | Pianist Peter Edelman, a constant presence on the D.C. jazz scene for years now, leads an afternoon jam session every Saturday and Sunday. No cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Columbia Station profile

D.C. Jazz Jam, Dahlak, 6 p.m. | This jazz jam presents a friendly, relaxed environment where professionals and amateurs can play together. No cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Dahlak profile

Potomac Jazz Project, Laporta’s, 6:30 p.m. | The Potomac Jazz Project is a quartet that takes on modern and classic jazz tunes (and even some pop covers) with a showmanly flair, as well as skill. It’s led by bassist Stan Hamrick, and its rotating lineup often features some of D.C.’s best musicians. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Laporta’s website

William Hooker, Bohemian Caverns, 7 & 9 p.m. | Free jazz drummer William Hooker is as interested in tone and texture as he is in pure percussiveness. His experimental music often rumbles, rustles and trembles, rather than pulsing or charging any particular end point. He’s been a considerable force in free jazz since arriving on the New York City scene in the mid-1970s. He’ll perform in a variety of formats over the course of this evening’s two sets, part of the “Sundays @ 7 @ the Caverns” series presented by Transparent Productions. Two separate sets at 7 & 9 p.m. $15 cover in advance, $20 at the door, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

DC Choro, Grill from Ipanema, 7:30 p.m.| DC Choro is a sextet that plays Brazilian music drawing on European folk traditions. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Grill from Ipanema profile

Mike Flaherty’s Dixieland Jazz Direct, Zoo Bar Café, 7:30 p.m.| This combo specializes in traditional New Orleans-style jazz. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Zoo Bar website

D.C. Jazz Composers Collective, feat. John Kocur, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | The members of the D.C. Jazz Composers Collective propose that maybe an arts scene is only as good as its original material. The group is the bassist Kevin Pace, the pianist Gene D’Andrea and the saxophonist Bobby Muncy, who for years led an originals-only gig every Wednesday night at Utopia. The collective recently incorporated as a nonprofit, and the trio looks now to spotlight the many compositional talents that masquerade as soloists all across the D.C. jazz scene. At this show, they’re featuring the blade-swinging young alto saxophonist John Kocur and, especially in the first set, his compositions. Two separate sets at 8 and 10 p.m. $10 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins profile

Roy Ayers, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Vocalist and vibraphonist Roy Ayers – beloved by acid-jazz fans, hip-hop heads and disco lovers alike – touts the title “King of Neo-Soul Music.” But before that, his days as an experimental jazz musician found him partnering with greats like Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Hubert Laws. Nowadays, Ayers typically sings sultry ballads over programmed drums and synthesizers; he’s experienced something of a renaissance, too, as the greater jazz community finally embraces osmosis with hip-hop, underscoring Ayers’s earlier prescience. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $35 cover, $2.50 surcharge. $12 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Peter Edelman Trio, Columbia Station, 8:30 p.m. | The stalwart D.C. piano player Peter Edelman every Sunday night leads a rotating cast of musicians that often outgrows the title “trio.” no cover, one-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Columbia Station profile

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Giovanni Russonello

About Giovanni Russonello

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Giovanni is the founder of CapitalBop, and a music critic for the New York Times. 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. As head of CapitalBop, he has covered the D.C. jazz scene since 2010. (He is no longer directly involved in the presenting of CapitalBop's concerts.) 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 giovannirussonello.com or nytimes.com/by/giovanni-russonello. Follow him on Twitter at @giorussonello.

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    Whatever happened to Stephan Skeggarri? Unsure of spelling.

    Bob Moffitt /

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