Weekend in Jazz | 3.4-3.6: Charles McPherson swings at Bohemian; Twins unveils jazz lounge

Saxophonist Charles McPherson visits Bohemian Caverns this weekend. Courtesy Ed Newman

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. Saxophonist Charles McPherson, a lesser-known legend who contributed mightily to some of Charles Mingus’ classic albums, is at Bohemian Caverns this weekend. We’ve also got a series of exciting shows at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, and the debut of the Sunday Jazz Lounge at Twins Jazz. These and the rest of our favorite shows have a  label. As always, you can read CapitalBop’s full listings directly at our monthly calendar, if you’d rather. Happy hunting! (Correction: This paragraph contained outdated information, and has been edited from its original form.)

FRIDAY, MAR. 4

cb picks:

  • Andrea Wood, Atlas Performing Arts Center, 7:30 p.m.
  • Charles McPherson, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Michael Thomas Quintet, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th Street Lounge, 10:30 p.m.

Collector’s Edition with Kristine Key, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6:30 p.m. | Trumpeter DeAndrey Howard leads his hard-bop group, Collector’s Edition, every Friday night late at Utopia. But this weekend, he’s bringing the band to Westminster Presbyterian for the church’s famous, weekly “Jazz Night.” Collector’s Edition is joined on this engagement by Kristine Key, a delicate-voiced and plaintive – but soulful – singer. The instrumentalists include Howard, Elijah Jamal Balbed on tenor saxophone, Vince Smith on piano, Emory Diggs on bass and Terrance Arnett 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 guitarist Gantt Kushner and bassist Hugh Johnson in her laid-back renditions of jazz standards. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendarSala Thai website

Potomac Jazz Project, Sala Thai (U St.), 6:30 p.m. | The Potomac Jazz Project is a jazz combo, led by bassist Stan Hamrick, that takes on modern and classic jazz tunes with a showmanly flair, as well as skill. The cast of supporting musicians tends to rotate, but it’s usually a very solid lineup. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendarSala Thai website

Yamomanem Jazz Band, Sala Thai (Petworth), 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 calendarSala 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 calendarB. 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

Andrea Wood, Atlas Performing Arts Center, 7:30 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. In this show, part of the Intersections series at the Atlas Theater, she will perform a broad range of tunes – bop, Brazilian and others – with the backing of an expert quartet. The musicians include the doggedly inventive pianist Hope Udobi, exacting bassist Blake Meister and contemporary-minded Nate Jolley on drums. No cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Atlas PAC website

Mike Stern & Dave Weckl, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Guitarist Mike Stern and drummer Dave Weckl are two of the few remaining lions in the all-but-forgotten world of rock-jazz fusion. Stern broke through as a member of Blood, Sweat & Tears, then with fusion groups led by Billy Cobham, Miles Davis and Jaco Pastorius. Stern errs toward theatrics in both his guitar playing and his idiomatic preferences, but has the shredding talent and dripping-wet tone to back it up. Weckl, who rose to prominence in the 1980s with the Chick Corea Elektric Band, is one of the most technically stupendous drummers in the world. Most fans of fusion and jam music connoisseurs hold this group – featuring bassist Tom Kennedy and saxophonist Bob Franceschini – in high regard. But those who are disposed to ask questions like, “Well, what does the music mean, what’s it saying?” often find little to hold onto here. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $25 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Sharón Clark, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 8 p.m. | Vocalist Sharón Clark sings with fervor and soul, plus impressive precision. She’s joined here by Chris Grasso on piano, Tommy Cecil on bass and Chuck Redd on drums. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Mandarin Oriental Hotel website

