Weekend in Jazz | 5.3-5.5: Freddie’s back, Kenny Garrett’s in town, and Nonstop Improv is here!

Freddie Redd, shown here in the film “The Connection,” will celebrate the release of a new CD at Twins Jazz. Courtesy fbcdn.net

by Giovanni Russonello
Editorial board

This weekend, CapitalBop is excited to be hosting a very thrilling performance on Sunday afternoon at the new Union Arts venue, in which a wide array of D.C.’s greatest talents will improvise in a round-robin format. Also Sunday, the great pianist Craig Taborn brings his innovative trio to Bohemian Caverns. Earlier in the weekend, piano great Freddie Redd is Twins Jazz to celebrate the release of his first CD in 20 years. And saxophone icon Kenny Garrett will play all weekend at Blues Alley. There’s info on all those shows and many more in this week’s edition of “Weekend in Jazz.” As always, you can find our full listings at CapitalBop’s D.C. jazz calendar. Our favorites have a label. Happy hunting!

FRIDAY, MAY 3

cb picks:

  • Julian Lage & Fred Hersch, KC Jazz Club, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.
  • Buck Hill, New Deal Café, 8 p.m.
  • Kenny Garrett, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Freddie Redd Sextet, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Young Lions, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th Street Lounge, 10:30 p.m.

Jazz Band Master Classes Performances, Mt. Vernon Methodist Church, 5:30 p.m. | Members of master classes run by the saxophonist Jeff Antoniuk perform in an open concert on the steps fo the Mt. Vernon Methodist Church. Free. View event on calendar | Mt. Vernon Methodist website

Sandra Johnson, 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.” Every Friday night, the house of God becomes a hub for fish frying, communing and jamming on straight-ahead jazz. At this Friday’s show, the straight-ahead singer Sandra Johnson performs with Lyle Link on saxophone, Vince Evans on piano and vocals, Wes Biles on bass and Jeffrey Neal 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), 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 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. 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

Julian Lage & Fred Hersch, KC Jazz Club, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. | Julian Lage and Fred Hersch are of separate generations, but they stand for similar things: elegance, precision, getting the music to take you just where you’re going. Hersch was among the most influential pianists of the 1980s, embedding a Romantic sense of harmony and beauty into his almost mythic readings of jazz standards. Lage, at 25 years old, is already among the most respected guitarists in jazz; he’s given to sprawling concept albums and performances that fit his assured, masterful chops into a chamber-like group sound. He and Hersch have recently been playing in duo, making concise and delicate statements over standards and originals. They’ll appear in that format here. Two separate sets at 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. Ticket prices vary ($26-30), no minimum. View event on calendar | KC Jazz Club profile

Freddie Redd Sextet, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | In the 1950s and ’60s, pianist Freddie Redd asserted himself as one of modern jazz’s top composers, with uncanny vision and an ability to pack tart melodic confections into a pithy hard-bop tune. He wrote the score for and starred in the late-’50s musical “The Connection,” bebop’s moment of prominence on Broadway. Then he did the same for the film version that followed, and recorded his pieces from “The Connection” for a Blue Note Records release featuring Jackie McLean. But Redd is more than just a songwriter – as an accompanist, he deploys jagged chords with syncopated savvy, and his solos bend the blues to a breaking point. The 84-year-old master appears here in celebration of the release of a new CD, his first in 20 years. He’ll be performing with Brad Linde and Brian Settles on tenor saxophone, Sarah Hughes on alto and soprano saxophone, Tom Baldwin on bass and Tony Martucci on drums. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $18 cover, $10 minimum.. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Kenny Garrett, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | The alto and soprano saxophonist Kenny Garrett played for five years in Miles Davis’ band in the 1980s and ’90s. But what about his solo career, now more than 20 years in the making? It’s established him as one of present-day jazz’s untouchable eminences; he’s released almost two dozen albums, won a Grammy, and even led bands including greats such as Pharoah Sanders and Joe Henderson. His soulful sound can be tender or searing, and it’s always captivating. He performs here with a combo. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $30 cover, $2.50 surcharge, $12 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Sharón Clark Quartet, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 8 p.m. | Vocalist Sharón Clark sings with fervor and soul, plus impressive precision. She’s one of D.C.’s top jazz singers. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Mandarin Oriental website

