Weekend in Jazz | 7.29-7.31: Terence Blanchard plays Blues Alley, and Buck Hill goes to church

New Orleans native Terence Blanchard brings his open-minded, aggressively infectious trumpet playing to Blues Alley this weekend. Courtesy allaboutjazz.com

by Giovanni Russonello
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This Friday, D.C. saxophone legend Buck Hill leads a blowout concert at the District’s “Jazz Church,” Westminster Presbyterian. Hard-bopping trumpeter Michael Thomas is at Twins on Friday and Saturday while singer Heidi Martin pays tribute to Herbie Hancock at Bohemian Caverns. The biggest star of them all this weekend is Terence Blanchard, the irrepressibly original trumpet player famous for his partnerships with Branford Marsalis and Spike Lee – and his own post-bop explorations. He’s at Blues Alley all weekend. Find details on all of these shows in this week’s edition of “Weekend in Jazz,” our listing of every D.C. jazz show on our radar. Our favorites have a label, and as always, you can read CapitalBop’s full listings directly at our D.C. jazz calendar, if you’d rather. Happy hunting!

FRIDAY, JULY 29

cb picks:

  • Buck Hill, Westminster Presbyterian, 6 p.m.
  • Terence Blanchard, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Heidi Martin, 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.

Incdendio, Jazz in the Garden, 5 p.m. | Incendio is a guitar trio that plays in the nuevo flamenco style. Free. View event on calendar | Jazz in the Garden website

Philadelphia Jazz Orchestra, Kennedy Center Millenium Stage, 6 p.m. | View event on calendar | Millenium Stage website

Buck Hill, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6 p.m. | Not every jazz fan knows Buck Hill’s story. But those who do know it don’t soon forget. The tenor saxophonist was already making waves with his music by the mid-1940s, and in the coming years he would hone his skills as a bebop master who played alongside Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and other greats who came through his native D.C. to perform. Hill’s uncompromising swing and rich, reedy tone were originally “discovered” by the famous guitarist Charlie Byrd, with whom Hill recorded a series of albums in the 1950s. The catch? Hill did all this while keeping up a day job as a mailman, supporting his family by dedicatedly delivering envelopes for decades. Today, Hill is one of the nation’s capital’s jazz elders, with more than 10 albums to his name as a leader, and his concerts are not to be missed. Here he will be joined by a number of special guests; his core band will include Jon Ozment on piano, Cheyney Thomas on bass and Jerry Jones 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, but it’s usually a very solid lineup. 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

Md. Summer Jazz Festival, St. Mark Presbyterian, 7 p.m. | In conjunction with the Maryland Summer Jazz workshop and camp, students will perform at 7 p.m. and “all-star” faculty members will play a concert of soul-jazz repertory at 8:15. The performers, indeed some of the D.C. area’s finest, are scheduled to include trumpeter Alex Norris and bassist James King, among others. $15 cover in advance, $20 at the door, $5 for children 12 and under, no minimum. View event on calendar | St. Mark Presbyterian website

Terence Blanchard, Blues Alley, 8 & 11 p.m. | Trumpeter Terence Blanchard got his start as the replacement for childhood friend Wynton Marsalis in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers during the early 1980s. Ever since then, he’s proven his prowess as a force in the neoclassical school that Marsalis so champions, but has charted his own path. He’s employed his gliding, often elegiac tone on solo albums that range from straightforward post-bop (as on his Billie Holiday tribute record) to jazz inflected with deep West African and hip-hop infusions (as on 2005’s Flow). He is also one of the nation’s most respected jazz educators, and since the 1990s has been a sort of de facto musical director for almost all of Spike Lee’s films. A true leading light in today’s jazz world, he keeps his live performances fresh by typically employing young, forward-looking sidemen. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $37.75 cover, $10 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 Hotel website

Heidi Martin, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | The gifted D.C.-via-New York vocalist Heidi Martin is paying tribute this weekend to the great pianist and composer Herbie Hancock. Martin emits her messages complex but clear, with an essence of mourning and resilience that hints at Billie Holiday and delicate control that’s not unlike Joni Mitchell’s. She’s one of D.C.’s treasures. $10 cover in advance, $15 at the door, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

Sin Miedo, Bossa Bistro, 9 p.m. | Sin Miedo is an energetic, nine-piece Salsa band that plays highly danceable Afro-Cuban jazz, Mambo and Samba. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Bossa Bistro website

Michael Thomas, 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 have a lot in common with Lee Morgan’s. Two separate sets at 9 & 11 p.m. $15 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz 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. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | HR-57 website

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 calendar | Black Fox Lounge 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, JULY 30

cb picks:

  • Terence Blanchard, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Heidi Martin, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Michael Thomas Quintet, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m.
  • Chuchito Valdès Quintet, HR-57, 9 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy Quintet, 18th Street 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

