3.21-3.23: Washington Women in Jazz Fest finale, Amiri Baraka tribute & more

This weekend marks the end of the Washington Women in Jazz Festival. The best way to celebrate is on Friday night, at Westminster Presbyterian, where Shannon Gunn performs with the Bullettes. On Saturday, Howard University honors the legacy of the poet, jazz critic and activist Amiri Baraka with a star-studded tribute called “In the Tradition.” On Friday and Saturday nights, the saxophonist Craig Handy performs with his organ-driven, New Orleans-themed band, 2nd Line Smith. You can also find our full listings at CapitalBop’s D.C. jazz calendar. All our favorite shows below have a label. Happy hunting!

FRIDAY, MARCH 21

cb picks:

  • Shannon Gunn & the Bullettes (WWJF), Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6 p.m.
  • Kevin Eubanks, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Craig Handy & 2nd Line Smith, BoheImian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • U St. Jazz Jam, Climax Sports Bar & Lounge, 11 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th St. Lounge, 10:30 p.m.

Shannon Gunn & the Bullettes (WWJF), Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6 p.m. | Led by Shannon Gunn, a talented trombonist and teacher who plays in the well-loved Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, this all-female big band plays traditional tunes as well as original material. The band includes the pianist Amy K. Bormet, the drummer Lydia Lewis and other prominent players on the D.C. scene. This show marks its third annual appearance at Westminster Presbyterian as part of the Washington Women in Jazz Festival. $5 cover for adults, no cover for attendees under 16, no minimum. View event on calendar | Westminster Presbyterian Church website

Charles Rahmat Woods Duo, Firelake Grill, 7 p.m. | The saxophonist Charles Woods plays in both free and straight-ahead jazz styles, but for his regular gig leading a low-key duo at Firelake Grill, he keeps things within the traditional, swinging realm. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Firelake Grill 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

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 (and even some pop covers) with a showmanly flair, as well as skill. It’s led by bassist Stan Hamrick, and its lineup rotates. 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

Kevin Eubanks, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | You probably know Kevin Eubanks from his stint as musical director on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show, but before that he was as a young jazz guitarist making ripples on the New York City scene in the 1980s. When he dials things down and focuses on touch without adornment, Eubanks can sound strikingly like Wes Montgomery. But often, as on his most recent album, The Messenger, Eubanks opts for a greater involvement with electronics and textural fortifications: swelling, sparkling. He performs at Blues Alley with a small group. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $35 cover, $2.50 surcharge, $12 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Jim Snidero, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | The alto saxophonist Jim Snidero here leads a powerhouse band, draping his strong, swinging lines over James King’s bass, Bob Butta’s piano and Eric Kennedy’s drums. Snidero has been a sideman to singers like Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Sting and Eddie Palmeri. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $15 cover, $10 minimum. [words by Allen Jones] View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Chuck Redd, Loews Madison Hotel, 8 p.m. | Chuck Redd, a deft and lyrical vibraphonist, performs here with a combo featuring talented area musicians. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Loews website

Craig Handy & 2nd Line Smith, Bohemian Caverns, 8 & 10:30 p.m. | The tenor saxophonist is best known for his sideman work with a number of different artists, from Herbie Hancock to the Mingus Dynasty band, but has released a number of albums himself, featuring his own vivid compositions. His current band, 2nd Line Smith, is a traditional organ quartet tweaked to accommodate New Orleans’ famed second line drum beats. It features Kyle Koehler on organ, Matt Chertkoff on guitar, and Jerome Jennings on drums, plus the sousaphonist Clark Gayton. Two separate sets at 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. $20 cover online, $25 at the door, no minimum. [words by Allen Jones] View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

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 doggedly swinging, soulful and 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

Aaron Myers, Black Fox Lounge, 9:30 p.m. | The vocalist Aaron Myers leads a combo that tugs jazz standards down into a cozy, neo-soul groove. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Black Fox profile

Donvonte McCoy Quintet, 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

U St. Jazz Jam, Climax Sports Bar & Lounge, 11 p.m. | Climax—funny name for a sports bar, right? A sports bar—funny place for a jazz jam, no? Trust the U Street Jazz Jam, though: Until recently, this weekly session was housed at nearby Ulah Bistro (also an unlikely venue), and it has rarely failed to provide a convivial atmosphere or to attract cameos from the city’s top improvisers. A rotation of bands handles house duties every week. This time, Todd Simon takes the lead. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Ulah website

SATURDAY, MARCH 22

cb picks:

  • “In the Tradition:” HU Honors Amiri Baraka, Howard University, 6 p.m.
  • Akua Allrich, Loews Madison, 8 p.m.
  • Kevin Eubanks, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Craig Handy & 2nd Line Smith, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th St. Lounge, 10:30 p.m.

Young Artist Contest (WWJF), Levine School, 1 p.m. | The Washington Women in Jazz Festival has been around for four years now, accruing reputation and devotees all the while. For three of those years, it has presented a Young Artist Contest (this year the fest is alternately referring to it as a “showcase”), aimed at providing an outlet and a bar-raising scenario for aspirant female jazz musicians. This time around, the event features contestants on piano, vocals, drums, saxophone and flute. Tickets $5. View event on calendar | Levine School 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

“In the Tradition:” HU Honors Amiri Baraka, Howard University, 6 p.m. | A tribute to Amiri Baraka is promising partly because few figures could bring together such a passionate, righteously talented group of musicians, poets and thinkers. Also because it means an opportunity to meditate on ideas — and their associated emotional responses — that get siphoned out of most conversations around jazz’s role in society. Musically speaking, this Howard University tribute to Amiri Baraka features appearances from the Howard U. Jazztet; the singer René Marie; Baraka’s son, the drummer Obalaji Baraka; and Abiodun Oyewole, a spoken-word artist who was in the Last Poets. The actor Danny Glover, the poets Sonia Sanchez and A.B. Spellman, and others will speak. Free. View event on calendar | “In the Tradition” website

Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, Millennium Stage, 6 p.m. | The Revolutionary Snake Ensemble is a clattering, costumed band of horn players (plus a drummer) that performs funky, street parade-style pieces. Free. View event on calendar | Millennium Stage website

Wesley United Methodist / Isabelle DeLeon Trio feat. Integriti Reeves & Melissa Frackman (WWJF) | The talented drummer Isabelle DeLeon won last year’s Young Artist Contest at the Washington Women in Jazz Festival. At this year’s fest, she’s headlining the closing concert. Here she appears on the bill alongside Integriti Reeves, a soft-voiced singer who’s beginning to carve out her place on the scene, and Melissa Frackman, a tap dancing whiz with a convincing sense of swing. Tickets $10, $7 for seniors, free for children 12 and under. View event on calendar | Wesley 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

Jim Snidero, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | The alto saxophonist Jim Snidero here leads a powerhouse band, draping his strong, swinging lines over James King’s bass, Bob Butta’s piano and Eric Kennedy’s drums. Snidero has been a sideman to singers like Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Sting and Eddie Palmeri. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $15 cover, $10 minimum. [words by Allen Jones] View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Kevin Eubanks, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | You probably know Kevin Eubanks from his stint as musical director on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show, but before that he was as a young jazz guitarist making ripples on the New York City scene in the 1980s. When he dials things down and focuses on touch without adornment, Eubanks can sound strikingly like Wes Montgomery. But often, as on his most recent album, The Messenger, Eubanks opts for a greater involvement with electronics and textural fortifications: swelling, sparkling. He performs at Blues Alley with a small group. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $35 cover, $2.50 surcharge, $12 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Akua Allrich, Loews Madison Hotel, 8 p.m. | Nina Simone and Miriam Makeba are two strong influences that bubble up in Allrich’s Afrobeat- and jazz-infused music. The Howard University graduate, who composes many of her own tunes, is a searingly effervescent singer, with a sort of earthbound optimism that she passes along. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Loews website

Craig Handy & 2nd Line Smith, Bohemian Caverns, 8 & 10:30 p.m. | The tenor saxophonist The tenor saxophonist Craig Handy leads his new second line band, which explores a wide range of New Orleans-based groove styles. Handy is best known for his sideman work with a number of different artists, from Herbie Hancock to the Mingus Dynasty band, but has released a number of albums himself, featuring his own vivid compositions. His current band, 2nd Line Smith, is a traditional organ quartet tweaked to accommodate New Orleans’ famed second line drum beats. It features Kyle Koehler on organ, Matt Chertkoff on guitar, and Jerome Jennings on drums, plus the sousaphonist Clark Gayton. Two separate sets at 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. $20 cover online, $25 at the door, no minimum. [words by Allen Jones] View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

Ernest Coleman w/Minor Third Trio, HR-57, 9 p.m. | Las Vegas-based Ernest “EC3” Coleman is a straight-ahead drummer with years of experience on the road with the bassist Al McKibbon. Nowadays he lives in the D.C. area and leads his own groups. Here he appears with the Minor Third Trio, a triumvirate of high school students on the up-and-up. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | HR-57 profile

Donvonte McCoy Quintet, 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, MARCH 23

cb pick:

  • Eri Yamamoto Trio, Bohemian Caverns, 7 & 9 p.m.
  • Kevin Eubanks, 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

George Oakley Group, Redwood Restaurant, 11 a.m. | George Oakley invests all the reeds he plays – saxophone, clarinet and flute – with a whispering coolness. In this weekly brunch gig, he performs with a laid-back trio featuring Scott Giambusso on bass and Nick Lipkowski on guitar. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Redwood 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

Nguyen Nguyen, Ulah Bistro, 12 p.m. | Nguyen Nguyen plays jazz piano and sings in a scruffy, boyish tone. At Ulah Bistro’s weekly brunch, he mixes jaunty covers of jazz standards with his own compositions, and his combo stays at a background level. No cover, one-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Ulah Bistro

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

D.C. Jazz Jam, Dahlak, 6:30 p.m. | The D.C. Jazz Jam presents a friendly, relaxed environment where professionals and amateurs can play together. No cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Dahlak profile

Eri Yamamoto, Bohemian Caverns, 7 & 8:30 p.m. | Colorful pianist and composer Eri Yamamoto has an improvisational style that seeks to unleash the full sound of the piano. She will perform a wide variety of original compositions. Two separate sets at 7 & 8:30 PM. $15 cover in advance, $20 at the door, no minimum. [Words by Allen Jones] View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

Victor Dvoskin Duo, Tabard Inn, 7 p.m. | The bassist Victor Dvoskin leads a straight-ahead jazz duo every Sunday evening at the Tabard Inn restaurant. No cover, one-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Tabard Inn 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

Kevin Eubanks, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | You probably know Kevin Eubanks from his stint as musical director on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show, but before that he was as a young jazz guitarist making ripples on the New York City scene in the 1980s. When he dials things down and focuses on touch without adornment, Eubanks can sound strikingly like Wes Montgomery. But often, as on his most recent album, The Messenger, Eubanks opts for a greater involvement with electronics and textural fortifications: swelling, sparkling. He performs at Blues Alley with a small group. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $35 cover, $2.50 surcharge, $12 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Tony Martucci with Amy Shook, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | A frequent sideman and bandleader in the D.C. area, the drummer Tony Martucci plays comfortable bop with a lightly dabbed, clarion swing on the ride cymbal. He is joined here by Amy Shook on bass and Pat Shook on saxophone. Two separate sets at 8 & 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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