Buck Hill, New Deal Café, 8 p.m. | The tenor saxophonist Buck Hill is a D.C. legend. Had he moved to New York City, he might would have become an international one. Hill was already making waves by the mid-1940s, and in the coming years he honed his proficient voice as a bebop soloist alongside Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and other greats who came through D.C. to perform. Hill’s uncompromising swing and rich, reedy tone found wider recognition when he recorded a series of albums in the ’50s with the famous guitarist Charlie Byrd. By the ’70s, Hill was recording albums as a leader with Buster Williams, Kenny Barron and other greats. Here he performs at the low-key New Deal Café with backing from the Not 2 Cool Jazz Band. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | New Deal website

Young Lions, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | Bohemian Caverns is an old haunt for the Young Lions. At this point, both the octogenarian club and the longstanding group are institutions. This trio formed in the 1990s, when its members were college students in D.C., and began playing weekly at the now-defunct Café Nema. Along the way, the Lions took up a late-night residency at Bohemian Caverns and found acclaim for their groove-soaked improvisations, which tugged on the chain of the jazz tradition. The band flits across a range of styles, from Afro-Caribbean to hip-hop to bebop. Its bassist, Kris Funn, is a regular sideman for superstar trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah; the drummer Quincy Phillips plays in trumpeter Roy Hargrove’s quintet; and the pianist Allyn Johnson, director of the University of the District of Columbia’s Jazz Studies program, is one of D.C.’s most revered pianists. Two separate sets at 8:30 & 10:30. $18 cover online, $22 at the door, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

Antonio Parker, HR-57, 9 p.m. | The alto saxophonist Antonio Parker’s playing is swinging and soulful, 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

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

Alfredo Mojica, Bossa Bistro, 9 p.m. | Alfredo Mojica, who sang at Bossa for years with the group Sin Miedo, unites salsa, jazz and Latin American balladry. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Bossa profile

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

SATURDAY, MAY 4

cb picks:

  • Kenny Garrett, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Freddie Redd Sextet, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Young Lions, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Elijah Jamal Balbed, HR-57, 9 p.m.
  • WKP Trio w/Herb Scott, Black Fox Lounge, 9:30 p.m.
  • Steve Synk Trio, Columbia Station, 9:30 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th Street Lounge, 10:30 p.m.

Julian Lage Master Class, Kennedy Center, 10:30 a.m. | Julian Lage, 25, is already among the most respected guitarists in jazz. He draws a fulsome, woody sound from his instrument, and moves about the guitar’s neck with all the freedom of an ambulant wanderer. Here he leads a master class. Tickets $12. View event on calendar | Kennedy Center 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

Charles Woods, Johnny’s Half Shell, 6 p.m. | Saxophonist Charles Woods plays and has recorded in both free and straight-ahead jazz styles, but for his regular gig at Johnny’s Half Shell he keeps things within the traditional bop realm. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Johnny’s Half Shell 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

District Jazz Trio, Sala Thai (Bethesda), 7 p.m. | A self-described “cool swinging jazz trio,” the District Jazz Trio is saxophonist Seth Popkin, pianist Dan Nathan and bassist Roger Rosa. The group plays jazz standards. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

Full Ascent, Sala Thai (Bethesda), 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 calendar | Sala Thai website

