Weekend in Jazz | 11.19-11.21

Ravi Coltrane performs at the Sixth & I Synagogue this Saturday. Courtesy volume12

by Giovanni Russonello
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Welcome to this week’s installation of “Weekend in Jazz,” a full list of every D.C. jazz show that we can get our hands on. If you’re just breezing through, check for the shows with a label — those are our favorites. As always, you can read CapitalBop’s full listings directly at our monthly calendar, if you prefer. Happy hunting!

FRIDAY, NOV. 19

cb picks:

  • Cyrus Chestnut, KC Jazz Club, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.
  • Jeff “Tain” Watts Quartet, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th St. Lounge, 11 p.m.

Earl Wilson’s All-Star Band, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6 p.m. | Jazz guitarist Earl Wilson 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 band that includes the world-class pianist Larry Willis (who has lent his swingin’ prowess to albums by Lee Morgan; Jackie McLean; Nat Adderley; and Blood, Sweat & Tears, among others). As with every Friday night, the house of God at 4th and I Streets SW will become a hub for fish frying, communing and jamming on straight-ahead jazz. The rest of Earl Wilson’s group will be Craig Alston on tenor sax, Herman Burney on bass and Lee Pearson on drums. $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 is joined by pianist Bob Sykes and bassist Hugh Johnson in her laid-back renditions of jazz standards. 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 quartet that takes on modern and classic jazz tunes with a showmanly flair, as well as skill. Its features Steve Wolfe on tenor and soprano saxophones, Tala Faral on piano, Stan Hamrick on bass and Gary Taylor on drums and percussion. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

L’Tanya Mari Trio, Sala Thai (Petworth), 7 p.m. | Singer L’Tanya Mari is influenced by Ella Fitzgerald, singing jazz with depth and soulful warmth. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

Night & Day Combo, Hollywood East Café, 7 p.m. | The Night & Day Combo plays traditional, swing-oriented jazz, featuring Renée Tannenbaum on vocals, Mike Suser on piano and vocals, Dennis Johnson on saxophone and Steve Scott on bass. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Hollywood East Café website

Cyrus Chestnut, KC Jazz Club, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. | Pianist Cyrus Chestnut is one of the best in the business. His rhythm is that of a free spirit, its syncopation as alchemic as that of Monk but as swingin’ as Oscar Peterson’s. Since bursting onto the scene in the late 1980s, he has performed with Betty Carter, Christian McBride and Tim Warfield, to name but a few. More than perhaps any other pianist, Chestnut can pour equal parts gospel roots, bebop swing and envelope-pushing innovation into his 88-key cauldron — sheer unpredictability is his greatest asset. Two separate shows at 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. $26 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | KC Jazz Club profile

Jeff “Tain” Watts Quartet, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Jeff “Tain” Watts is one of the icons of the jazz classicist period of the 1980s and ’90s. To earn international acclaim as a leader in that type of movement is to dig into traditional modes of expression, but with an innovative irreverence and a virtuosic creativity. The result, Ben Ratliff writes, is that the thunderous and co mmanding drummer “sounds as if he’s knocking down the formalized patterns of jazz drumming and starting from scratch.” Having played alongside Wynton and Branford Marsalis and Ravi Coltrane, as well as other jazz greats, Watts leads his own quartet for a two-night run at Blues Alley. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

John Lamkin Quartet, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | John Lamkin is a straight-ahead jazz trumpeter and the coordinator of music education at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Two separate sets at 8:30 & 10:30. $15 cover in advance, $20 at the door, no minimum. View event on calendar| Bohemian Caverns profile

Antonio Parker Quartet, HR-57, 9 p.m. | Alto saxophonist Antonio Parker idolizes (and often eulogizes, with musical tributes) John Coltrane. But his aggressive alto tone and rhythmic inclinations are more contemporary, bringing neo-soul and R&B influences into his otherwise straight-ahead bebop. Parker’s style on the horn often nods toward another one of his personal favorites, the contemporary master Kenny Garrett. $15 cover, no minimum View event on calendar | HR-57 profile

Tony Martucci Quartet, Twins Jazz, 9 p.m. | Drummer Tony Martucci has played with a host of jazz icons, from Mose Allison to Gary Burton to Charlie Byrd to Joe Henderson. Martucci is at times restless, at times pocket-dwelling. He operates within the bop tradition, but insinuates elements of Latin and modern minimalism into his drumming. He’s joined during a two-night stint at Twins by Greg Boyer on trombone, John Lee on guitar and Tom Baldwin on bass. $15 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar| Twins Jazz profile

