Weekend in Jazz | 5.27-5.29: Pharoah!

Pharoah Sanders brings his quartet to Bohemian Caverns this weekend for a series of spiritual shows. Courtesy Paulo Borgia/flickr

by Giovanni Russonello
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Welcome to this week’s edition of “Weekend in Jazz,” our list of every D.C. jazz show on our radar. In the calm before the storm that is the D.C. Jazz Festival (which runs through the first two weeks of June), this weekend’s highlight is Pharoah Sanders’ Friday and Saturday shows at Bohemian Caverns. If they’re anything like Thursday night’s triumphant performance, Sanders’ mix of his patented Eastern-influenced, journeying jazz vamps; interpretations of hard-bop standards; and soul-calypso sing-alongs will be a hard experience to pass up. There’s also legendary pianist Chick Corea’s solo set at Easton, Md.’s Avalon Theater, and a host of solid offerings in the District. 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, MAY 27

cb picks:

  • Thad Wilson Quartet, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6:30 p.m.
  • Pharoah Sanders, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th Street Lounge, 10:30 p.m.

Origem, National Gallery Sculpture Garden, 5 p.m. | For this year’s inaugural performance in the beloved Jazz in the Garden series, the local band Origem plays electric, Brazilian-influenced jazz. Its sound mixes samba, bossa nova, forro, afoxe, maracatu and partido alto. Free. View event on calendar | Jazz in the Garden website

Thad Wilson Quartet, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6:30 p.m. | Trumpeter Thad Wilson plays with articulation and lyrical clarity, and he privileges melody in a way that makes it easy to fall in love with his sound. A prominent member of the D.C. jazz community in the years of its mid-2000s revival, Wilson once led a resident big band at Bohemian Caverns and now teaches at George Washington University. He’s joined here by an all-star backup band of seasoned local hard-bop veterans: pianist and vocalist Johnny O’Neal; bassist James King; and drummer Keith Killgo. $5 cover for adults, no cover for attendees under 16, no minimum. View event on calendar | Westminster Presbyterian Church website

Greg Lamont, Black Fox Lounge, 6 p.m. | Greg Lamont plays piano and sings loungy renditions of jazz standards. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Black Fox profile

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

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

Triple Double Jazz Band, Sala Thai (U St.), 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

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

Jamie Broumas, Blues Alley, 8 & 11 p.m. | Jamie Broumas is a vocalist with a rich voice that can be alternately sassy or sensitive. She typically sings jazz standards, and was recently an artist-in-residence at Strathmore. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $25 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Lori Williams Quartet, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 8 p.m. | Smooth-voiced singer Lori Williams is a regular member of the local jazz group Saltman-Knowles. Here she steps out, singing standards with a quartet featuring Chris Grasso on piano, Zack Pride on bass and Lenny Robinson on drums. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendarMandarin Oriental Hotel website

Andréa Wood & Michael Kramer, Tasting Room, 8 p.m. | Singer Andréa 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

Pharoah Sanders, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | Unassailable legend Pharoah Sanders will always be best remembered for his 1969 LP, Karma, and specifically its half-hour-long opening track: “The Creator Has a Master Plan.” Built around two simple chords, the heavily Indian-influenced song finds Sanders sojourning in the screeching and pleading free-jazz territory of Albert Ayler and Charles Gayle; building melodic improvisations that show his former colleague John Coltrane’s influence; and crying out in an incantatory yodel that is much more affecting and much less tiresome than one might assume. Sanders’ music has hardly lost vitality in the more than 40 years since he recorded “Creator,” and he continues to dazzle with his flights of free-meets-form jazz. His quartet here includes William Henderson on piano, Kris Funn on bass and John Lamkin on drums. Two separate sets at 8:30 & 10:30. $42 cover in advance, $45 at the door, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

Antonio Parker Quartet, HR-57, 9 p.m. | Alto saxophonist Antonio Parker has long been a regular performer at HR-57, and when the club moved to H St. NE earlier this year, he played at opening night. Parker’s playing refers to John Coltrane’s tenor technique, but his aggressive tone and rhythmic inclinations are more contemporary, bringing neo-soul and R&B influences into his otherwise straight-ahead bebop. Parker’s style on the horn often nods toward another one of his personal favorites, the contemporary master Kenny Garrett. $12 cover, no minimum. View event on calendarHR-57 website

Ramzy and the Brothers Handsome, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m. | For a while, vocalist, keyboardist and composer Ramzy Suleiman led a strong pop-funk quartet called the Newscasters. But late last year, Suleiman assembled a trio consisting of old high school buddies and renamed the group the Brothers Handsome. This stripped-down setup has proven a very welcoming one for Suleiman, whose songs sometimes wax political but (more and more these days) also veer into the romantic, quotidian and quirkily humorous. The Brothers Handsome are a hard grooving and deeply funky group, and the only complaint to lodge about the group’s shows at Twins Jazz might be that there’s no room to dance. 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 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. After all, the setting is that of a dance club, not a jazz joint – no tables and chairs or hushed applause after every solo. Donvonte’s joined every Friday by the talented, Billie Holiday-indebted 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, MAY 28
cb picks:

  • Chick Corea, Avalon Theater (Easton, Md.), 8 p.m.
  • Tommy Cecil, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Pharoah Sanders, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy Quintet, 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

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 (Bethesda), 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 calendarSala 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

Lena Seikaly & Potomac Jazz Project, Extra Virgin Restaurant, 7:30 p.m. | 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

Nancy Scimone, Henley Park Hotel, 7:30 p.m. | Nancy Scimone reaches into the jazz and popular American songbooks during this weekly gig at the Henley Park Hotel in downtown D.C. She’s typically joined by a pianist. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Henley Park’s website