Freddie Redd Sextet, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | In the 1950s and ’60s, pianist Freddie Redd asserted himself as one of modern jazz’s top composers, with uncanny vision and an ability to pack tart melodic confections into a pithy hard-bop tune. He wrote the score for and starred in the late-’50s musical “The Connection,” bebop’s moment of prominence on Broadway. Then he did the same for the film version that followed, and recorded his pieces from “The Connection” for a Blue Note Records release featuring Jackie McLean. But Redd is more than just a songwriter – as an accompanist, he deploys jagged chords with syncopated savvy, and his solos bend the blues to a breaking point. The 84-year-old master appears here in celebration of the release of a new CD, his first in 20 years. He’ll be performing with Brad Linde and Brian Settles on tenor saxophone, Sarah Hughes on alto and soprano saxophone, Michael Formanek on bass and Tony Martucci on drums. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $18 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Kenny Garrett, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | The alto and soprano saxophonist Kenny Garrett played for five years in Miles Davis’ band in the 1980s and ’90s. But what about his solo career, now more than 20 years in the making? It’s established him as one of present-day jazz’s untouchable eminences; he’s released almost two dozen albums, won a Grammy, and even led bands including greats such as Pharoah Sanders and Joe Henderson. His soulful sound can be tender or searing, and it’s always captivating. He performs here with a combo. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $30 cover, $2.50 surcharge, $12 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Steven Walker Quartet, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 8 p.m. | The guitarist and singer Steven Walker boasts a broad repertoire that encompasses jazz standards and classic pop tunes. He appears here with a jazz combo. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Mandarin Oriental website

Young Lions, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | Bohemian Caverns is an old haunt for the Young Lions. At this point, both the octogenarian club and the longstanding group are institutions. This trio formed in the 1990s, when its members were college students in D.C., and began playing weekly at the now-defunct Café Nema. Along the way, the Lions took up a late-night residency at Bohemian Caverns and found acclaim for their groove-soaked improvisations, which tugged on the chain of the jazz tradition. The band flits across a range of styles, from Afro-Caribbean to hip-hop to bebop. Its bassist, Kris Funn, is a regular sideman for superstar trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah; the drummer Quincy Phillips plays in trumpeter Roy Hargrove’s quintet; and the pianist Allyn Johnson, director of the University of the District of Columbia’s Jazz Studies program, is one of D.C.’s most revered pianists. Two separate sets at 8:30 & 10:30. $18 cover online, $22 at the door, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

Cubista, Bossa Bistro, 9 p.m. | Cubista is a salsa band that plays at Bossa every Saturday. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Bossa profile

Elijah Jamal Balbed Quartet, HR-57, 9 p.m. | The young saxophonist Elijah Jamal Balbed, among D.C.’s brightest rising stars, has a hard-driving, sparely metallic sound that’s redolent of Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins. But he refracts their lessons through the Young Lions of the 1990s, and speaks in the lingua franca of present-day post-bop. $15 cover, no minimum.. View event on calendar | HR-57 profile

WKP Trio w/Herb Scott, Black Fox Lounge, 9:30 p.m. | The WKP Trio is a straight-ahead jazz ensemble consisting of Kenny Peagler on piano, Percy White on bass and Will Stephens on drums. Here, the group is joined by a young, soulful powerhouse of an alto saxophonist, Herb Scott. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Black Fox profile

Dee Stone, Black Fox Lounge, 9:30 p.m. | Dee Stone sings soul, blues, jazz and rock. The first set of every performance is usually comprised of jazz standards. No cover, 1-drink minimum View event on calendar | Black Fox profile

Steve Synk Trio, Columbia Station, 9:30 p.m. | Lyrical bassist Steve Synk, a music major at the University of Maryland, leads a young trio that explores music ranging from standards to originals, groove-based contemporary jazz to swinging bop. No cover, one-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

SUNDAY, MAY 5

 
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

TBA, Acadiana, 11 a.m. | Performer TBA. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Acadiana 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