Brulee, Columbia Station, 9:30 p.m. | Brulee is a jazz and alt-pop fusion quartet featuring vocalist Aura Kanegis. No cover, one-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Columbia Station profile

Donvonte McCoy, 18th St. Lounge, 11 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. Cover varies ($5-10), no minimum. View event on calendar | 18th St. Lounge profile

DeAndre Howard’s Collector’s Edition, Utopia, 11 p.m. | Trumpeter DeAndre Howard’s weekly engagement at Utopia brings hordes to the restaurant and bar every Friday night. 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, NOV. 20

cb picks:

  • Kurt Elling, Kennedy Center, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.
  • Wadada Leo Smith, Library of Congress, 8 p.m.
  • Jeff “Tain” Watts Quartet, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th St. Lounge, 11 p.m.
  • Elijah Jamal Experience, Utopia, 11 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

Aqui Oh, Levine Music School, 5 p.m. | At this early-evening concert during the Levine School’s BrazilFest, quintet Aqui Oh performs its jazz, samba and classical-avant-garde mix. The music is danceable, so samba experts should come ready to move. Fans of the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra will recognize the group’s fluid pianist Amy K. Bormet; she’s joined in the quintet by her husband, guitarist and cavaquinho player Matt Dievendorf, Karine Chapdelaine on bass, Marc Levine on percussion and Chuck Navyac on drums and accordion. $15 cover in advance, $20 at the door, no minimum. View event on calendar | Levine School of Music 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 some serious bop. He performs straight-ahead with his trio here. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

Full Ascent, 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 calendar | Sala Thai website

Kurt Elling, Kennedy Center, 7 p.m. | Vocalist Kurt Elling is a constant favorite among jazz critics, constantly placing high on Downbeat magazine’s annual poll. With an affinity for belting but a sense of variety and playfulness to match, Elling is ever-unpredictable. He ranges from backbeat-driven rock covers to jazz standards. At the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater, he’s set to perform music from his forthcoming CD, including compositions by Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter and Stevie Wonder. Two separate shows at 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. $38 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Kennedy Center website

Lena Seikaly & Potomac Jazz Project, 7 p.m., Extra Virgin Restaurant | 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 with a showmanly flair, as well as skill. Its features Steve Wolfe on tenor and soprano saxophones, Tala Faral on piano, Stan Hamrick on bass and Gary Taylor on drums and percussion. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Extra Virgin’s website

Diane Schuur, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Diane Schuur is a storied singer with two Grammies in the showcase. She’s got a friendly, varied and forceful style, which she mostly applies to jazz standards. Two separate shows at 8 & 10 p.m. $35 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet, Library of Congress, 8 p.m. | The venerable Wadada Leo Smith graces D.C. for a special concert with his Golden Quartet. They are promoting a set of new compositions inspired by the early years of the Civil Rights movement — a subject that Smith says is sorely in need of reflection. A legend in his own right (AACM cofounder, trumpet innovator, educator, master composer), Smith is joined by a group of excellent progressive jazz artists. Vijay Iyer is one of the most adventurous jazz pianists today, having won accolades including the Musician of the Year prize in the 2010 Jazz Journalists Association Awards. Iyer is a prolific composer and author, receiving numerous commissions and having many writings published. He will also play synthesizer in this performance. Bassist John Lindberg has recorded and performed with many legends and innovators in progressive jazz, including Anthony Braxton and Steve Lacy. He’s currently an instructor in the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA, alongside Smith. Most significantly, Lindberg is a co-founder of the String Trio, a prolific collective that continues to stretch musical boundaries around the world. Pheeroan akLaff has become one of the most recorded drummers in the avant-garde, appearing with legends such as Cecil Taylor, Henry Threadgil, and Oliver Lake. In the early 1980s, he performed with Fela Kuti. Before the concert, held in the Library of Congress’s Coolidge Auditorium, jazz historian and DJ Larry Appelbaum will hold a discussion with Smith at 6:15. The concert is free, but tickets are required. No minimum. (preview by Luke Stewart) View event on calendar | Jefferson Building website