Charles McPherson, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | Charles Mingus’ idol was, quite clearly, Duke Ellington. As a leader of arguably the most innovative mini-orchestra in all jazz history, Mingus expounded upon Ellington’s notion that savory ingredients make a stellar concoction. Which is to say, in Mingus’ band as much as in Ellington’s, dynamic personalities and breathtaking improvisers were as important as the compositions themselves. That’s why Charles McPherson fit right in. Just beginning to make his name when he joined Mingus’ band in the early 1960s, McPherson shone as the group’s alto saxophonist. He played with Mingus off and on for over 10 years, then moved on to collaborate with musicians like Charles Tolliver, Sam Jones and Kenny Drew, and led a formidable recording career as a leader. McPherson’s style has always been closely associated with that of Charlie Parker, but his status as a hard-bop heavyweight has everything to do with his own original talent, and nothing to do with derivativeness. He performs here with a trio featuring the great, hard-swingin’ pianist Larry Willis; D.C. bass legend Steve Novosel, an improviser of untouchable brio whose tone is thick and woody; and young, energetic drum talent Billy Williams. Two separate sets at 8:30 & 10:30. $25 cover in advance, $30 at the door, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

Michael Thomas Quintet, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m. | Trumpeter and composer Michael Thomas has been all over this country. After growing up in Las Vegas, he attended Grambling University in Louisiana before moving to upstate New York, then leading a successful gigging career in Philadelphia and finally settling in the D.C. area. Thomas has become a frequent bandleader in the region. His tenaciously swingin’ music tends toward the Jazz Messengers’ strain of no-compromises hard-bop; Thomas’ searing tone and dipping-and-diving improvisations are not unlike Lee Morgan’s. Two separate sets at 9 & 11 p.m. $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

Aaron Myers, Black Fox Lounge, 9:30 p.m. | Vocalist Aaron Myers leads this straight-ahead jazz quartet, featuring piano, bass and drums, at the new Black Fox Lounge. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendarBlack 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. 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. 5

cb picks:

  • Brad Linde Quartet, Atlas Performing Arts Center, 7:30 p.m.
  • Charles McPherson, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Michael Thomas Quintet, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th Street Lounge, 10:30 p.m.
  • Elijah Jamal Experience, Utopia, 11 p.m.

Brad Linde Quartet, Atlas Performing Arts Center, 7:30 p.m. | Local saxophonist Brad Linde is a consummate bandleader and cool jazz master who plays alto, tenor and baritone saxes with equal mastery. Drawing on tunes and concepts from Tin Pan Alley, the bebop movement, Jewish folk music and baroque classical, Linde has composed a collection of works that seek to examine the history of American jazz. He’ll play them with his quartet in this show, part of the Intersections series at the Atlas Theater. Linde’s laid-back but consummate combo features Sarah Hughes on alto saxophone, Tom Baldwin on bass and Tony Martucci on drums. No cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Atlas PAC 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 calendarColumbia 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 calendarB. Smith’s 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 calendarSala 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

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 calendarBayou 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

Mike Stern & Dave Weckl, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Guitarist Mike Stern and drummer Dave Weckl are two of the few remaining lions in the all-but-forgotten world of rock-jazz fusion. Stern broke through as a member of Blood, Sweat & Tears, then with fusion groups led by Billy Cobham, Miles Davis and Jaco Pastorius. Stern errs toward theatrics in both his guitar playing and his idiomatic preferences, but has the shredding talent and dripping-wet tone to back it up. Weckl, who rose to prominence in the 1980s with the Chick Corea Elektric Band, is one of the most technically stupendous drummers in the world. Most fans of fusion and jam music connoisseurs hold this group – featuring bassist Tom Kennedy and saxophonist Bob Franceschini – in high regard. But those who are disposed to ask questions like, “Well, what does the music mean, what’s it saying?” often find little to hold onto here. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $25 cover, $10 minimum View event on calendarBlues Alley profile

Cheryl Jones Quartet, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 8 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. Here, she helms a quartet featuring her longtime collaborator Wayne Wilentz on piano, James King on bass and Chuck Redd on drums. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendarMandarin Oriental Hotel website

Charles McPherson, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | Charles Mingus’ idol was, quite clearly, Duke Ellington. As a leader of arguably the most innovative mini-orchestra in all jazz history, Mingus expounded upon Ellington’s notion that savory ingredients make a stellar concoction. Which is to say, in Mingus’ band as much as in Ellington’s, dynamic personalities and breathtaking improvisers were as important as the compositions themselves. That’s why Charles McPherson fit right in. Just beginning to make his name when he joined Mingus’ band in the early 1960s, McPherson shone as the group’s alto saxophonist. He played with Mingus off and on for over 10 years, then moved on to collaborate with musicians like Charles Tolliver, Sam Jones and Kenny Drew, and led a formidable recording career as a leader. McPherson’s style has always been closely associated with that of Charlie Parker, but his status as a hard-bop heavyweight has everything to do with his own original talent, and nothing to do with derivativeness. He performs here with a trio featuring the great, hard-swingin’ pianist Larry Willis; D.C. bass legend Steve Novosel, an improviser of untouchable brio whose tone is thick and woody; and young, energetic drum talent Billy Williams. Two separate sets at 8:30 & 10:30. $25 cover in advance, $30 at the door, no minimum. View event on calendarBohemian Caverns profile

