Weekend in Jazz | 9.6-9.8: Festivals on the fringe: Marsalis & Sanchez headline suburban celebrations

Poncho Sanchez performs with James Carter this Saturday at the 23rd annual Rosslyn Jazz Festival. Courtesy discoverjazz.com

by Giovanni Russonello
Editorial board

With the weather getting better by the day, this seems like the perfect weekend for an open-air music festival. This Saturday, you’ve got two outstanding options to choose from, both of them free: the Rosslyn Jazz Festival, featuring heavy-hitters Poncho Sanchez and James Carter, and the Silver Spring Jazz Festival, headlined by Branford Marsalis. And on Sunday, CapitalBop’s D.C. Jazz Loft returns to Chez Billy, with sets from the strong, sensitive vocalist Kiyem Ade, the lyrical trumpeter Joe Herrera and the energizing pianist Michael Price. All our favorite shows have a label. Happy hunting!

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6

cb picks:

  • Nasar Abadey, Westminster Presbyterian, 6 p.m.
  • Todd Marcus Quartet, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Christian McBride’s ‘The Movement Revisited,’ Clarice Smith PAC, 8 p.m.
  • Elijah Jamal Balbed, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy Quintet, 18th St. Lounge, 10:30 p.m.

Nasar Abadey, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6 p.m. | For decades the drummer Nasar Abadey has been a notable bandleader and lodestar on the D.C. jazz scene, marching a restless swing beat through years of venue closings and closed ranks. This week he performs at one of D.C.’s most reliably enjoyable jazz havens, Westminster Presbyterian, with a band that includes Antonio Parker on saxophone, Donvonte McCoy on trumpet, James King on bass and Allyn Johnson on piano. $5 cover for adults, no cover for attendees under 16, no minimum. View event on calendar | Westminster Presbyterian Church website

Lena Seikaly, Chez Billy, 7 p.m. | For the first installment of a new, weekly series of Friday-night jazz at Chez Billy, the vocalist Lena Seikaly sings. Seikaly covers jazz standards and her own relatively straight-ahead originals with a confident and playful demeanor. Here she’s joined by a small combo. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Chez Billy 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

Todd Marcus Quartet, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | The bass clarinetist Todd Marcus recently released a standout album, Inheritance; it spotlights his inquisitive imperative as a composer and arranger, and his hard-nosed improvising on the rare instrument. Here he appears with a top-notch quartet: Harry Appelman on piano, Kris Funn on bass and Shareef Taher on drums. Two separate sets at 8 and 10 p.m. $15 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Patricia Barber, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | In Patricia Barber, you get wry oddball forthrightness, husky blues, mystery-making abstraction. The singer, composer and pianist is a Guggenheim Fellow and recorded on Blue Note for much of the 1990s and 2000s. She has bubbled just below the surface of truly widespread acclaim for three decades. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $27.50 cover, $2.50 surcharge, $12 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Christian McBride’s ‘The Movement Revisited,’ Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (UMD), 8 p.m. | As a bassist, Christian McBride’s talent is so prodigious it often feels like enough for him to lay it in front of us like a bust of granite. But he puts his studious rigor to other ends with “The Movement Revisited,” a wide-scoped musical and poetic tribute to four of the Civil Rights Movement’s critical players: Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The performance includes McBride’s big band as well as D.C.’s Heritage Signature Chorale, and special guests including Harry Belafonte. It’s part of the University of Maryland’s “Civil War to Civil Rights: A Well-Being of a Nation” symposium. Tickets $40, $10 for UMD students. View event on calendar | Clarice Smith PAC website

Elijah Jamal Balbed, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | The young tenor saxophonist Elijah Jamal Balbed – a lustrous rising star on the D.C. scene – handles his metallic, full-bore tone with conviction. He harks back to Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins, but refracts their lessons through the Young Lions of the 1990s and speaks in the lingua franca of present-day post-bop. Here he appears with a group called the East Coast Collective, featuring a handful of fellow young musicians from various Atlantic cities: Luke Brandon on trumpet, Mark Meadows on piano, Alex Claffy on bass and Corey Fonville on drums. $15 cover in advance, $20 at the door, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns 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

