Weekend in Jazz | 12.14-12.16: Bohemian’s back on track, and Braxton attacks

Laurent Coq, left, and Miguel Zenón will perform at Bohemian Caverns this weekend. Courtesy jazz24.org

by Giovanni Russonello
Editorial board

Bohemian Caverns, which has acted as a fallout shelter amid U Street’s steady implosion as a jazz hub, had a brush with the law this week after an alleged sexual assault there last weekend. No charges have been filed, and D.C.’s ABC board yesterday decided to lift its temporary suspension of the club’s liquor license. So as we keep our eye on how the horrendous accusations pan out, we can rest assured that the music will be very much back on track at the caves this weekend: Miguel Zenón and Laurent Coq are presenting their outstanding new project for the next two nights; the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra is playing a Saturday matinee show; and the mighty bass clarinetist Todd Marcus appears with a redoubtable quartet on Sunday night.

Then, of course, there’s Anthony Braxton’s breathlessly anticipated show at the Kennedy Center on Saturday, and the child prodigy Beka Gochiashvili’s performance with Lenny White and Eddie Gomez at the Howard Theatre on Sunday. No shortage of firepower this weekend. You can find details on all these shows and 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, DECEMBER 14

cb picks:

  • Miguel Zenón & Laurent Coq, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Jeff Antoniuk & Jazz Update, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th Street Lounge, 10:30 p.m.

Benjie Porecki Ensemble, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6 p.m. | For this week’s Jazz Night at Westminster, keyboardist Benjie Porecki leads a small group. Porecki has outward-bound, tonal inclinations, but he can also loosen his belt for some serviceable swinging jazz. Here he appears with a hard-to-beat band: Brad Collins on saxophone, Michael Bowie on bass and Mark Prince 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 sings laid-back renditions of jazz standards in a drumless trio. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

Yamomanem, 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

Cheryl Jones Quartet, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 8 p.m. | Singer Cheryl Jones – who had a weekly engagement every Sunday at Utopia until the venue closed for renovations earlier this year – sings with depth, force and clarity. She’s equally likely to sing jazz standards, pop tunes or gospel classics. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Mandarin Oriental website

Marcus Johnson, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Pianist Marcus Johnson makes highly danceable smooth jazz, with strong inflections of funk. He frequently indulges in pop covers, and is arguably the city’s best-known smooth jazz musician. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $27.50 cover, $12 minimum, $2.50 surcharge. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Miguel Zenón & Laurent Coq, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | When the MacArthur Fellow Miguel Zenón plays the alto saxophone, it’s something like a cleansing, cathartic bloodletting. His vital, flowing tone is a hot knife that cuts quick and deep, full of self-assurance – always sharp but never overly crisp. Earlier this year, he and the exacting French pianist Laurent Coq released a stalwart album together, Rayuela. Its 10 original tunes arrive like steam-soaked recollections; they’re based on the groundbreaking, stream-of-consciousness 1963 novel of the same name, and they live up to the conceit handily. Zenón and Coq will appear at the Caverns with the quartet from that album, which includes Dana Leong on trombone and cello, and Dan Weiss on drums and tabla. $24 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

Antonio Parker Quartet, HR-57, 9 p.m. | Alto saxophonist Antonio Parker’s playing is swingin’ and soulful, with 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 to Kenny Garrett’s. $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 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

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

Jeff Antoniuk & Jazz Update, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m. | Tenor saxophonist Jeff Antoniuk plays straight-ahead jazz with his sights set on what lies just past the horizon. Antoniuk’s tone is broad, with a constantly swelling life of its own. In his combo, Jazz Update, the D.C.-area musician is joined by the nimble pianist Wade Beach, bassist Tom Baldwin and drummer Tony Martucci. For this weekend engagement at Twins, the quartet will explore the music of Thelonious Monk, bebop’s most distinctively compelling composer. $20 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Peter Fields & Tara Hoffman, Black Fox Lounge, 9:30 p.m. | Guitarist Peter Fields and vocalist Tara Hoffman team up for a light dose of jazz standards and pop tunes. 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

Speakers of the House, Bayou, 10:30 p.m. | Speakers of the House put jazz in contact with a number of its offshoots in the Latin and blues lineages: hip-hop, boogaloo, trip-hop and funk. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Bayou profile

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15

cb picks:

  • Anthony Braxton, Kennedy Center, 7:30 p.m.
  • Miguel Zenón & Laurent Coq, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Jeff Antoniuk & Jazz Update, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m.
  • Steve Synk Trio, Columbia Station, 9:30 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th Street Lounge, 10:30 p.m.

Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, Bohemian Caverns, 3 p.m. | The Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra is one of the District’s most exciting acts. This 17-piece swing big band commands the caves with a repertoire ranging from Count Basie to John Coltrane to Maria Schneider to originals by the band members. A handful of excellent soloists strengthen the big band’s already-nimble arrangements. The ensemble’s Monday night shows are one of D.C.’s best bets for a weeknight out, but here the group performs a special Saturday matinee, featuring holiday fare. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

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 calendar | Johnny’s Half Shell 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, 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

Anthony Braxton, Kennedy Center, 7:30 p.m. Words to describe Anthony Braxton’s music: challenging, difficult, weird, original, beautiful. Perhaps more than any living American composer, Braxton’s work has been extremely controversial without being overtly political. But he simply aims to create music that is personal, and unique. Mostly that means exploring beyond the boundaries of any conventional forms of jazz or classical. He appears here with his Diamond Curtain Wall Quartet, plus the pianist Jason Moran as a special guest. Tickets $38. View event on calendar | Kennedy Center website

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 website

Marcus Johnson, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Pianist Marcus Johnson makes highly danceable smooth jazz, with strong inflections of funk. He frequently indulges in pop covers, and is arguably the city’s best-known smooth jazz musician. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $27.50 cover, $12 minimum, $2.50 surcharge. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Miguel Zenón & Laurent Coq, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | When the MacArthur Fellow Miguel Zenón plays the alto saxophone, it’s something like a cleansing, cathartic bloodletting. His vital, flowing tone is a hot knife that cuts quick and deep, full of self-assurance – always sharp but never overly crisp. Earlier this year, he and the exacting French pianist Laurent Coq released a stalwart album together, Rayuela. Its 10 original tunes arrive like steam-soaked recollections; they’re based on the groundbreaking, stream-of-consciousness 1963 novel of the same name, and they live up to the conceit handily. Zenón and Coq will appear at the Caverns with the quartet from that album, which includes Dana Leong on trombone and cello, and Dan Weiss on drums and tabla. $24 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

Jeff Antoniuk & Jazz Update, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m. | Tenor saxophonist Jeff Antoniuk plays straight-ahead jazz with his sights set on what lies just past the horizon. Antoniuk’s tone is broad, with a constantly swelling life of its own. In his combo, Jazz Update, the D.C.-area musician is joined by the nimble pianist Wade Beach, bassist Tom Baldwin and drummer Tony Martucci. For this weekend engagement at Twins, the quartet will explore the music of Thelonious Monk, bebop’s most distinctively compelling composer. $20 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

DeAndrey Howard Quartet, HR-57, 9 p.m. | DeAndrey Howard, a punchy trumpeter fluent in the lingua franca of hard-bop, is best known for his regular shows at Utopia, which closed for renovation earlier this year. Here he leads a quartet at HR-57 for the first time. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | HR-57 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

Some Like It Hot, Black Fox Lounge, 9:30 p.m. | Some Like It Hot is a small jazz and that performs traditional music from the swing era. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Black Fox 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, DECEMBER 16

cb picks:

  • Jazz Brunch: Reginald Cyntje, Twins Jazz, 11 a.m.
  • Todd Marcus Quartet, Bohemian Caverns, 7 & 9 p.m.
  • Beka Trio, feat. Lenny White & Eddie Gomez, Howard Theatre, 8 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

TBA, Acadiana, 11 a.m. | Performer TBA. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Acadiana website

Jazz Brunch: Reginald Cyntje, Twins Jazz, 11 a.m. | Twins Jazz’s new Sunday Jazz Brunch initiative revolves around the magnetic powers of Reginald Cyntje’s trombone. Last year, he released his debut CD, “Freedom’s Children: The Celebration,” a glimmeringly hopeful record immersed in the warm, danceable rhythms of Cyntje’s native U.S. Virgin Islands. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Twins profile

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

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, Dahlak, 6 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 | 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

Todd Marcus Quartet, Bohemian Caverns, 7 & 9 p.m. | The bass clarinetist Todd Marcus recently released a standout album, Inheritance; it spotlights his inquisitive imperative as a composer and arranger, and his hard-nosed improvising on the rare instrument. Here he appears with a top-notch quartet: George Colligan on piano, Warren Wolf on drums and Eric Wheeler on bass. Two separate sets at 7 & 9 p.m. $15 cover in advance, $20 at the door, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

Anthony Compton, Fusion Restaurant, 7 p.m. | Anthony Compton is an old-school crooner, partial to standards and delicate in his treatment of them. Here he’s backed by the pianist Benjie Porecki and the bassist David Jernigan. $10 cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Fusion Restaurant 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 calendar | Grill 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 calendar | Zoo Bar website

Bobby Muncy, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | Saxophonist Bobby Muncy writes snaky tunes influenced by 20th century classical and alternative rock, as well as jazz. He appears at Twins with a straight-ahead combo all five Sundays this December. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $10 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Marcus Johnson, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Pianist Marcus Johnson makes highly danceable smooth jazz, with strong inflections of funk. He frequently indulges in pop covers, and is arguably the city’s best-known smooth jazz musician. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $27.50 cover, $12 minimum, $2.50 surcharge. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Beka Trio, feat. Lenny White & Eddie Gomez, Howard Theatre, 8 p.m. | Beka Gochiashvili is 16 years old, and already he plays piano with the crisp control of a concert master. In this trio, the native of the country of Georgia appears with two legendary musicians whose combined ages equal eight times his own: Eddie Gomez on bass and Lenny White on drums. View event on calendar | Howard Theatre website

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 View event on calendar | Liv website

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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 [email protected] Read him at giovannirussonello.com or nytimes.com/by/giovanni-russonello. Follow him on Twitter at @giorussonello.

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