Weekend in Jazz | 11.11-11.13: Recalling past greats, and absorbing the vital sounds of today

Dr. Billy Taylor served as jazz advisor to the Kennedy Center until his death last year. This weekend, the center pays him tribute. Courtesy NaturaLite

by Giovanni Russonello
Editorial board

The Kennedy Center launches its two-week-long “Swing, Swing, Swing” festival tonight (Friday), with its “Jazz on the Elevens” program. An all-star cast will be on hand to pay tribute to the center’s former musical advisor for jazz, Dr. Billy Taylor. Tickets to this show are sold out, except to donors, but the festival runs through Nov. 25. (Check back at CapitalBop for further coverage.) Other great shows this weekend include Charlie Young remembering George Botts at Westminster Presbyterian on Friday, Lonnie Liston Smith at Bohemian Caverns on Friday and Saturday, and our D.C. Jazz Loft on Sunday. You can 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, NOVEMBER 11

cb picks:

  • Charlie Young, Westminster Presbyterian Church
  • Jazz on the Elevens, Kennedy Center, 8 p.m.
  • Lonnie Liston Smith, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Michael Thomas Quintet, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th Street Lounge, 10:30 p.m.

Charlie Young, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6 p.m. | A great unsung hero of D.C. jazz was tenor saxophonist George Botts, who toured with Dinah Washington and performed with Billie Holiday, John Coltrane and Betty Carter, among others. Botts passed away this past May, and for this week’s edition of “Jazz Night” at Westminster Presbyterian Church, the vastly talented but rarely heard saxophonist Charlie Young will lead a band in commemoration of Botts’ life and career. Young, a professor at Howard University, will be joined by Wade Beach on piano, David Jernigan on bass, Percy Smith on drums and Herman Hawkins on vocals. $5 cover for adults, no cover for attendees under 16, no minimum. View event on calendar | Westminster Presbyterian Church website

Greg Lamont, Black Fox Lounge, 6 p.m. | Greg Lamont plays piano and sings loungy renditions of jazz standards. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendarBlack Fox profile

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

Yamomanem Jazz Band, Sala Thai (U St.), 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

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

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

George Mason Jazz Ensemble, GMU Center for the Arts, 8 p.m. | The George Mason University Jazz Ensemble performs its annual “Jazz for Justice” concert, featuring Tracey Wright, Rebecca Lewis and Ayana Reed on vocals, and the remarkable Victor Provost on steel pan. Ticket prices vary ($24 to $48). View event on calendar | GMU Center for the Arts website

Lorree K. Slye, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Vocalist Lorree K. Slye has a light and joyful singing style, and she melds R&B, gospel and jazz. Two separate sets at 8 and 10 p.m. $25 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Paige Martin Quartet, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 8 p.m. | Vocalist Paige Martin, who contributed to the latest album by the U.S. Air Force’s jazz band, takes a straightforward approach focused on strength and projection. Here she leads her own combo. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Mandarin Oriental Hotel website

Jazz on the Elevens, Kennedy Center, 8 p.m. | The kickoff event for the Kennedy Center’s two-week-long “Swing, Swing, Swing” festival, Jazz on the Elevens assembles a stellar cast of famed musicians to pay tribute to the late Dr. Billy Taylor, a legendary pianist and educator, and the center’s longtime jazz director. The pianists on the bill pianists include NEA Jazz Master Toshiko Akiyoshi, Geri Allen, Cyrus Chestnut, Danilo Pérez and Taylor’s own protege, Christian Sands. Other performers include saxophonist and NEA Jazz Master Frank Wess, who attended school with Taylor in D.C.; trumpeter Terence Blanchard; vocalists Harolyn Blackwell and Carmen Lundy; and longtime Billy Taylor Trio members Chip Jackson on bass and Winard Harper on drums. Howard University’s jazz vocal group and recent NBC stars Afro Blue will also hit the stage. Wow! Tickets vary ($35-$50), no minimum. View event on calendar | Kennedy Center website

Lonnie Liston Smith, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | Pianist and electric keyboardist can wax spiritual, then turn around and wane groovy. The eclectic musician – who ranges from smooth R&B to straight-ahead jazz – was a sideman early on for Pharoah Sanders, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Gato Barbieri and others. Nowadays, he’s a globally respected elder of the jazz community. Two separate sets at 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. $25 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 Bistro website

Antonio Parker, 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

Peter Edelman Trio, Columbia Station, 9 p.m. | The stalwart D.C. piano player Peter Edelman every week leads a rotating cast of musicians that often outgrows the title “trio.” No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Columbia Station profile

Michael Thomas Quintet, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m. | Trumpeter and composer Michael Thomas has been all over this country. After growing up in Las Vegas, he attended Grambling University in Louisiana before moving to upstate New York, then leading a successful gigging career in Philadelphia and finally settling in the D.C. area. Thomas has become a frequent bandleader in the region. His tenaciously swingin’ music tends toward the Jazz Messengers’ strain of no-compromises hard-bop; Thomas’ searing tone and dipping-and-diving improvisations have a lot in common with Lee Morgan’s. Two separate sets at 9 & 11 p.m. $15 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Aaron Myers, Black Fox Lounge, 9:30 p.m. | Vocalist Aaron Myers leads this straight-ahead jazz quartet, featuring piano, bass and drums, at the new Black Fox Lounge. 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, NOVEMBER 12

cb picks:

  • Lonnie Liston Smith, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Michael Thomas Quintet, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 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

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 calendarSala 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

Steve Washington Quartet, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 8 p.m. | Steve Washington sings standards with the controlled grace of so many 1950s soul and jazz singers. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Mandarin Oriental Hotel website

Gordon Chambers, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Gordon Chambers has leant his songwriting talents to Aretha Franklin, Queen Latifah, Usher, and many other major names. Here he steps out on his own, singing R&B. Two separate sets at 8 and 10 p.m. $25 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar| Blues Alley profile

Lonnie Liston Smith, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | Pianist and electric keyboardist can wax spiritual, then turn around and wane groovy. The eclectic musician – who ranges from smooth R&B to straight-ahead jazz – was a sideman early on for Pharoah Sanders, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Gato Barbieri and others. Nowadays, he’s a globally respected elder of the jazz community. Two separate sets at 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. $25 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns 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

Saltman-Knowles, HR-57, 9 p.m.| Saltman Knowles is a band that blends Latin, straight-ahead and soul-jazz influences. The core trio consists of joyous and smooth-voiced singer Lori Williams-Chisholm, pianist William Knowles and bassist Mark Saltman. But the group’s ancillary instrumentation — like its musical ambitions — is always changing: On the band’s latest CD, Saltman Knowles refashioned itself as an octet, complete with the steel pan drum sounds of Victor Provost. $12 cover, no minimum. View event on calendarHR-57 website

Michael Thomas Quintet, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m. | Trumpeter and composer Michael Thomas has been all over this country. After growing up in Las Vegas, he attended Grambling University in Louisiana before moving to upstate New York, then leading a successful gigging career in Philadelphia and finally settling in the D.C. area. Thomas has become a frequent bandleader in the region. His tenaciously swingin’ music tends toward the Jazz Messengers’ strain of no-compromises hard-bop; Thomas’ searing tone and dipping-and-diving improvisations have a lot in common with Lee Morgan’s. Two separate sets at 9 & 11 p.m. $15 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar |Twins Jazz profile

Dee Stone, Black Fox Lounge, 9:30 p.m. | Dee Stone sings soul, blues, jazz and rock. The first set of every performance is usually comprised of jazz standards. 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, november 13

cb picks:

  • Marshall Keys, Acadiana, 11 a.m.
  • D.C. Jazz Loft, Red Door, 7 p.m.
  • Ernest “EC3” Coleman, Bohemian Caverns, 7 p.m.
  • “Miles Davis Experience,” GMU Center for the Arts, 7 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

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D.C. Jazz Loft, Red Door, 7 p.m. | CapitalBop’s D.C. Jazz Loft returns for its November edition, bringing a range of area talent to Red Door’s cozy stage. This time around, the powerhouse, forward-looking jazz trio MadCurious is set to perform; the group is led by pile-driving drummer Lenny Robinson, and includes world-class bassist Tarus Mateen and brooding saxophonist Brian Settles. The other groups on the bill are the Elijah Jamal Balbed Quintet and the Hope Udobi Trio, both exciting combos led by two of the District’s most conspicuous young talents. This loft is co-presented by Reel Fest DC, a radical film bonanza. It bears noting that this wil be the third-to-last D.C. Jazz Loft, as the venue is being turned into condominiums. $10 suggested donation, BYOB. View event on calendar | D.C. Jazz Loft page

Ernest “EC3” Coleman, Bohemian Caverns, 7 p.m. | Las Vegas-based Ernest “EC3” Coleman is a talented tipper, a straight-ahead drummer with serious chops. He spent years on the road with bass legend Al McKibbon, and nowadays leads his own groups, in addition to other sideman work. Two separate sets at 7 & 9 p.m. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

“Miles Davis Experience: 1949-’59,” GMU Center for the Arts, 7 p.m.| In collaboration with Blue Note Records, George Mason University presents an examination of Miles Davis’ cool jazz and hard-bop periods. The multimedia program includes a performance by rising trumpet virtuoso Jason Palmer, as well as photography, film clips and poetry-inspired narrations. It will not turn a blind eye to the politics and sociology of this heady period in African-American history; this 10-year period begins just a few years after the Tuskegee Airmen returned home to the same segregated society they had left behind, and it includes the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision and Montgomery Bus Boycott that set off the climactic phase of the Civil Rights Movement. Ticket prices vary ($22, $36 and $44). View event on calendar | GMU Center for the Arts website

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

Marc A. Evans, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | Marc A. Evans is a Baltimore native R&B vocalist. Two separate sets at 8 and 10 p.m. $15 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendarTwins Jazz profile

Alvin “Youngblood” Hart, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Alvin “Youngblood” Hart is a blues singer and guitarist who has mastered a variety of blues styles – from Delta blues to electric. As a singer he’s got a distinctive, high-tenor snarl. 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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