Weekend in Jazz | 3.25-3.27: A stacked Sunday

Marshall Hawkins, a legend who toured with Miles Davis, returns to D.C. for a concert this Sunday. Courtesy idyllwildjazz.com

by Giovanni Russonello
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Welcome to this week’s installation of “Weekend in Jazz,” our list of every D.C. jazz show on our radar. There’s plenty to hear all weekend long, but this week we’ve got an especially auspicious Sunday lineup. For one, Twins Jazz is hosting a special fundraiser show for Reginald Cyntje in the afternoon, as well as the latest installation of the popular Sunday Jazz Lounge series at night. Plus, there’s a major homecoming at All Souls Unitarian Church, where D.C. bass legend is back in town from California. All of our favorite shows have a  label. As always, you can read CapitalBop’s full listings directly at our D.C. jazz calendar, if you’d rather. Happy hunting!

FRIDAY, MAR. 25

cb picks:

  • Kevin Eubanks, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Nasar Abadey Trio, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th Street Lounge, 10:30 p.m.

Carlos Johnson Quartet, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6:30 p.m. | What began as an experiment over a decade ago continues today as one of Washington’s greatest weekly traditions: Westminster Presbyterian Church’s “Jazz Night.” Every Friday night, the house of God becomes a hub for fish frying, communing and jamming on straight-ahead jazz. This Friday, saxophonist and vocalist Carlos Johnson leads an organ quartet through a swingin’ set. Jackie Hairston is on organ, plus Alvin White on guitar and Leon Alexander 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), 6:30 p.m. | Commanding vocalist Karen Gray is joined by vibraphonist Pete Chauvette and bassist Hugh Johnson in her laid-back renditions of jazz standards. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

Triple Double Jazz Band, Sala Thai (U St.), 6:30 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 calendar | Sala Thai website

Night & Day Trio, Sala Thai (Petworth), 7 p.m. | The Night & Day Trio plays traditional, swing-oriented jazz, featuring Renée Tannenbaum on vocals, Mike Suser on piano and vocals and Dennis Johnson on saxophone. 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

Elijah & the Po’ Boys, Bayou, 7 p.m. | Tenor saxophonist Elijah Jamal Balbed leads the Po’ Boys trio — usually with drums and guitar — four nights a week during dinnertime hours at the New Orleans-themed Bayou. A strong, Dexter Gordon-like player, he performs mostly tunes from hard bop’s heyday and other standards. To hear Balbed stretch out with a full quintet, stay late on a Thursday night, when he plays Bayou’s featured set. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Bayou profile

Kevin Eubanks, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. Following up on the smooth jazz guitarist Earl Klugh’s four-night run at Blues Alley last weekend is Kevin Eubanks, a not altogether un-smooth guitarist. You probably know Eubanks from his stint as the musical director on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show, but you might not be aware of his history as a well-respected jazz guitarist, stretching back to the 1980s. When he dials things down and focuses on touch, he can sound strikingly like Wes Montgomery. But often, as on his recent album Zen Food, Eubanks opts for electric-piano backing and a swelling, sparkly aesthetic. Thing is, as with the great fusion of the ’70s and ’80s, this doesn’t need to mean he’s not innovating. Eubanks pushes bright, glossy guitar lines over his band’s rock grooves and full-force electric whoosh. He performs at Blues Alley with a band that includes Marvin “Smitty” Smith, the highly talented drummer from Eubanks’s Tonight Show band. $30 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar| Blues Alley profile

Andrea Wood & Michael Kramer, Tasting Room, 8 p.m. | Singer Andrea Wood has started catching people’s ears since returning to D.C., her hometown, in 2009. The Duke Ellington School of the Arts graduate moves fearlessly up and down octaves, all the while maintaining a distinct sense of purpose. She can explore the upper register in a beguiling waft, or plunge into the basement with buoyant, swelling articulation. Wood and guitarist Michael Kramer play Brazilian and classic jazz standards every week as background fare at the Tasting Room, a wine bar in Friendship Heights. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Tasting Room website

Joel Holmes, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | Joel Holmes, a recent graduate of Baltimore’s Peabody Conservatory, plays piano with a hard-swingin’ vigor. In him, the ghosts of Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson and their ilk waft into view: His chords often have octaves layered in, creating a forceful kind of warmth and forgoing much of bebop’s dissonance. That’s not to say he’s not an aggressive, creative player – this young tickler can fly across the keyboard with the best of them, and his left hand attack leaves no holds barred. 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

Nicki Parrott & Chuck Redd, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 9 p.m. | Nicki Parrott, a renowned singer and bassist, pairs up with D.C. vibes master Chuck Redd for a pair of shows at Mandarin Oriental this weekend. The strong band, which will play straight-ahead, includes pianist Chris Grasso (in the Friday show only) and Lenny Robinson on drums. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendarMandarin Oriental Hotel website