Charles Woods Quartet, 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

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

Hot Club of DC, Sala Thai (Petworth), 7 p.m. | Featuring Ben Brooks on violin, Craig Bumgarner on guitar, Stephan on guitar and Rick Netherton on upright bass, the Hot Club of D.C. plays gypsy jazz. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

Hurricane Howie, Sala Thai (Bethesda), 7 p.m. | Howard Feinstein, or “Hurricane Howie,” performs theatrical pianistics. 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

Eric Byrd, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 8 p.m. | Vocalist and pianist Eric Byrd sings in a silky croon that’s not too far from Nat “King” Cole – but with more soul and gospel influence. He performs regularly with his trio, featuring Bhagwan Khalsa on bass and Alphonso Young Jr. on drums. Here the group appears with an as-yet unannounced special guest. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Mandarin Oriental Hotel website

Terence Blanchard, Blues Alley, 8 & 11 p.m. | Trumpeter Terence Blanchard got his start as the replacement for childhood friend Wynton Marsalis in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers during the early 1980s. Ever since then, he’s proven his prowess as a force in the neoclassical school that Marsalis so champions, but has charted his own path. He’s employed his gliding, often elegiac tone on solo albums that range from straightforward post-bop (as on his Billie Holiday tribute record) to jazz inflected with deep West African and hip-hop infusions (as on 2005’s Flow). He is also one of the nation’s most respected jazz educators, and since the 1990s has been a sort of de facto musical director for almost all of Spike Lee’s films. A true leading light in today’s jazz world, he keeps his live performances fresh by typically employing young, forward-looking sidemen. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $37.75 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Heidi Martin, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | The gifted D.C.-via-New York vocalist Heidi Martin is paying tribute this weekend to the great pianist and composer Herbie Hancock. Martin emits her messages complex but clear, with an essence of mourning and resilience that hints at Billie Holiday and delicate control that’s not unlike Joni Mitchell’s. She’s one of D.C.’s treasures. $10 cover in advance, $15 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 have a lot in common with Lee Morgan’s. Two separate sets at 9 & 11 p.m. $15 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Palanke Music Company, Bossa Bistro, 9 p.m. | Led by vocalist and guitarist Jaime Andrés Salazar, a.k.a. Gato, Palanke Music Company is tropicalia meets electro meets Samba meets Afro-Cuban jazz. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Bossa profile

Rhythminic Accent, HR-57, 9 p.m. | Led by saxophonist Brian Horton, this quartet performs straight-ahead bop. $15 cover, no minimum View event on calendar | HR-57 website

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

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 Lounge 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 calendar | Utopia 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, JULY 31

cb picks:

  • Marshall Keys, Acadiana, 11 a.m.
  • Terence Blanchard, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Sunday Jazz Lounge feat. Jessica Boykin-Settles, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m.

Marshall Keys, Acadiana, 11 a.m. | Marshall Keys’ saxophone can sing the blues or swing to the rhythms of bebop with a laid-back sense of cool; the native Washingtonian is a fluid, graceful player. He plays every Sunday brunch at Acadiana, usually with a group consisting of the city’s top jazz scene veterans: Federico Peña on piano, Tarus Mateen on bass and either Lenny Robinson or Mark Prince on drums. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Acadiana 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

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 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

DC Choro, Grill from Ipanema, 7:30 p.m.| DC Choro is a sextet that plays Brazilian music drawing on European folk traditions. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Grill from Ipanema profile

Terence Blanchard, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Trumpeter Terence Blanchard got his start as the replacement for childhood friend Wynton Marsalis in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers during the early 1980s. Ever since then, he’s proven his prowess as a force in the neoclassical school that Marsalis so champions, but has charted his own path. He’s employed his gliding, often elegiac tone on solo albums that range from straightforward post-bop (as on his Billie Holiday tribute record) to jazz inflected with deep West African and hip-hop infusions (as on 2005’s Flow). He is also one of the nation’s most respected jazz educators, and since the 1990s has been a sort of de facto musical director for almost all of Spike Lee’s films. A true leading light in today’s jazz world, he keeps his live performances fresh by typically employing young, forward-looking sidemen. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $37.75 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Sunday Jazz Lounge feat. Jessica Boykin-Settles, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | For this week’s edition of the Sunday Jazz Lounge, vocalist Jessica Boykin-Settles is featured. She might be the most respected and most influential singer in D.C., and knows the methods and meaning of jazz music as well as anyone. Her singing is on point and often ethereal, and she’s got loads of writing and arranging ability. As for the influential bit, she’s a faculty member at Howard University, where she has trained some of the city’s top rising vocal stars. Her husband, Brian Settles, is stepping in to lead the lounge for a four-week period while its regular proprietors are on tour. The singular saxophonist is joined by an all-star rhythm section: Tarus Mateen on bass and Lenny Robinson on drums. Two separate sets at 8 and 10 p.m. $5 cover, $10 minimum. 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

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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