Weekend in Jazz | 9.2-9.5: Labors of love this holiday weekend

Billy Williams, a 24-year-old powerhouse on the drums, leads a quartet this weekend at Bohemian Caverns. Courtesy bwdrumz.com

by Giovanni Russonello
Editor-in-chief

This weekend, we find ourselves confronted with a holiday dedicated to a diminished demographic: the labor force. In a time when workers and those who fight for them are increasingly oppressed, Labor Day is liable to stir up some bittersweet feelings. And in the jazz world especially, the work of a musician has never been easy. Still, the practitioners press on, veterans hanging tough while new musicians continue to join the ranks, staking out their own roles in this labor of love. In the city that, lest we forget, still houses our Department of Labor, the jazz scene will shine its spotlight this weekend on musicians both young and old. From the thrilling, youthful Torch Carriers at Westminster Presbyterian on Friday night to the storied Delta legend Mose Allison at Blues Alley all weekend long, there’s no shortage of options. You can find details on everything in this week’s edition of “Weekend in Jazz,” our listing of every D.C. jazz show on our radar. (This time, we’ve expanded it to include the shows on Labor Day, which are admittedly scant.) 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, September 2

cb picks:

  • The Torch Carriers, Westminster Presbyterian, 6 p.m.
  • Mose Allison, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Billy Williams, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th Street Lounge, 10:30 p.m.

Bruno Nasta, Jazz in the Garden, 5 p.m. | Violinist Bruno Nasta plays gypsy jazz. Free. View event on calendar | Jazz in the Garden website

The Torch Carriers, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6 p.m. | Westminster Presbyterian Church’s weekly “Jazz Night” is one of Washington’s greatest traditions, and it’s dedicated to honoring the history behind one of America’s greatest. Swinging, soulful bebop is the standard fare at Westminster, and it’s usually executed by seasoned professionals. But this week, an array of top young D.C. area musicians will be picking up the mantle, and it’s worth giving them a listen. Mostly students or recent graduates from the Howard University Jazz Studies program, this week’s band is billed as “The Torch Carriers:” vocalist Integriti Reeves, saxophonist Elijah Jamal Balbed, trumpeter Donvonte McCoy, pianist Todd Simon, bassist Eliot Seppa and drummer Sam Prather. $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

Yamomanem Jazz Band, 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

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

Mose Allison, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | This famous Mississippi Delta native sings and plays jazz piano, integrating the murky feel of the Delta blues and the sass of early rock ‘n’ roll into what might at first blush seem like a jazz trio. Over a more than 50-year career, he has recorded albums for Atlantic, Columbia, Elektra and Blue Note Records, among others. His run at Blues Alley spans the whole weekend, from Thursday through Sunday. Two separate sets at 8 and 10 p.m. $25 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Sara Jones Quartet, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 8 p.m. | Vocalist Sara Jones sings jazz standards sweetly; her band here includes Chris Grasso on piano, Zack Pride on bass and Todd Harrison on drums. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Mandarin Oriental Hotel website

Billy Williams, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | Billy Williams is a 24-year-old drummer whose sprightly, ahead-of-the-beat touch is packed with youthful exuberance. He’s leant his fresh dexterity to performances by Cyrus Chestnut, Larry Willis (with whom he toured Europe) and Gary Thomas. This weekend, Williams leads his own quartet. Two separate sets at 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. $15 cover, 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

[Artist TBA], HR-57, 9 p.m. | No details available. $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

Katy Roberts, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m. | Katy Roberts, a pianist who attacks with a lively and effervescent punch, pens sprawling post-bop compositions that swing and glide. Here she performs with a quintet featuring Tom Williams on trumpet; Salim Washington on tenor saxophone, flute and oboe; James King on bass; and Joe Link on drums. Two separate sets at 8 and 10 p.m. $15 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz 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, september 3

cb picks:

  • Mose Allison, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Billy Williams, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy Quintet, 18th Street Lounge 10:30 p.m.
  • Elijah Jamal Balbed, 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 calendarB. Smith’s website