Nasar Abadey, James King & Allyn Johnson, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m. |Nasar Abadey is a consummate drummer and bandleader whose Supernova quintet is one of D.C.’s most beloved – and innovative – jazz acts. His trio here comprises Supernova’s rhythm section, with Allyn Johnson on piano and James King on bass. There’s no shortage of opportunities to hear any of these musicians work their magic around town (and they typically do so together), but that doesn’t make this weekend show any less worthwhile. Johnson’s roots in the church shine through most of all, but he’s got a bebopper’s agility and dynamic sensibility. King, meanwhile, holds things down mightily; the Washington City Paper‘s Michael J. West calls him a “dean of the D.C. bass.” If this is anything like a Supernova show, expect mostly post-bop originals. $15 cover, $10 minimum.View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

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

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. He’s joined every Friday by the talented, Billie Holiday-esque singer Integriti Reeves. 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 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, MAR. 25

cb picks:

  • Branford Marsalis & Terence Blanchard, Kennedy Center, 8 p.m.
  • Kevin Eubanks, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Nasar Abadey Trio, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th Street Lounge, 10:30 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

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

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

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

Karen Gray Trio, Sala Thai (Bethesda), 6:30 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

Elijah & the Po’ Boys, Bayou, 7 p.m. | Tenor saxophonist Elijah Jamal Balbed leads the Po’ Boys trio — usually with drums and guitar — four nights a week during dinnertime hours at the New Orleans-themed Bayou. A strong, Dexter Gordon-like player, he performs mostly tunes from hard bop’s heyday and other standards. To hear Balbed stretch out with a full quintet, stay late on a Thursday night, when he plays Bayou’s featured set. No cover, 1-drink minimum.View event on calendar | Bayou profile

Lena Seikaly & Potomac Jazz Project, 7:30 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 (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 | Extra Virgin’s website

Kevin Eubanks, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Following up on the smooth jazz guitarist Earl Klugh’s four-night run at Blues Alley last weekend is Kevin Eubanks, a not altogether un-smooth guitarist. You probably know Eubanks from his stint as the musical director on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show, but you might not be aware of his history as a well-respected jazz guitarist, stretching back to the 1980s. When he dials things down and focuses on touch, he can sound strikingly like Wes Montgomery. But often, as on his recent album Zen Food, Eubanks opts for electric-piano backing and a swelling, sparkly aesthetic. Thing is, as with the great fusion of the ’70s and ’80s, this doesn’t need to mean he’s not innovating. Eubanks pushes bright, glossy guitar lines over his band’s rock grooves and full-force electric whoosh. He performs at Blues Alley with a band that includes Marvin “Smitty” Smith, the highly talented drummer from Eubanks’s Tonight Show band. $30 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar| Blues Alley profile

Nicki Parrott & Chuck Redd, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 8 p.m.| Nicki Parrott, a renowned singer and bassist, pairs up with D.C. vibes master Chuck Redd for a pair of shows at Mandarin Oriental this weekend. The strong band, which will play straight-ahead, includes pianist Chris Grasso (in the Friday show only) and Lenny Robinson on drums. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Mandarin Oriental Hotel website

Branford Marsalis Quartet & Terence Blanchard Quintet, Kennedy Center, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. | As part of the Kennedy Center’s Maximum India series, dohl and drum-kit player Sunny Jain brings his Indian brass band, Red Baraat. The energy-filled show will blend North Indian bhangra rhythms, funk, soca and improvisatory conducting. Two separate shows at 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. $26 cover, no minimum. View event on calendarKennedy Center website

Joel Holmes, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | Joel Holmes, a recent graduate of Baltimore’s Peabody Conservatory, plays piano with a hard-swingin’ vigor. In him, the ghosts of Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson and their ilk waft into view: His chords often have octaves layered in, creating a forceful kind of warmth and forgoing much of bebop’s dissonance. That’s not to say he’s not an aggressive, creative player – this young tickler can fly across the keyboard with the best of them, and his left hand attack leaves no holds barred. 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

Nasar Abadey, James King & Allyn Johnson, Twins Jazz, 9 p.m. | Nasar Abadey is a consummate drummer and bandleader whose Supernova quintet is one of D.C.’s most beloved – and innovative – jazz acts. His trio here comprises Supernova’s rhythm section, with Allyn Johnson on piano and James King on bass. There’s no shortage of opportunities to hear any of these musicians work their magic around town (and they typically do so together), but that doesn’t make this weekend show any less worthwhile. Johnson’s roots in the church shine through most of all, but he’s got a bebopper’s agility and dynamic sensibility. King, meanwhile, holds things down mightily; the Washington City Paper’s Michael J. West calls him a “dean of the D.C. bass.” If this is anything like a Supernova show, expect mostly post-bop originals. $15 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Kaos Theory, Columbia Station, 9:30 p.m. | Kaos Theory is a smooth funk band. No cover, 1-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. 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 swinginest shows on U Street every Saturday night. His sound drips with the blues, and from the bell of this 20-year-old’s horn seem to rise the ghosts of Coleman Hawkins and Dexter Gordon. With the Washington City Paper‘s 2010 Best New D.C. Jazz Musician award under his belt, Balbed can always be expected always to deliver the goods. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar |Utopia profile

