Weekend in Jazz | 10.8-10.10: The Bandwagon rolls in, D.C. Jazz Loft gets a new home & much more

The young vocalist Jazzmeia Horn performs on Friday night at the KC Jazz Club, as part of the Kennedy Center’s Discovery Artists initiative. Courtesy allaboutjazz.com

by Giovanni Russonello
Editorial board

You’ve heard about Jason Moran — the feature in the New Yorker, the chatter about his work as the Kennedy Center’s jazz advisor, the endless critical praise. Maybe you’re tired of hearing about him. If so, my guess is you haven’t yet seen him. Go out and hear him on Saturday night, when his longstanding trio the Bandwagon plays its annual show at the center’s KC Jazz Club, and you’ll be awakened. The previous night at the KC Jazz Club, the impossibly named Jazzmeia Horn shows off her redoubtable vocal talents; she’s a Betty Carter-indebted singer who’s only in her early 20s but has the chops to make your guts melt.

And on Sunday, CapitalBop’s D.C. Jazz Loft settles into a new home, Union Arts, where we hosted a standing room-only show during the DC Jazz Festival. With a killer lineup that includes faces both familiar and fresh, it’s sure to be a powerful evening of improvisation and positive energy. All our favorite shows below have a label. Happy hunting!

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1

cb picks:

  • Jazzmeia Horn, KC Jazz Club, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.
  • Roy Hargrove, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Rebirth Brass Band, The Hamilton, 8:30 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy Quintet, 18th St. Lounge, 10:30 p.m.
  • Jazz Jam, Ulah Bistro, 11 p.m.

Arnold Sterling, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6 p.m. | The Baltimorean Arnold Sterling plays bluesy alto saxophone in a style influenced strongly by Sonny Stitt. Playing this week at Westminster Presbyterian’s jazz concert and fish-fry, he’s backed by a strong quintet. $5 cover for adults, no cover for attendees under 16, no minimum. View event on calendar | Westminster Presbyterian Church website

Noble Jolley, Chez Billy, 7 p.m. | The pianist and keyboardist Noble Jolley toys with his gospel roots, weaving in and out of the parallel lanes of soul and modal post-bop. Often in performance with his brother, the drummer Nate Jolley, Noble’s less inclined to bring old things forward overtly; he’s likelier to allow a lot of older lessons to wash onto fresh shores. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Chez Billy 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

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

Jazzmeia Horn, KC Jazz Club, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. | As yet, we have been unable to confirm or deny whether Spike Lee made up this performer’s name to fill the jazz vocalist’s role in his forthcoming film. What we know is that Jazzmeia Horn was the Rising Star award winner at 2011’s Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, and is loaded with chops and driven to let her music guide her somewhere fresh. She’s proof positive that Betty Carter might end up being the biggest influence on jazz singers of this upcoming generation. Here the young singer appears as one of the Kennedy Center’s Discovery Artists. Two separate sets at 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. Ticket prices vary ($26-30), no minimum. View event on calendar | KC Jazz Club profile

Emy Tseng, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | The vocalist Emy Tseng focuses her pure and slender voice on popular tunes and standards, mostly from the Brazilian-jazz canon. Here she performs with a small combo that’s likely to include her close collaborator, Matvei Sigalov, on guitar, and will surely play tunes from her recent CD, Sonho. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $15 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Roy Hargrove, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | One of the best trumpeters to arrive after Wynton Marsalis, the 43-year-old Roy Hargrove has an affinity for sharp but husky melody, carried across genres. In his old band Crisol, he offered a modernist’s approach to Afro-Cuban jazz. In the group RH Factor, he explores the boundaries between jazz, funk and hip-hop. He’s back at Blues Alley this weekend with his quintet, after just doing a run in October; he was invited to return when Roberta Gambarini canceled her shows for the weekend. This time, he’s playing for a lower ticket price. Two separate sets at 8 and 10 p.m. $30 cover, $2.50 surcharge, $12 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Rebirth Brass Band, The Hamilton, 8:30 p.m. | Here is New Orleans’ brass band tradition – a lens for viewing all Black American music, as refracted through the Crescent City’s dedication to dance groove, polyphony and communal kinetics – as seen on TV. You might recognize the Rebirth Brass Band from the show “Treme,” but if there’s one thing that New Orleans music stands for, it’s the primacy of the live performance. Nothing else comes close to hearing this band in the flesh, from the comfort of a good dance floor. Tickets $38 in advance, $45.50 at the door. View event on calendar | Hamilton website

Sharón Clark, Loews Madison Hotel, 8 p.m. | The vocalist Sharón Clark sings with fervor and soul, plus impressive precision. She’s one of D.C.’s top jazz singers. Here she appears with spare, piano-bass backing. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Madison 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

Antonio Parker Quartet, HR-57, 9 p.m. | The alto saxophonist Antonio Parker’s playing is swinging and soulful, colored by 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 of Kenny Garrett. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | HR-57 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

Julie Mack, Black Fox Lounge, 9:30 p.m. | Julie Mack sings both traditional jazz and Brazilian music. 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

Jam Session, Ulah Bistro, 11 p.m. | U Street restaurant Ulah Bistro has stepped up to fill the void that Utopia left open last year, when it closed to make way for the construction of a new condos complex. That restaurant housed the block’s most reliable, convivial jam sessions. Ulah gives a taste of that energy once a week, late on Friday nights. This week the saxophonist Herb Scott helms the proceedings. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Ulah website