Ravi Coltrane Quartet, Sixth & I Synagogue, 8 p.m. | The skill and fervor of his father, John Coltrane, shines through, but tenor and soprano saxophonist Ravi Coltrane has a sound all of his own. Often biting and punctuated by insistent stabs, Coltrane’s identity encompasses the influence of avant-gardists who came in the wake of his father’s monumental career. There’s also plenty of ha rd-bop greats Joe Henderson and Charlie Rouse in there, as well. He’s joined by an all-star cast of Luis Perdomo on piano, Drew Glass on bass and E.J. Strickland on drums. $30 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Sixth & I Synagogue website

T im Green, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | Local alto saxophonist Tim Green has a brimming, intense approach in his straight-ahead bop playing, deliberately tracing patterns and gliding through fills. Two separate sets at 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. $15 cover in advance, $20 at the door, no minimum. View event on calendar| Bohemian Caverns profile

Thad Wilson Quartet, HR-57, 9 p.m. | Trumpeter Thad Wilson plays with articulation and clarity, and a deference to melody that makes it easy to fall in love with his playing. A prominent member of the D.C. jazz community, Wilson once led a resident big band at Bohemian Caverns and now teaches at George Washington University. He returns to HR-57, an old stomping ground of his, for a night leading a quartet. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar| Twins Jazz profile

Tony Martucci Quartet, Twins Jazz, 9 p.m. | Drummer Tony Martucci has played with a host of jazz icons, from Mose Allison to Gary Burton to Charlie Byrd to Joe Henderson. Martucci is at times restless, at times pocket-dwelling. He operates within the bop tradition, but insinuates elements of Latin and modern minimalism into his drumming. He’s joined during a two-night stint at Twins by Greg Boyer on trombone, John Lee on guitar and Tom Baldwin on bass. $15 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar| Twins Jazz profile

Donvonte McCoy, 18th St. Lounge, 11 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. Cover varies ($5-10), no minimum. View event on calendar | 18th St. Lounge profile

Elijah Jamal Experience, Utopia, 11 p.m. | Young powerhouse tenor saxophonist Elijah Jamal Balbed heads up one of the swingin’est shows on U Street every Saturday night. The lineup of musicians on this late-night gig varies from week to week, but it’s consistently outstanding. Plus, with the Washington City Paper’s 2010 Best New D.C. Jazz Musician award under his belt, the 20-year-old Balbed can always be expected always to deliver the goods on sax. no cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Utopia profile

SUNDAY, NOV. 21

Kevin Pace Trio, Chef Geoff’s, 11 a.m. | Kevin Pace has a strong command on the bass and an intuitive ear as a composer. He puts both on display at the restaurant Chef Geoff’s, where he performs every week during Sunday brunch. This is background music, but that’s because of the environment, not the performance — which is anything but second-rate. (To hear Pace stretch out a bit more, catch him at Utopia with the Bobby Muncy Quartet, every Wednesday except the third of the month.) No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Chef Geoff’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

Jazz Jam, Dahlak, 6:30 p.m. | This jazz jam presents a friendly, relaxed environment where professionals and amateurs can play together. This week’s house band features Peter Runk on keyboard, Mark Caruso on guitar, Percy White on bass and Lydia Lewis on drums. 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 with a showmanly flair, as well as skill. Its features Steve Wolfe on tenor and soprano saxophones, Tala Faral on piano, Stan Hamrick on bass and Gary Taylor on drums and percussion. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Laporta’s website

Jam Session, HR-57, 7 p.m. | This is a chance for local musicians to stretch out and see which of their new ideas stick when thrown against HR’s craggy brick walls. It’s also an inexpensive way for jazz fans to get a peek into the raw collaborations of D.C.’s rising stars. $8 cover for audience members, $4 cover for musicians, no minimum. View event on calendar | HR-57 profile

Diane Schuur, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Diane Schuur is a storied singer with two Grammies in the showcase. She’s got a friendly, varied and forceful style, which she mostly applies to jazz standards. Two separate shows at 8 & 10 p.m. $35 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 every Sunday night leads a rotating cast of musicians that often outgrows the title “trio.” No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar| Columbia Station profile

Brian Robertson, Twins Jazz, 9 p.m. Saxophonist Brian Robertson celebrates his 30th birthday onstage at Twins, leading a combo through straight-ahead jazz that’s informed by his own love for and skill at R&B and funk. $15 cover, $10 minimum. | View event on calendar| Twins Jazz 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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