Weekend in Jazz | 11.26-11.28: Benito Gonzalez & the Young Lions come home

At Twins Jazz this weekend, local hero Benito Gonzalez returns to D.C. for two shows celebrating the release of his new album. Courtesy BenitoGonzalez.com

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. 26

cb picks:

  • Benito Gonzalez, Twins Jazz, 9 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th St. Lounge, 11 p.m.

Potomac Jazz Project, Workhouse Arts Center, 5 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. It 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, no minimum. View event on calendar | Workhouse Arts Center website

Capitol All-Stars Big Band Jazz Ensemble, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6 p.m. | This weekend, D.C.’s so-called jazz church has a rare showcase of big band music. Trombonist Bobby Felder leads his Capitol All-Stars Big Band Jazz Ensemble. Westminster Presbyterian’s music series all began as an experiment over a decade ago, and continues today as one of Washington’s greatest weekly traditions: “Jazz Night.” Every Friday night, the house of God becomes a hub for fish frying, communing and jamming on straight-ahead jazz. $5 cover for adults, no cover for attendees under 16, no minimum. View event on calendar | Westminster Presbyterian Church website

Alex Bugnon, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Pianist Alex Bugnon mixes R&B and funk influences into his smooth jazz style, which he occasionally inflects with more straight-ahead impulses reminiscent of 1960s Herbie Hancock. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $27.50 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Janelle Gill Quartet, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | Local pianist Janelle Gill has been on the rise recently, performing with trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis, among others. The Duke Ellington School of the Arts and Howard University graduate completed a commissioned piece for the Phillips Collection earlier this year. As major influences, the straight-ahead player cites bebop masters Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk and stride masters Mary Lou Williams and Art Tatum. 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

Benito Gonzalez, Twins Jazz, 9 p.m. | Pianist Benito Gonzalez, now a major force on the New York jazz scene, has moved around a lot but will always retain a special place in the heart of D.C. jazz lovers. Before moving to New York, the Venezuelan-born Gonzalez spent years as the top pianist on the scene here. His language is founded in bebop, with quick and fiery runs up top and a pounding, trenchant left hand (stacked fourths à la McCoy Tyner are his distinctive foundation). But Gonzalez pours in plenty of Latin jazz, with montunos and straight-feel soloing layered over his swing. One of the best things about seeing Gonzalez play is the visceral joy he gets from it, and how he pours everything he has into each performance. This weekend, he’s celebrating the release of his second CD, “Circles,” which features a star-studded cast of saxophonists Ron Blake, Myron Walden and Azar Lawrence, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts. At Twins he’ll be performing with a quartet consisting of Lawrence on saxophone, Herman Burney on bass and Ronnie Burrage on drums. $15 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar| Twins Jazz profile

Matt Ingeneri Duo, Black Fox Lounge, 9:15 p.m. | Guitarist Matt Ingeneri and bassist Bill “Magic” Lavender Bey play straight-ahead jazz standards at Black Fox, a lounge and wine bar in Dupont Circle. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Black Fox Lounge website

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. 27

cb picks:

  • The Young Lions, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Benito Gonzalez, Twins Jazz, 9 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

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

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. It 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

John Eaton, Kennedy Center, 7:30 p.m. | Longtime jazz, blues and Broadway pianist John Eaton will perform a solo show drawing on showtunes and standards in this Easton, Md. performance. $25 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Kennedy Center’s website

Alex Bugnon, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Pianist Alex Bugnon mixes R&B and funk influences into his smooth jazz style, which he occasionally inflects with more straight-ahead impulses reminiscent of 1960s Herbie Hancock. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $27.50 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

The Young Lions, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | In what’s sure to be a triumphant return for one of the District’s most beloved homegrown acts, the Young Lions play on Saturday at an old haunt of theirs, Bohemian Caverns. These guys have been doing it for 15 years, ever since they were college students in D.C.  Bassist Kris Funn is just back from an international tour with superstar trumpeter Christian Scott, while pianist Allyn Johnson has been leading the University of the District of Columbia’s Jazz Studies program. When they come together with drummer and bandleader Quincy Phillips, it’s sure to be a thrilling concert of hip-hop-meets-bebop (hip-bop?). 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

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

Benito Gonzalez, Twins Jazz, 9 p.m. | Pianist Benito Gonzalez, now a major force on the New York jazz scene, has moved around a lot but will always retain a special place in the heart of D.C. jazz lovers. Before moving to New York, the Venezuelan-born Gonzalez spent years as the top pianist on the scene here. His language is founded in bebop, with quick and fiery runs up top and a pounding, trenchant left hand (stacked fourths à la McCoy Tyner are his distinctive foundation). But Gonzalez pours in plenty of Latin jazz, with montunos and straight-feel soloing layered over his swing. One of the best things about seeing Gonzalez play is the visceral joy he gets from it, and how he pours everything he has into each performance. This weekend, he’s celebrating the release of his second CD, “Circles,” which features a star-studded cast of saxophonists Ron Blake, Myron Walden and Azar Lawrence, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts. At Twins he’ll be performing with a quartet consisting of Lawrence on saxophone, Herman Burney on bass and Ronnie Burrage on drums. $15 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar| Twins Jazz 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. This week he’s joined by Alex Brown on piano, Zach Brown on bass and, on drums, hometown hero Quincy Philips of the Young Lions (who will just have finished up a gig at Bohemian Caverns with the Lions). No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Utopia 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. Vie?w event on calendar18th St. Lounge profile

SUNDAY, NOV. 28

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 weekend’s house band features Peter Runk on keys, Evan Samuels on guitar, Eliot Seppa on bass and Will Stephens 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. It 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

Alex Bugnon, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Pianist Alex Bugnon mixes R&B and funk influences into his smooth jazz style, which he occasionally inflects with more straight-ahead impulses reminiscent of 1960s Herbie Hancock. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $27.50 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Laila Sante, Twins Jazz, 8 p.m. | No description available. $10 cover, $10 minimum. View event? on calendarTwins Jazz 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

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

*Correction: Janelle Gill’s name was misspelled.

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