Weekend in Jazz | 1.6-1.8: Legends and lively newcomers, from Buck Hill to the Anderson Twins

Elijah Jamal Balbed leads a searing post-bop quintet at Bohemian Caverns on Saturday night. Courtesy Jesse Allen

by Giovanni Russonello
Editorial board

This weekend, you can opt for the comforting, swinging pleasures of local legend Buck Hill, or of blues journeyman Mose Allison. On the other hand, there’s young blood aplenty – from the young Anderson Twins’ cool jazz to innovative post-bopper Elijah Jamal Balbed to soulful alto saxophonist Herb Scott. All three of the foregoing are in their 20s. Find details on these performances and many more in this week’s edition of “Weekend in Jazz,” a listing of every D.C. jazz show on our radar. Our favorites have a label, and as always, you can read CapitalBop’s full listings directly at our D.C. jazz calendar, if you’d rather. Happy hunting!

FRIDAY, JANUARY 6

cb picks:

  • Buck Hill, New Deal Café, 8 p.m.
  • Mose Allison, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Tedd Baker, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Anderson Twins, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th Street Lounge, 10:30 p.m.

Lavenia Nesmith, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6 p.m. Singer Lavenia Nesmith, who has portrayed Mahalia Jackson in one-woman shows, performs here with the type of all-star local cast we’ve come to expect from Westminster Presbyterian’s weekly Jazz Night. Nesmith brings her gospel-influenced style to bear alongside Eric Byrd on piano, Paul Carr on tenor saxophone, Bhagwan Khalsa on bass and Alphonso Young, Jr. on drums. $5 cover for adults, no cover for attendees under 16, no minimum. View event on calendar | Westminster Presbyterian Church website

Jolley Brothers, B. Smith’s, 7 p.m. | The Jolley Brothers, Noble on keyboard and Nate on drums, play thrice a weekend at B. Smith’s, the upscale soul-food restaurant in Union Station’s massive East Hall. The Jolleys, who perform with a bassist, comprise one of D.C.’s most exciting and auspicious acts. With roots in gospel, soul and the modal bop of the 1960s, the brothers (who also compose prolifically) bring some of the most creative elements in the African-American music canon forward into the 21st century, all while stamping it with their own distinctive flavoring. But B. Smith’s is a restaurant first, and the music remains in the background – no matter how expertly played. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | B. Smith’s 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

Potomac Jazz Project, Sala Thai (U St.), 7 p.m. | The Potomac Jazz Project is a jazz combo led by bassist Stan Hamrick that takes on modern and classic jazz tunes with a showmanly flair, as well as skill. The cast of supporting musicians tends to rotate. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

Yamomanem, Sala Thai (Petworth), 7 p.m. | The Yamomanem Jazz Band plays a faithful take on New Orleans jazz, conjuring the days of King Oliver and early Louis Armstrong with its lush brass section. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

Buck Hill, New Deal Café, 8 p.m. | Tenor saxophonist Buck Hill is a D.C. legend. Had he moved to New York City, he surely would have become a national figure. He was already making waves with his music by the mid-1940s, and in the coming years he honed his skills as a bebop master alongside Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and other greats who came through D.C. to perform. Hill’s uncompromising swing and rich, reedy tone were originally “discovered” by the famous guitarist Charlie Byrd, with whom Hill recorded a series of albums in the 1950s. By the ’70s, he was recording as a leader alongside Buster Williams, Kenny Barron and other greats. Here he performs at the low-key New Deal Café with Mike Grasso on trumpet, Tom Reyes on piano, Tomas Drgon on bass and Darrell Dunning on drums. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | New Deal Café website

Mose Allison Trio, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | This famous Mississippi Delta native sings and plays jazz piano, integrating the murky feel of the Delta blues and the sass of early rock ‘n’ roll into what might at first blush seem like a jazz trio. Over a more than 50-year career, he has recorded albums for Atlantic, Columbia, Elektra and Blue Note Records, among others. His run at Blues Alley spans the whole weekend, from Thursday through Sunday. Two separate sets at 8 and 10 p.m. $25 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Bonnie Harris Quartet, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 8 p.m. | Straight-ahead jazz vocalist Bonnie Harris leads a very talented quartet. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Mandarin Oriental Hotel website

Tedd Baker, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | Tedd Baker is a D.C. saxophonist with an impressive résumé. In addition to playing in the Airmen of Note, he recorded a debut album that received accolades from JazzTimes. The strong saxophonist, possessed of a bold tone and rhythmic improvisatory approach, often gigs around the city. His combo tonight includes the great Michael Bowie on bass and Paul Pieper on guitar. Two separate sets at 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