Jazz Academy Youth Orchestra w/Bruce Barth, Bethesda Blues & Jazz Club, 3 p.m. | One of D.C.’s premier jazz educators, Paul Carr, puts his Jazz Academy Youth Orchestra on display in an afternoon concert featuring a very favorable accomplice: the star pianist Bruce Barth, who plays in Carr’s quintet. $12 cover, $15 minimum for dining-area seating. View event on calendar | Bethesda Blues & Jazz 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

Nonstop Improv, Union Arts, 4 p.m. | This show, presented by CapitalBop in association with Sonic Circuits and the Undead Music Festival, brings together a spilling handful of D.C.’s greatest improvisers for a creative experiment in spontaneous improvisation. The performers will include Brian Settles, Anthony Pirog, Janel Leppin, Brad Linde and many others. Here’s how it will work: One musician performs an unaccompanied improvisation lasting for about five minutes; another musician then joins her for another period of duo improvisation. The first musician eventually stops and the second musician continues solo for another short period. Then yet another musician joins in for another period of duo, the other musician eventually drops out, and this revolving exchange continues until all the performers have played. And this exciting creative experiment happens to be the first at a newly established, collectively run arts space called Union Arts & Manufacturing. $10 cover. View event on calendar | Union Arts website

D.C. Jazz Jam, Dahlak, 6 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 | 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

Craig Taborn Trio, Bohemian Caverns, 7 & 9 p.m. | If you’ve only been listening to him on record, it might seem frustratingly difficult to get a sense of what Craig Taborn’s all about. His first two albums were protean trio efforts, his third introduced a kaleidoscopic, electronic sound; and his next, an audacious solo piano record on ECM, captured the imagination of critics with its John Cage-like worship of silence and a powerfully sparing percussiveness. His latest record, Chants, returns him to the acoustic-trio format, and it confirms his identity as a leader of the American jazz avant-garde, where Cecil Taylor’s free jazz ethos is at home with an almost mechanical rhythmic curiosity. Taborn performs at Bohemian Caverns with the stupendous trio from that album, featuring Thomas Morgan on bass and Gerald Cleaver on drums; the show is presented as part of Transparent Productions’ “Sundays at 7 at the Caverns” series. Two separate sets at 7 & 9 p.m. $15 cover online, $20 at the door, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

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

Paul Carr Quintet, Bethesda Blues & Jazz Club, 7:30 p.m. | The local straight-ahead saxophone eminence Paul Carr recently released an excellent new CD, Standard Domain. The record features a quintet of nationally renowned musicians, the sensitive pianist Bruce Barth among them. At this gig, Carr performs mostly with local musicians, but Barth is also on the bill. $20 cover, $15 minimum for dining-area seating. View event on calendar | Bethesda Blues & Jazz website

Kenny Garrett, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | The alto and soprano saxophonist Kenny Garrett played for five years in Miles Davis’ band in the 1980s and ’90s. But what about his solo career, now more than 20 years in the making? It’s established him as one of present-day jazz’s untouchable eminences; he’s released almost two dozen albums, won a Grammy, and even led bands including greats such as Pharoah Sanders and Joe Henderson. His soulful sound can be tender or searing, and it’s always captivating. He performs here with a combo. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $30 cover, $2.50 surcharge, $12 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Bobby Muncy, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | The saxophonist Bobby Muncy writes snaky tunes influenced by 20th century classical and alternative rock, as well as jazz. He appears at Twins with a straight-ahead quartet. 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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  1. […] Weekend in Jazz | 5.3-5.5: Freddie's back, Kenny Garrett's in town, and … At this Friday's show, the straight-ahead singer Sandra Johnson performs with Lyle Link on saxophone, Vince Evans on piano and vocals, Wes Biles on bass and Jeffrey Neal on drums. $ 5 cover for …. View event on calendar | Johnny's Half Shell website … Read more on CapitalBop (blog) […]

  2. […] Lastest Aaron Gray News Posted on May 3, 2013 by jack Weekend in Jazz | 5.3-5.5: Freddie's back, Kenny Garrett's in town, and … 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 … Read more on CapitalBop (blog) […]

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