4.18-4.20: Jazz’s top brass at Blues Alley, plus young D.C. sax star Braxton Cook

by Giovanni Russonello & Allen Jones
Editorial board

D.C.’s own Braxton Cook has been on tour recently with the famous Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah. He returns to his hometown for his quartet’s first weekend at Bohemian Caverns, where he’ll give us a taste of what he’s been cooking up in New York City. Cook recently released his debut EP, titled Sketch, in which he blends his jazzed-out knowledge of the saxophone with his soulfully constructed original compositions. The great Jon Faddis brings fellow trumpeters Terell Stafford, Lew Soloff and Tom Williams to Blues Alley to perform arrangements that put a special focus on the instrument that expanded jazz’s focus beyond the piano in the early 20th century. At Twins Jazz, you’ll find Thad Wilson, a local trumpet expert in his own right, leading a band that mixes modern music styles with old standards. 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, APRIL 11

cb picks:

  • Smithsonian Masterworks Jazz Orchestra, American History Museum, 3 p.m.
  • Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington tribute, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6 p.m.
  • ‘Triumphant Trumpets,’ Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Thad Wilson, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Braxton Cook, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th St. Lounge, 10:30 p.m.
  • U St. Jazz Jam, Dukem, 11 p.m.

Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, American History Museum, 1:30 p.m. | The National Museum of American History celebrates Jazz Appreciation Month with free performances every Friday afternoon. This week, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra — one of the District’s most reliable emissaries of the traditional jazz repertoire — performs in a slimmed-down combo format. Free. View event on calendar | Museum website

Tribute to Dizzie Gillespie and Duke Ellington, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6 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.” This week, Local masters of the music perform some classic compositions by the fathers of jazz. Lenny Cuje on vibraphone, Chuck Redd on drums and vibraphone, Tim Whalen on piano, James King on bass, and Tom Williams on trumpet and drums. $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

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

‘Triumphant Trumpets,’ Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Trumpeter Jon Faddis assembles two other jazz trumpet giants to hit the stage for some top brass. Playing straight ahead arrangements that feature powerfully painted tree part harmony. Terrel Stafford is joining him throughout the weekend and Lew Soloff will be there Thursday and Friday while Tom Williams will be there on Saturday. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $35 cover, $12 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Thad Wilson, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | The trumpeter Thad Wilson plays with bursting articulation, and a generous insistence on clarity. It’s easy to fall in love with his playing. He plays thoughtful arrangements of straight-ahead tunes and always has a stalwart band behind him. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $16 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Sharon Clark, Loews Madison Hotel, 8 p.m. | Vocalist Sharon Clark has a powerful voice and sings standards accompanied by Chris Grasso on piano and bassist Zack Pride. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Loews website

Braxton Cook, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | With a carefully delicate tone and a simple composition style that transports you into his musical world, Braxton Cook has a command that rivals many of his older competitors. The 22-year-old is a student in Juilliard’s highly selective jazz program, and tours the world in Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah’s band. The D.C. native recently released his debut EP, Sketch. He performs here in his first weekend run at Bohemian Caverns. 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, 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

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, Dukem, 11 p.m.* | The U Street Jazz Jam, which began at Ulah Bistro last year and quickly became the weekend’s most happening area hang, is now at Dukem. The session offers a spark-plug atmosphere, and attracts cameos from some of the city’s top improvisers. A rotation of bands handles house duties every week. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Ulah website

SATURDAY, APRIL 12

cb picks:

  • ‘Triumphant Trumpets,’ Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Thad Wilson, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Braxton Cook, 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, 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

Thad Wilson, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | The trumpeter Thad Wilson plays with bursting articulation, and a generous insistence on clarity. It’s easy to fall in love with his playing. He plays thoughtful arrangements of straight-ahead tunes and always has a stalwart band behind him. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $16 cover, $10 minimum. [words by Allen Jones] View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

‘Triumphant Trumpets,’ Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Trumpeter Jon Faddis assembles two other jazz trumpet giants to hit the stage for some top brass. Playing straight ahead arrangements that feature powerfully painted tree part harmony. Terrel Stafford is joining him throughout the weekend and Lew Soloff will be there Thursday and Friday while Tom Williams will be there on Saturday. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $35 cover, $12 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Lena Seikaly, Loews Madison Hotel, 8 p.m. | The precocious young vocalist Lena Seikaly performs jazz standards and her own relatively straight-ahead originals with a confident and playful demeanor. Here she’s joined by a small combo. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Loews website

Braxton Cook, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | With a carefully delicate tone and a simple composition style that transports you into his musical world, Braxton Cook has a command that rivals many of his older competitors. The 22-year-old is a student in Juilliard’s highly selective jazz program, and tours the world in Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah’s band. The D.C. native recently released his debut EP, Sketch. He performs here in his first weekend run at Bohemian Caverns. 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

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. $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, APRIL 6

cb picks:

  • Brad Linde’s Underwater Ghost, Twins Jazz, 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

Halley Schoenberg, Mansion at Strathmore, 2 p.m. | The young reedist Halley Shoenberg — who splits time between alto saxophone, soprano sax and clarinet — plays high-spirited originals and classic jazz tunes with her acoustic sextet. The band includes John Jensen on trombone, Jon Ozment on piano, Charles Bubeck on vibraphone, Jonathan Steele on bass and Tony Martucci on drums. Tickets $20. View event on calendar | Strathmore 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

DC Jazz Singers Jam, Black Fox Lounge, 5 p.m. | The DC Jazz Singers Jam is a new endeavor, organized by the local show presenter and jam session enthusiast Jeff Stacey and hosted by the pianist Mark Meadows. In the Black Fox Lounge’s basement performance area, it offers singers an early-evening opportunity to commune and compete. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Black Fox 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

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

Underwater Ghost, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | Brad Linde’s Underwater Ghost is an experimental band that launches cool jazz into a stratosphere of free improvisation techniques and electronic effects. The saxophonist’s clever use of harmonic layering will leave you with an overall warmth, and he’s joined by two strong compatriots: Nathan Kawaller on bass and Anthony Pirog on guitar. Cover $14, $10 minimum. [words by Allen Jones] View event on calendar | Twins 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

Listings by Giovanni Russonello, except where indicated. Introduction by Allen Jones.

Comments

comments


Giovanni Russonello

About Giovanni Russonello

view all posts

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.

You May Like This

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.