Chick Corea, Avalon Theater (Easton, Md.), 8 p.m. | Chick Corea is one of the most influential pianists of his generation. He gained national attention as a sideman in Miles Davis’ early electric-period band – and appeared on the leader’s landmark albums In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew. As a leader, Corea released his stunning debut in 1968, Tones for Joan’s Bones. It was a revelation: distinctively angular, his acoustic-piano style was rooted in both the bop and Latin jazz traditions, but it had a forceful futuristism. From his place at the helm of Return to Forever, Corea soon became a fusion pioneer. He has remained forward-looking ever since, and toured last year with the modern heavyweights Christian McBride and Brian Blade. This time around, it’s just Chick – he’s in Easton, Md. for a solo show. $60 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar |Avalon Theater website

Julie Hall Quartet, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 8 p.m.| Vocalist Julie Hall projects a swirling, blooming tone and flavors her renditions of jazz standards with a pregnant tremolo. The passionate singer is joined here by Chris Grasso on piano, Zack Pride on bass and Lenny Robinson on drums. No cover, 1-drink minimum.View event on calendarMandarin Oriental Hotel website

Tommy Cecil, Blues Alley, 8 & 11 p.m. | An area bassist of formidable strength and flavor, Tommy Cecil has performed and recorded with Joe Henderson, Billy Hart, Gary Bartz, Tommy Flanagan and others. Cecil is also a strong composer who writes tunes that drive and groove. His most well-known recording session, the strong Samba for Felix, included all the names above and puts his slick modernity shoulder-to-shoulder with his savvy mastery of classic jazz stylings. He’ll perform here with the pianist Bill Mays. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $25 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendarBlues Alley profile

Pharoah Sanders, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | Unassailable legend Pharoah Sanders will always be best remembered for his 1969 LP, Karma, and specifically its half-hour-long opening track: “The Creator Has a Master Plan.” Built around two simple chords, the heavily Indian-influenced song finds Sanders sojourning in the screeching and pleading free-jazz territory of Albert Ayler and Charles Gayle; building melodic improvisations that show his former colleague John Coltrane’s influence; and crying out in an incantatory yodel that is much more affecting and much less tiresome than one might assume. Sanders’ music has hardly lost vitality in the more than 40 years since he recorded “Creator,” and he continues to dazzle with his flights of free-meets-form jazz. His quartet here includes William Henderson on piano, Kris Funn on bass and John Lamkin on drums. Two separate sets at 8:30 & 10:30. $42 cover in advance, $45 at the door, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

Thad Wilson Quartet, HR-57, 9 p.m. | Trumpeter Thad Wilson plays with articulation and clarity, and a deference to melody that makes it easy to fall in love with his playing. A prominent member of the D.C. jazz community, Wilson once led a resident big band at Bohemian Caverns and now teaches at George Washington University. He returns to HR-57, an old stomping ground of his, for a night leading a quartet. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendarHR-57 website

Ramzy and the Brothers Handsome, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m.| For a while, vocalist, keyboardist and composer Ramzy Suleiman led a strong pop-funk quartet called the Newscasters. But late last year, Suleiman assembled a trio consisting of old high school buddies and renamed the group the Brothers Handsome. This stripped-down setup has proven a very welcoming one for Suleiman, whose songs sometimes wax political but (more and more these days) also veer into the romantic, quotidian and quirkily humorous. The Brothers Handsome are a hard grooving and deeply funky group, and the only complaint to lodge about the group’s shows at Twins Jazz might be that there’s no room to dance. 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 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. 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

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

The Hang, Bohemian Caverns, midnight | Bohemian Caverns’ late-night jam, The Hang, is hosted by a different band every week of the month. The kitchen remains open until 1 a.m., so there’s a chance to get a late bite without having to traipse to Ben’s Chili Bowl. $7 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

SUNDAY, MAY 29

cb picks:

  • Jolley Brothers, B. Smith’s, 12 p.m.
  • Aisha Kahlil, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Sharón Clark, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Sunday Jazz Lounge, BloomBars, 8 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

Carey Smith, Bayou, 12:30 p.m. | Alvin Trask is a deft local trumpeter; here he leads his trio through a background set during Sunday brunch. No cover, 1-drink minimum. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Bayou 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

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

Aisha Kahlil, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | Aisha Kahlil is a jazz and blues singer who hints at the influence of Nina Simone, Abbey Lincoln, Betty Carter and other paradigm-defying vocalists from throughout jazz’s history. For 30 years, she’s been a member of Sweet Honey in the Rock, the famous African-American music a capella group. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $20 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendarTwins profile

Sunday Jazz Lounge feat. Tony Martucci, BloomBars, 8 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. The Sunday Jazz Lounges have become a consistent hang for musicians and fans in the past few months, spreading positive energy and an opportunity for players to stretch out. Every jazz lounge starts with an unaccompanied solo set by a different D.C. musician; this week that musician is Tony Martucci, the talented drummer who has counted the famous Joe Lovano, Marc Copland and Drew Gress as sidemen. Then 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. The closest thing this transient event has at this point is the Columbia Heights community arts space BloomBars, where it will go down this week. $10 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | BloomBars website

Sharón Clark, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Vocalist Sharón Clark sings with fervor and soul, plus impressive precision. She’s one of D.C.’s top jazz singers. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $25 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendarBlues Alley profile

BlackNotes, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 p.m. | Pairing spoken word with heavily rhythmic music, BlackNotes remind us just where jazz comes from. The group’s dynamic performances are rooted in West African expressive forms and focus on poetic and musical interpretations of the African-American experience. $15 cover in advance, $18 at the door, no minimum. View event on calendar |Bohemian Caverns 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 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

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