Sin Miedo, Bossa Bistro, 9 p.m. | Sin Miedo is an energetic, nine-piece Salsa band that plays highly danceable Afro-Cuban jazz, Mambo and Samba. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Bossa profile

Antonio Parker Quartet, HR-57, 9 p.m. | Alto saxophonist Antonio Parker’s playing is swingin’ and soulful, with a bright, aggressive tone and inclinations that bring neo-soul and R&B influences into his otherwise straight-ahead bebop. Parker often pays tribute to John Coltrane with song dedications and covers, but his style on the horn often nods toward one of his personal favorites, the contemporary master Kenny Garrett. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | HR-57 website

Anderson Twins, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m. | The identical Anderson Twins, who play West Coast- and swing era-indebted jazz, have earned praise from the New York Times’ Stephen Holden, who calls them “virtuosos on both clarinet and saxophone.” They also happen to be memorable, prolific composers. The Bethesda, Md. natives started out in the early 2000’s as students of renowned area saxophonist and educator Paul Carr. Since then, the young virtuosos have studied with the likes of Dr. Billy Taylor, James Moody, Barry Harris and Clark Terry. Two separate sets at 9 & 11 p.m. $15 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Aaron Myers, Black Fox Lounge, 9:15 p.m. | Vocalist Aaron Myers leads a straight-ahead jazz quartet, featuring piano, bass and drums. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendarBlack 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

DeAndrey Howard’s Collector’s Edition, Utopia, 11 p.m. | Trumpeter DeAndre Howard’s regular engagements at Utopia bring hordes to the restaurant and bar. He and his small group, Collector’s Edition, play standards with a friendly, inviting touch, and they add to the positive vibes already flowing throughout the room — especially when Howard tosses aside the trumpet to sing a spontaneous blues. no cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Utopia profile

SATURDAY, JANUARY 7

cb picks:

  • Mose Allison Trio, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Elijah Jamal Balbed, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Anderson Twins, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m.
  • WKP Trio w/Herb Scott & Kevin Jefferson, Black Fox, 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 calendarJohnny’s Half Shell website

Jolley Brothers, B. Smith’s, 7 p.m. | The Jolley Brothers, Noble on keyboard and Nate on drums, play thrice a weekend at B. Smith’s, the upscale soul-food restaurant in Union Station’s massive East Hall. The Jolleys, who perform with a bassist, comprise one of D.C.’s most exciting and auspicious acts. With roots in gospel, soul and the modal bop of the 1960s, the brothers (who also compose prolifically) bring some of the most creative elements in the African-American music canon forward into the 21st century, all while stamping it with their own distinctive flavoring. But B. Smith’s is a restaurant first, and the music remains in the background – no matter how expertly played. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendarB. Smith’s 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

Full Ascent Jazz Band, Sala Thai (Petworth), 7 p.m. | This jazz band plays in a number of traditional styles, from hard-bop to Dixieland to calypso. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendarSala Thai website

District Jazz Trio, Sala Thai (Bethesda), 7 p.m. | A self-described “cool swinging jazz trio,” the District Jazz Trio is saxophonist Seth Popkin, pianist Dan Nathan and bassist Roger Rosa. The group plays jazz standards. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

Nancy Scimone, Henley Park Hotel, 7:30 p.m. | Nancy Scimone reaches into the jazz and popular American songbooks during this weekly gig at the Henley Park Hotel in downtown D.C. She’s typically joined by a pianist. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Henley Park’s website

Lena Seikaly & Potomac Jazz Project, Extra Virgin Restaurant, 7:30 p.m. | Vocalist Lena Seikaly sings jazz standards with a confident and playful demeanor, displaying a haziness reminiscent of Esperanza Spalding as well as a deference to traditional greats. 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 calendarExtra Virgin’s website

Mose Allison Trio, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | This famous Mississippi Delta native sings and plays jazz piano, integrating the murky feel of the Delta blues and the sass of early rock ‘n’ roll into what might at first blush seem like a jazz trio. Over a more than 50-year career, he has recorded albums for Atlantic, Columbia, Elektra and Blue Note Records, among others. His run at Blues Alley spans the whole weekend, from Thursday through Sunday. Two separate sets at 8 and 10 p.m. $25 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Sheila Ford Quartet, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 8 p.m. | Sheila Ford pours her whole voice into a forceful, controlled style of locution. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Mandarin Oriental Hotel website 