Laissez Foure, Cajun Experience, 8:30 p.m. | Laissez Foure is a quartet that blends the sounds of the swing era with traditional New Orleans and gypsy jazz styles. The group features a guitarist, saxophonist and clarinetist, cornetist and bassist. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Cajun Experience website

Michael Thomas Quintet, Twins Jazz, 9 p.m. | Trumpeter and composer Michael Thomas has been all over this country. After growing up in Las Vegas, he attended Grambling University in Louisiana before moving to upstate New York, then leading a successful gigging career in Philadelphia and finally settling in the D.C. area. Thomas has become a frequent bandleader in the region. His tenaciously swingin’ music tends toward the Jazz Messengers’ strain of no-compromises hard-bop; Thomas’ searing tone and dipping-and-diving improvisations are not unlike Lee Morgan’s. Two separate sets at 9 & 11 p.m. $15 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendarTwins 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 calendarColumbia 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. Vie?w event on calendar18th 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 calendarUtopia profile

SUNDAY, MAR. 6

cb picks:

  • Jolley Brothers, B. Smith’s, 12 p.m.
  • Sunday Jazz Lounge, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m.

Yamomanem Jazz Band, Eatonville, 12 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. They perform here for a special “Jazzy Mardi Gras Brunch” at Eatonville. This relatively new restaurant is named for the town where novelist Zora Neale Hurston grew up, and that provided the setting for her remarkable and evocative magnum opus, Their Eyes Were Watching God. The original Eatonville was the first town to be incorporated by African Americans after the Civil War. No cover, 1-drink minimum.. View event on calendar | Chef Geoff’s website

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 calendarB. Smith’s website

Kit MacAvoy & Mark Sundermeyer, Atlas Performing Arts Center, 7:30 p.m. | In this installation of the Atlas Theater’s Intersections series, young local jazz players Kit MacAvoy and Mark Sundermeyer (on bass and guitar, respectively) run through jazz standards. No cover, no minimum. View event on calendarAtlas PAC 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, 6:30 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

Mike Stern & Dave Weckl, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Guitarist Mike Stern and drummer Dave Weckl are two of the few remaining lions in the all-but-forgotten world of rock-jazz fusion. Stern broke through as a member of Blood, Sweat & Tears, then with fusion groups led by Billy Cobham, Miles Davis and Jaco Pastorius. Stern errs toward theatrics in both his guitar playing and his idiomatic preferences, but has the shredding talent and dripping-wet tone to back it up. Weckl, who rose to prominence in the 1980s with the Chick Corea Elektric Band, is one of the most technically stupendous drummers in the world. Most fans of fusion and jam music connoisseurs hold this group – featuring bassist Tom Kennedy and saxophonist Bob Franceschini – in high regard. But those who are disposed to ask questions like, “Well, what does the music mean, what’s it saying?” often find little to hold onto here. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $25 cover, $10 minimum View event on calendarBlues 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 effort has its head in the right place, and it’s worth getting behind. The two musicians have organized a Sunday Jazz Lounge in each week of March, and for every installation they plan to start the evening with a different guest soloist. From there, they’ll 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. This Sunday’s guest soloist is the Russian jazz violinist Matvei Sigalov. 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 every Sunday night leads a rotating cast of musicians that often outgrows the title “trio.” No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendarColumbia 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

Laissez Foure, Bayou, 9 p.m. | Laissez Foure is a quartet that blends the sounds of the swing era with traditional New Orleans and gypsy jazz styles. The group features a guitarist, saxophonist and clarinetist, cornetist and bassist. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendarBayou profile

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