3.7-3.9: Make some noise for Women’s History Month: Bullettes, Bormet & more

You can hardly go wrong this weekend on the D.C. jazz scene. Two exciting jazz projects with consciously African roots are at the Atlas, where the brimful Intersections Festival is coming to a close. The rising-star guitarist Matthew Stevens brings his project to Bohemian Caverns (it’s the band’s D.C. debut; catch them here for a preview of his forthcoming debut album on Concord Records). Kenny Rittenhouse is sure to please at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Friday night.

But the weekend’s obvious theme is that a number of exciting female acts are on display — both vocalists and instrumentalists. The vocalist and pianist Laila Biali is at Twins Jazz, with a killer complement in Tim Green’s saxophone; Akua Allrich performs at the Atlas on Saturday; Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes, a reputable all-female big band, plays a special jazz brunch show at Bohemian on Sunday. And of course, CapitalBop’s D.C. Jazz Loft gets in the mix on Sunday evening with performances from three fabulous young talents, including the pianist and Washington Women in Jazz Festival director Amy K. Bormet. 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 7

cb picks:

  • Kenny Rittenhouse, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6 p.m.
  • Lewis Nash Quintet, KC Jazz Club, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.
  • Laila Biali feat. Tim Green, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Snarky Puppy, THEARC, 8 p.m.
  • Matthew Stevens, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Eme & Heteru, Atlas Performing Arts Center, 10 p.m.
  • Jazz Jam, Ulah Bistro, 11 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th St. Lounge, 10:30 p.m.

Kenny Rittenhouse, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6 p.m. | Kenny Rittenhouse was a mainstay on the D.C. jazz scene throughout much of the 1990s, playing at venues such as the One Step Down and Twins Lounge. Recently he’s reemerged as a force, releasing a strong album last year and playing out much more frequently. The respected trumpeter – who has played with the U.S. Army Band and the Smithsonian Masterworks Jazz Orchestra – boasts an understated attack that moves from mellow to punchy. Here he performs with his quintet, plus Darden Purcell on vocals. $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

Yamomanem, 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 calendar | Sala Thai website

Lee Ritenour, Blues Alley, 7 & 10 p.m. | A talented guitarist who performed early in his career with Lena Horne and Tony Bennett, Lee Ritenour now plays smooth jazz. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $48 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Lewis Nash Quintet, KC Jazz Club, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. | There is such a thing as the musician’s drummer, and that person is Lewis Nash. You could also call Nash one of the most ubiquitous jazz drummers on the planet. Featured on over 400 records in over 30 years, he is one of the most sought-after sidemen on the straight-ahead scene. In his debut as a leader at the Kennedy Center, he brings some luminous musicians with him: Renee Rosnes on piano, Peter Washington on bass, Jimmy Greene on saxophone, and Terrel Stafford on trumpet. Two separate sets. Tickets vary in price ($26 – $30) No minimum. [words by Allen Jones] View event on calendar | Strathmore website

Laila Biali, feat. Tim Green, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | Laila Biali is an illustrious vocalist and pianist whose singing is intimate and heartfelt. Her songbook ranges from spiritual classics to jazzy originals. For this performance, she is joined by a master of the alto saxophone, Tim Green. whose improvisations will add a layer of brightness to Biali’s vocal renditions. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $16 cover, $10 minimum. [words by Allen Jones] View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Todd Googins, Loews Madison Hotel, 8 p.m. | Todd Googins calls himself a “vocal design” artist, meaning he offers voiceovers, jingles and vocal production services. At this show, he’ll be singing standards in front of a jazz combo, but who knows – holler loud enough for the theme from the latest Midas commercial and you just might get it. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Loews website

Kristin Callahan, Montpelier Arts Center, 8 p.m. | In Kristin Callahan’s wary alto, light slips subtly through darkening blinds. She sings jazz standards with a brooding, straight-ahead combo. Tickets $25. View event on calendar | Montpelier website

Snarky Puppy, THEARC, 8 p.m. | For the jazz devotee, Snarky Puppy, a Dallas-and-New York City collective, can be thought of a neo-soul obsessive’s answer to Kneebody, a hard-scraped contemporary jazz-rock experimental band. Snarky Puppy is getting traction at the moment for a snakily endearing original, “Something,” recorded with Lalah Hathaway. The band performs here alone. Sold out. View event on calendar | THEARC website

Matthew Stevens, Bohemian Caverns, 8 & 10:30 p.m. | Masterful guitarist and composer Matthew Stevens presents the DC premier of his group. Formerly a founding member of the Christian Scott Band where he served as musical director and a current member of Next Collective. He is respected for his compositions as well as his guitar playing, one of the more melodic contemporary guitar players. Now he embarks on his own highly anticipated project that features soulfully constructed originals that mix the indie rock guitar sound with brilliant harmonies and song like melodies. Two separate sets at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. $20 cover in advance, $25 at 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