Elijah Jamal Balbed Quintet, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | 21-year-old saxophonist Elijah Jamal Balbed is one of D.C.’s brightest rising stars. He’s got a hard-driving, sparely metallic sound that’s both forceful and fluid. He’s redolent of Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins, but he refracts their lessons through the Young Lions of the 1990s and speaks in the lingua franca of present-day post-bop. He’s joined here by some of the best minds D.C. jazz has to offer: Andrew Adair on piano, Samir Moulay on guitar, Gavin Fallow on bass and Lee Pearson II on drums. Two separate sets at 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

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

Palanke Music Company, Bossa Bistro, 9 p.m. | Led by vocalist and guitarist Jaime Andrés Salazar, a.k.a. Gato, Palanke Music Company is tropicalia meets electro meets Samba meets Afro-Cuban jazz. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Bossa profile

Rhythminic Accent, HR-57, 9 p.m. | Led by saxophonist Brian Horton, this quartet performs straight-ahead bop. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendarHR-57 website

Anderson Twins, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m. | The identical Anderson Twins, who play West Coast- and swing era-indebted jazz, have earned praise from the New York Times’ Stephen Holden, who calls them “virtuosos on both clarinet and saxophone.” They also happen to be memorable, prolific composers. The Bethesda, Md. natives started out in the early 2000’s as students of renowned area saxophonist and educator Paul Carr. Since then, the young virtuosos have studied with the likes of Dr. Billy Taylor, James Moody, Barry Harris and Clark Terry. Two separate sets at 9 & 11 p.m. $15 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar |Twins Jazz profile

WKP Trio w/Herb Scott and Kevin Jefferson, Black Fox Lounge, 9:30 p.m. | The WKP Trio is a straight-ahead jazz ensemble consisting of Kenny Peagler on piano, Percy White on bass and Will Stephens on drums. Here, the group is joined by a young, soulful powerhouse of an alto saxophonist, Herb Scott, and by trumpeter Kevin Jefferson. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendarBlack 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

DeAndrey Howard’s Collector’s Edition, Utopia, 11 p.m. | Trumpeter DeAndre Howard’s regular engagements at Utopia bring hordes to the restaurant and bar. He and his small group, Collector’s Edition, play standards with a friendly, inviting touch, and they add to the positive vibes already flowing throughout the room — especially when Howard tosses aside the trumpet to sing a spontaneous blues. no cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendarUtopia profile

The Hang, Bohemian Caverns, midnight | Bohemian Caverns’ late-night jam, The Hang, is hosted by a different band every week of the month. The kitchen remains open until 1 a.m., so there’s a chance to get a late bite without having to traipse to Ben’s Chili Bowl. $7 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

SUNDAY, JANUARY 8

cb picks:

  • Marshall Keys, Acadiana, 11 a.m.
  • Mose Allison Trio, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m.

Marshall Keys, Acadiana, 11 a.m.| Marshall Keys’ saxophone can sing the blues or swing to the rhythms of bebop with a laid-back sense of cool; the native Washingtonian is a fluid, graceful player. He plays every Sunday brunch at Acadiana, usually with a group consisting of the city’s top jazz scene veterans: Federico Peña on piano, Tarus Mateen on bass and either Lenny Robinson or Mark Prince on drums. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Acadiana website

Jolley Brothers, B. Smith’s, 12 p.m. | The Jolley Brothers, Noble on keyboard and Nate on drums, play thrice a weekend at B. Smith’s, the upscale soul-food restaurant in Union Station’s massive East Hall. The Jolleys, who perform with a bassist, comprise one of D.C.’s most exciting and auspicious acts. With roots in gospel, soul and the modal bop of the 1960s, the brothers (who also compose prolifically) bring some of the most creative elements in the African-American music canon forward into the 21st century, all while stamping it with their own distinctive flavoring. B. Smith’s is a restaurant first, and the music remains in the background – no matter how expertly played. But as far as jazz brunch goes, it’s hard to top the Jolleys’ music. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | B. Smith’s 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

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

Jazz Jam, Dahlak, 6:30 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 | View Dahlak 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 calendarGrill 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 calendarZoo Bar website

Mose Allison Trio, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | This famous Mississippi Delta native sings and plays jazz piano, integrating the murky feel of the Delta blues and the sass of early rock ‘n’ roll into what might at first blush seem like a jazz trio. Over a more than 50-year career, he has recorded albums for Atlantic, Columbia, Elektra and Blue Note Records, among others. His run at Blues Alley spans the whole weekend, from Thursday through Sunday. Two separate sets at 8 and 10 p.m. $25 cover, $10 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

Cheryl Jones Trio, Utopia, 9 p.m. | Singer Cheryl Jones has a weekly engagement every Sunday at Utopia, where she sings with depth, force and clarity. Jones is equally likely to sing jazz standards, pop tunes or gospel classics. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Utopia profile

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