SUNDAY, MAR. 27

cb picks:

  • Jolley Brothers, B. Smith’s, 12 p.m.
  • Reginald Cyntje, Twins Jazz, 3 p.m.
  • Marshall Hawkins & Evan Christopher, All Souls Unitarian Church, 5 p.m.
  • Sunday Jazz Lounge, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Kevin Eubanks, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m.

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

Reginald Cyntje Fundraiser Concert | The skillful trombonist Reginald Cyntje plays with power and conviction, and a whole lot of soul. He always puts all he’s got behind his performances; now he’s pouring that energy into a fundraising effort for his debut CD project. In order to record the album, he’s attempting to raise $6,500. With just a few days left in his Kickstarter.com fundraising campaign, though, Cyntje is well short of his goal. So this is a perfect time to send a little monetary love his way – especially because you can do so while hearing him perform with expert musicians. In this special, Sunday-afternoon set at Twins, Cyntje performs with fellow Virgin Islands native Victor Provost on steel pan drum (if you haven’t heard this jazzman play, you’re overdue), Herman Burney on bass and Amin Gumbs on drums. $25 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins 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

Marshall Hawkins & Evan Christopher, All Souls Unitarian Church, 5 p.m. | Marshall Hawkins was born, raised and groomed as a bass master in Washington, D.C. He’s been gone for decades, though. Consider this show a sort of homecoming. In 1968, Hawkins joined Miles Davis’ band and toured the United States with the trumpet legend before returning to D.C. in 1971. He gigged around the District for 10 years, then resettled in California in the 1980s. Since then, he has performed with Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Pharoah Sanders and others. As jazz director at the Idyllwild Arts Academy near Palm Springs, Calif., Hawkins met Evan Christopher, a talented young clarinetist in the New Orleans jazz tradition. Christopher and Hawkins share the bill at this early-evening show. Proceeds will go toward the All Souls Unitarian Church’s New Orleans ministry, which was started in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. $20 cover, $10 for students and seniors, no minimum. View event on calendar | All Souls Unitarian Church website

D.C. 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

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

Kevin Eubanks, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Following up on the smooth jazz guitarist Earl Klugh’s four-night run at Blues Alley last weekend is Kevin Eubanks, a not altogether un-smooth guitarist. You probably know Eubanks from his stint as the musical director on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show, but you might not be aware of his history as a well-respected jazz guitarist, stretching back to the 1980s. When he dials things down and focuses on touch, he can sound strikingly like Wes Montgomery. But often, as on his recent album Zen Food, Eubanks opts for electric-piano backing and a swelling, sparkly aesthetic. Thing is, as with the great fusion of the ’70s and ’80s, this doesn’t need to mean he’s not innovating. Eubanks pushes bright, glossy guitar lines over his band’s rock grooves and full-force electric whoosh. He performs at Blues Alley with a band that includes Marvin “Smitty” Smith, the highly talented drummer from Eubanks’s Tonight Show band. $30 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar| Blues Alley profile

Sunday Jazz Lounge with Rodney Richardson & Joe Herrera, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | Guitarist Rodney Richardson and trumpeter Joe Herrera are looking to broaden jazz’s reach in D.C. while challenging the city’s musicians creatively. Increase popularity and raise the quality bar at the same time? you ask skeptically. Sure, the two don’t always go together – but Richardson and Herrera’s Sunday Jazz Lounge effort has its head in the right place, and it’s worth getting behind. Plus, from the crackling, friendly vibe and strong turnout that their first three lounges have enjoyed (they started the series at the beginning of March), it seems they’re succeeding. Each week, the pair has been starting the evening with a guest soloist. This Sunday’s is the dexterous and deft vocalist Lena Seikaly. From there, Richardson and Herrera will lead their quartet – featuring bassist Eric Harper and drummer Dave McDonald – through some of the less-traversed compositions in the bop songbook. Richardson and Herrera are two of the city’s top improvisers (at CapitalBop, we chose them to be part of the D.C. Jazz Loft’s U Street All-Stars band), so every Sunday in March is sure to be a good one at Twins Jazz. Not to mention, the Sunday Jazz Lounges are all priced at just $5, unusually low for Twins. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $5 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

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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