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2

cb picks:

  • Jason Moran & the Bandwagon, KC Jazz Club, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.
  • Roy Hargrove, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Elijah Jamal Balbed, HR-57, 9 p.m.
  • Steve Synk Trio, Columbia Station, 9:30 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy Quintet, 18th St. 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

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 (Petworth), 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

Herb Scott, Chez Billy, 7 p.m. | The soulful alto saxophonist Herb Scott is one of D.C.’s most arresting young powerhouses. He appears here with a combo featuring the bassist Steve Novosel, a longtime eminence on the local scene. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Chez Billy website

Jason Moran & the Bandwagon, KC Jazz Club, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. | The irrepressible pianist, composer and explorer of group dynamics Jason Moran doesn’t see many boundaries. With the 13-year-old trio that brought him to the summit of jazz stardom, the Bandwagon, he lets rhythm run spiky and fluid, and his harmonies grow into almost physical forms despite their pointed dissonance. The group is completed by two of the most unimpeded and seeking musicians out there: the bassist Tarus Mateen, a D.C. resident, and the drummer Nasheet Waits. Two separate sets at 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. Tickets vary ($26-$30), no minimum. View event on calendar | Kennedy Center website

Lyle Link, Loews Madison Hotel, 8 p.m. | With a presentation that’s always spry and sometimes sultry, saxophonist and flautist Lyle Link tells you the music is about more than hearing. Listening is intuition, and sometimes it defies gravity. A soulful and sophisticated player who’s been a mainstay of D.C.’s jazz scene for over 10 years, he appears here with Chris Grasso on piano and Tommy Cecil on bass. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Madison website

Emy Tseng, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | The vocalist Emy Tseng focuses her pure and slender voice on popular tunes and standards, mostly from the Brazilian-jazz canon. Here she performs with a small combo that’s likely to include her close collaborator, Matvei Sigalov, on guitar, and will surely play tunes from her recent CD, Sonho. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $15 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Roy Hargrove, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | The vocalist Emy Tseng focuses her pure and slender voice on popular tunes and standards, mostly from the Brazilian-jazz canon. Here she performs with a small combo that’s likely to include her close collaborator, Matvei Sigalov, on guitar, and will surely play tunes from her recent CD, Sonho. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $15 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Landau Murphy, Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club, 8 p.m. | Since winning the million-dollar grand prize in the TV show “America’s Got Talent,” Landau Murphy has recorded a CD that went to No. 1 on Billboard’s jazz charts and has performed across the United States. The young, soulfully gifted vocalist performs his vigorous treatments of Great American Songbook classics with the James Bazen Big Band in his first appearance in the D.C. area. $35 cover, $10 minimum for dining-area seating. View event on calendar | Bethesda Blues & Jazz 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

Elijah Jamal Balbed Quartet, HR-57, 9 p.m. | The young saxophonist Elijah Jamal Balbed, one of D.C.’s brightest rising stars, has a hard-driving and sparely metallic sound that’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. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | HR-57 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, NOVEMBER 3

cb picks:

  • D.C. Jazz Jam feat. Blake Meister, Dahlak, 6 p.m.
  • D.C. Jazz Loft, Union Arts, 7 p.m.
  • Roy Hargrove, 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

Jazz Brunch, 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

Todd Simon, Kellari Taverna, 12 p.m. | The sturdy and swinging pianist Todd Simon performs every Sunday in a duo setting; his accompanists vary from bass to guitar to saxophone, depending on the week. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Kellari Taverna 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 feat. Blake Meister, Dahlak, 6:30 p.m. | The D.C. Jazz Jam presents a friendly, relaxed environment where professionals and amateurs can play together. This edition of the jam is a tribute to the great D.C. native bassist Butch Warren, who died last month. The jam hosts a “Monthly Master” every fourth or fifth week, and this time the top-grade local bassist Blake Meister is featured. 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

D.C. Jazz Loft, Union Arts, 7 p.m. | CapitalBop’s monthly D.C. Jazz Loft has a new home, and it’s a lot like the original digs that made this event so special early on: Union Arts is an artist-run collective studio space and venue, and it’s just right for a low-key, inviting jazz show. At this month’s loft, D.C. tenor saxophone stalwart Fred Foss plays with a stripped-down trio. He’s joined on the bill by Third Wheel (that is, renowned Cuneiform Records recording artists Janel & Anthony, plus the adaptive D.C. saxophonist Brad Linde) and Mark Meadows’ original material-focused quartet, Something Good. $15 suggested donation, no minimum. View event on calendar | Union Arts website

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

Roy Hargrove, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | One of the best trumpeters to arrive after Wynton Marsalis, the 43-year-old Roy Hargrove has an affinity for sharp but husky melody, carried across genres. In his old band Crisol, he offered a modernist’s approach to Afro-Cuban jazz. In the group RH Factor, he explores the boundaries between jazz, funk and hip-hop. He’s back at Blues Alley this weekend with his quintet, after just doing a run in October; he was invited to return when Roberta Gambarini canceled her shows for the weekend. This time, he’s playing for a lower ticket price. Two separate sets at 8 and 10 p.m. $30 cover, $2.50 surcharge, $12 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Jazz Mosaic, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | No description available. Two separate sets at 8 and 10 p.m. $10 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz 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 editor@capitalbop.com. Read him at giovannirussonello.com or nytimes.com/by/giovanni-russonello. Follow him on Twitter at @giorussonello.

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