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 calendarSala Thai website

Full Ascent, Sala Thai (Petworth), 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

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

Steve Washington Quartet, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 8 p.m. | Steve Washington sings standards with the controlled grace of so many 1950s soul and jazz singers. He’s joined by Wayne Wilentz on piano, Jeff Reed on bass and Jeff Neal on drums. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Mandarin Oriental Hotel website

Mose Allison, Blues Alley, 8 & 11 p.m. | This famous Mississippi Delta native sings and plays jazz piano, integrating the murky feel of the Delta blues and the sass of early rock ‘n’ roll into what might at first blush seem like a jazz trio. Over a more than 50-year career, he has recorded albums for Atlantic, Columbia, Elektra and Blue Note Records, among others. His run at Blues Alley spans the whole weekend, from Thursday through Sunday. Two separate sets at 8 and 10 p.m. $25 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar| Blues Alley profile

Billy Williams, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | Billy Williams is a 24-year-old drummer whose sprightly, ahead-of-the-beat touch is packed with youthful exuberance. He’s leant his fresh dexterity to performances by Cyrus Chestnut, Larry Willis (with whom he toured Europe) and Gary Thomas. This weekend, Williams leads his own quartet. Two separate sets at 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

Katy Roberts, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m. |and effervescent punch, pens sprawling post-bop compositions that swing and glide. Here she performs with a quintet featuring Tom Williams on trumpet; Salim Washington on tenor saxophone, flute and oboe; James King on bass; and Joe Link on drums. Two separate sets at 8 and 10 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

[Artist TBD], HR-57, 9 p.m. | No details available. $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

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, September 4

cb picks:

  • Marshall Keys, Acadiana, 11 a.m.
  • Jolley Brothers, B. Smith’s, 12 p.m.
  • Mose Allison, Blues Alley, 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

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

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

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

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

Luísa Maita, Bohemian Caverns, 7 & 9 p.m. | Luisa Maita, a young Brazilian singer, is making a name for herself on the international stage after receiving positive attention from NPR and other U.S. news sources. Fans of Seu Jorge’s updated take on samba and traditional Brazilian pop will be intrigued by this São Paulo native’s wispy voice and rhythmic music. Separate shows at 8 & 10 p.m. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

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

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

Mose Allison, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | This famous Mississippi Delta native sings and plays jazz piano, integrating the murky feel of the Delta blues and the sass of early rock ‘n’ roll into what might at first blush seem like a jazz trio. Over a more than 50-year career, he has recorded albums for Atlantic, Columbia, Elektra and Blue Note Records, among others. His run at Blues Alley spans the whole weekend, from Thursday through Sunday. Two separate sets at 8 and 10 p.m. $25 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Kelley Jordan, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | Kelley Jordan is an electric guitarist who toes the line between smooth jazz and straight-ahead. Here he’s joined by James “Tony” Lunsford on electric bass and Kenneth Trusty on drums. Two separate sets at 8 and 10 p.m. $15 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

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

Monday, SEPTEMBER 5

cb pick:

  • Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, Bohemian Caverns, 8 p.m.

Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, Bohemian Caverns, 8 p.m. | The Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra is one of the District’s most exciting acts. This 17-piece swing big band commands the caves with a repertoire ranging from Count Basie to Coltrane to originals by the band members. Some truly excellent soloists, too, strengthen the big band’s already-nimble arrangements. The weekly engagement at the Caverns is one of D.C.’s little-known must-sees. $7 cover, no minimum. View event on calendarBohemian Caverns profile

Jazz Jam, MapleWood Grille, 8 p.m. | Drummer Karl Anthony hosts an open jam session at this Vienna, Va. restaurant. No cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | MapleWood Grille website

David Lighton, Black Fox Lounge, 8 p.m. | Guitarist David Lighton leads a small group in straight-ahead renditions of jazz standards. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Black Fox Lounge profile

 


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