Weekend in Jazz | 8.2-8.4: Allyn Johnson’s Sonic Sanctuary preaches at Bohemian Caverns

Allyn Johnson brings his powerhouse piano skills to Bohemian Caverns this weekend. Courtesy Timothy Forbes Photography/flickr

by Giovanni Russonello
Editorial board

Allyn Johnson, a dean of D.C. jazz piano, brings his group Sonic Sanctuary to Bohemian Caverns this weekend. It’s sure to be worth the price of entry. And the drummer and songwriter Alex Snydman is visiting D.C. from Los Angeles to play at Twins. 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, AUGUST 2

cb picks:

  • Alex Snydman, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Allyn Johnson & Sonic Sanctuary, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy Quintet, 18th St. Lounge, 10:30 p.m.

Greg Hatza, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6 p.m. | The organist Greg Hatza plays soul jazz under the influence of Jimmy Smith and Ray Charles. His combo features Peter Fraize on sax, Brian Kooken on guitar, Robert Shahid on drums and Dred Scott on vocals. $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

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

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

Alex Snydman Quartet, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | The drummer Alex Snydman composes sleek tunes that wiggle around between swing feel and a newer sense of playfulness – sashaying, punchy, slightly warped. He tends to play pert, contemporary-sounding grooves on the drums, and has just released an agreeable debut album, Fortunate Action. The Los Angeles-based drummer will celebrate the record’s release with this show at Twins, where he performs with a combo. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $16 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Angela Winbush, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | The R&B singer Angela Winbush became famous in the 1980s as part of the duo René & Angela, but now tours as a solo artist. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $43 cover, $2.50 surcharge, $12 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Allyn Johnson & Sonic Sanctuary, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | When sound falls from a singer’s mouth, it’s a glide. You don’t hear it hit the ground. But the piano’s a percussion instrument as much as a melodic one, and you can really get hit by the landing. Allyn Johnson spent years mastering his instrument in churches and jazz bands around D.C., and has divined an approach to having it both ways. When he supports a band, the horn covers the airier territory, but Johnson’s high right hand tussles soulfully with it too. He’s playing here with Sonic Sanctuary; it’s not clear who’s in that band, but in any case, you should really go. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $18 cover in advance, $22 at the door, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

Antonio Parker Quartet, 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

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

Wayne Wilentz, Ulah Bistro, 11 p.m.View event on calendar | Ulah Bistro website

SATURDAY, AUGUST 3

cb picks:

  • Jazz Brunch: Donvonte McCoy, HR-57, 11:30 a.m.
  • Alex Snydman, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Allyn Johnson & Sonic Sanctuary, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Steve Synk Trio, Columbia Station, 9:30 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy Quintet, 18th St. Lounge, 10:30 p.m.

Jazz Brunch: Donvonte McCoy, HR-57, 11:30 a.m. | HR-57, a reliable destination for strong, swinging jazz, recently added weekend brunch shows to its itinerary. The musician leading the way, Donvonte McCoy, is one of the best in the city. He plays the trumpet with focus and power and a contemporary rhythmic swagger, never overstating his case but easily drawing a soulful essence from the horn. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | HR-57 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

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

Alex Snydman, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | The drummer Alex Snydman composes sleek tunes that wiggle around between swing feel and a newer sense of playfulness – sashaying, punchy, slightly warped. He tends to play pert, contemporary-sounding grooves on the drums, and has just released an agreeable debut album, Fortunate Action. The Los Angeles-based drummer will celebrate the record’s release with this show at Twins, where he performs with a combo. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $16 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Angela Winbush, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | The drummer Alex Snydman composes sleek tunes that wiggle around between swing feel and a newer sense of playfulness – sashaying, punchy, slightly warped. He tends to play pert, contemporary-sounding grooves on the drums, and has just released an agreeable debut album, Fortunate Action. The Los Angeles-based drummer will celebrate the record’s release with this show at Twins, where he performs with a combo. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $16 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Allyn Johnson & Sonic Sanctuary, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | When sound falls from a singer’s mouth, it’s a glide. You don’t hear it hit the ground. But the piano’s a percussion instrument as much as a melodic one, and you can really get hit by the landing. Allyn Johnson spent years mastering his instrument in churches and jazz bands around D.C., and has divined an approach to having it both ways. When he supports a band, the horn covers the airier territory, but Johnson’s high right hand tussles soulfully with it too. He’s playing here with Sonic Sanctuary; it’s not clear who’s in that band, but in any case, you should really go. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $18 cover in advance, $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

EC3 Quartet, HR-57, 9 p.m. | Las Vegas-based Ernest “EC3” Coleman is a talented tipper – a straight-ahead drummer with serious chops. He spent years on the road with bass legend Al McKibbon, and nowadays leads his own groups, in addition to other sideman work. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | HR-57 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, AUGUST 4

cb picks:

  • Jazz Brunch: Donvonte McCoy, HR-57, 11:30 a.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

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

Jazz Brunch: Donvonte McCoy, HR-57, 11:30 a.m. | HR-57 – a reliable destination for strong, swinging jazz – recently added weekend brunch shows to its itinerary. The musician leading the way, Donvonte McCoy, is one of the best in the city. He plays the trumpet with focus and power and a contemporary rhythmic swagger, never overstating his case but easily drawing a soulful essence from the horn. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | HR-57 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

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

D.C. 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 | 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

Angela Winbush, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | R&B singer Angela Winbush became famous in the 1980s as part of the duo René & Angela, but now tours as a solo artist. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $43 cover, $2.50 surcharge, $12 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Dave Wilson, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | No information available. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $16 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Jeff Weintraub, Bistro Bohem, 8 p.m. | The vocalist Jeff Weintraub sings jazz standards with a personal stamp; here he’s joined by Robert Vetter on trumpet, Scott Giambusso on bass and Nick Lipkowski on guitar. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Bistro Bohem website

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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