Eme & Heteru, Atlas Performing Arts Center, 10 p.m. | Eme and Heteru front Afro Roots, a 10-piece ensemble that combines Afrobeat, reggae, and DC’s iconic sounds of go-go and R&B. It’s the type of music that makes you jump to your senses; you’ll celebrate the percussive vocals and crisp horn lines. At the Atlas’ Intersections Festival, they perform a program titled “’70’s African Music Revolution.” Tickets $12. [words by Allen Jones] View event on calendar | Atlas 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, Ulah Bistro, 11 p.m. | U Street restaurant Ulah Bistro has stepped up to fill the void that Utopia left open last year, when it closed to make way for the construction of a new condos complex. That restaurant housed the block’s most reliable, convivial jam sessions. Ulah gives a taste of that energy once a week, late on Friday nights. This week, Todd Simon takes the lead. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Ulah website

SATURDAY, MARCH 8

cb picks:

  • Akua Allrich, Atlas Performing Arts Center, 7 p.m.
  • Laila Biali feat. Tim Green, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Matthew Stevens, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th St. Lounge, 10:30 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 serious bop. He performs laid-back straight-ahead here with his trio. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

Triple Double Jazz Band, Sala Thai (Petworth), 7 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

Akua Allrich, Atlas Performing Arts Center, 7 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. This Saturday, she premiers a new project, “Seed,” that explores various expressive forms within the African Diaspora and features the art of the Zimbabwean-born visual artist Handirubvi Wakatama. Arrive at 5:30 for a pre-show discussion on the project. Tickets $22; $16.50 for students, senior citizens and children. View event on calendar | Atlas PAC profile

Laila Bilai, feat. Tim Green, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | Laila Biali is an illustrious vocalist and pianist whose singing is intimate and heartfelt. Her songbook ranges from spiritual classics to jazzy originals. For this performance, she is joined by a master of the alto saxophone, Tim Green. whose improvisations will add a layer of brightness to Biali’s vocal renditions. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $16 cover, $10 minimum. [words by Allen Jones] View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Lee Ritenour, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | A talented guitarist who performed early in his career with Lena Horne and Tony Bennett, Lee Ritenour now plays smooth jazz. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $48 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Janine Gilbert-Carter, Loews Madison Hotel, 8 p.m. | Vocalist Janine Gilbert-Carter has a fulsome set of pipes that she employs with masterful finesse and delicateness, in a style not entirely unlike Betty Carter’s. She often sings gospel, but she’s wonderfully at ease with straight-ahead jazz. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Loews website

Matthew Stevens, Bohemian Caverns, 8 & 10:30 p.m. | Masterful guitarist and composer Matthew Stevens presents the DC premier of his group. Formerly a founding member of the Christian Scott Band where he served as musical director and a current member of Next Collective. He is respected for his compositions as well as his guitar playing, one of the more melodic contemporary guitar players. Now he embarks on his own highly anticipated project that features soulfully constructed originals that mix the indie rock guitar sound with brilliant harmonies and song like melodies. Two separate sets at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. $20 cover in advance, $25 at door, no minimum. [words by Allen Jones] View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

Alfredo Mojica, HR-57, 9 p.m. | Alfredo Mojica, who sang for years with the group Sin Miedo, unites salsa, jazz and Latin American balladry. $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 9

cb pick:

  • Shannon Gunn & the Bullettes, Bohemian Caverns, 12 p.m.
  • Lisa Sokolov Duo, Bohemian Caverns, 7 & 8:30 p.m.
  • David Sánchez, Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club, 7:30 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

Shannon Gunn & the Bullettes, Bohemian Caverns, 12 p.m. | Led by Shannon Gunn – a talented trombonist and teacher who also plays in the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra – this all-women 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 special Sunday brunch gig doubles as a recording session; the band will be capturing material for its upcoming album, featuring the work of Count Basie. $5 cover in advance, $10 at the door, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns 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

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

D.C. Jazz Loft, Union Arts, 7 p.m. | The March edition of CapitalBop’s D.C. Jazz Loft features three rising talents you’ve got to hear, including Amy K. Bormet, the talented pianist who also runs the Washington Women in Jazz Festival. (Later this month, CapitalBop will co-present a really exciting show with the festival, featuring Bormet alongside international stars Mary Halvorson and Allison Miller. You can think of this as an appetizer, or just a bonus portion.) Then there’s the 24-year-old tenor saxophone whiz Elijah Jamal Balbed, who’s been playing on CapitalBop stages since 2010, and will be leading a truly top-flight quintet featuring some of the area’s very best. And the pianist Tim Whalen, a commanding player with a knack for fascinating arrangements and compositions, will lead a quartet featuring the excellent saxophonist Tedd Baker. $15 suggested donation, no minimum. View event on calendar | Union Arts website

Lisa Sokolov Duo, Bohemian Caverns, 7 & 8:30 p.m. | Lisa Sokolov presents extravagant vocals and rambunctious piano playing as a part of Transparent Productions “Sundays at 7 at the Caverns” series. Selecting material from a songbook that spans diverse vocal stars, she sings vivid and layered interpretations. 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

Lee Ritenour, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | A talented guitarist who performed early in his career with Lena Horne and Tony Bennett, Lee Ritenour now plays smooth jazz. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $48 cover, $10 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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