Todd Simon & Friends, Ulah Bistro, 11 p.m. | U Street restaurant Ulah Bistro has stepped up to fill the void that Utopia left open last year, when it closed to make way for the construction of a new condos complex. That restaurant housed the block’s most reliable, convivial jam sessions. Ulah gives a taste of that energy once a week, late on Friday nights. This week the slick and powerful pianist Todd Simon leads the jam, which typically teems with local musicians just finished with gigs. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Ulah website

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7

cb picks:

  • Todd Simon Quartet, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Lyle Link, 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.

Rosslyn Jazz Festival, 1 p.m. | This weekend the Rosslyn Jazz Festival continues its annual tradition of catholic pairings and surprisingly venturesome programming. Now in its 23rd year, the festival is welcoming one of Latin jazz’s highest-octane performers, the Grammy-winning conguero Poncho Sanchez. He will perform with an interpretation of works from John Coltrane’s 1961 album, Olé, alongside the indefatigable saxophone virtuoso James Carter. Joining him on the bill are the Soul Rebels, a New Orleans brass band that loops around to bygone styles in order to connect jazz with today; the singer Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens; and D.C.’s own Kenny Rittenhouse, a straight-ahead trumpeter with chops for miles. Free. View event on calendar | Festival 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

Silver Spring Jazz Festival, 4:30 p.m. | The saxophone titan Branford Marsalis headlines the 10th Annual Silver Spring Jazz Festival, bringing his burnished attack and rhythm-busting straight-ahead jazz approach to the nearby D.C. suburb. He’s not the only worthwhile act on the bill; Noah Haidu is a strong young pianist and composer in the post-bop tradition, and the National Philharmonic’s Songbook – a quartet comprised of orchestra members – will play some of Wayne Shorter’s timeless compositions. Audience members are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets to the outdoor event. Free. View event on calendar | Festival 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

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

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

Todd Marcus Quartet, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | The bass clarinetist Todd Marcus recently released a standout album, Inheritance; it spotlights his inquisitive imperative as a composer and arranger, and his hard-nosed improvising on the rare instrument. Here he appears with a top-notch quartet: Harry Appelman on piano, Kris Funn on bass and Shareef Taher on drums. Two separate sets at 8 and 10 p.m. $15 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Patricia Barber, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | In Patricia Barber, you get wry oddball forthrightness, husky blues, mystery-making abstraction. The singer, composer and pianist is a Guggenheim Fellow and recorded on Blue Note for much of the 1990s and 2000s. She has bubbled just below the surface of truly widespread acclaim for three decades. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $27.50 cover, $2.50 surcharge, $12 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Lyle Link, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | With a presentation that’s always spry and sometimes sultry, saxophonist and flautist Lyle Link tells you the music is about more than hearing. Listening is intuition, and sometimes it defies gravity. A soulful and sophisticated player who’s been a mainstay of D.C.’s jazz scene for over 10 years, Link leads a combo for this one-off Saturday night performance at Bohemian Caverns. Two separate sets at 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. $15 cover in advance, $20 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

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

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

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 8

cb picks:

  • Bobby Muncy, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.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

Jazz Brunch, 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

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

D.C. Jazz Loft, Chez Billy, 7 p.m. | CapitalBop’s D.C. Jazz Loft is back this month to spotlight the variety of sounds that define this moment in District life. There’ll be bands led by the Kiyem Ade, a wise, loosely composed vocalist who carries the spirit of past generations with him; the powerful trumpeter Joe Herrera, who brought the crowd to near-hysterics during his performance with Afrobeat masters the Funk Ark at last month’s New Vintage Fest and will present a more straight-ahead jazz quartet at the loft; and the rambunctious, swinging pianist Michael Price, a mainstay on the D.C. scene. $15 donation suggested, no minimum. View event on calendar | More info

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

Patricia Barber, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | In Patricia Barber, you get wry oddball forthrightness, husky blues, mystery-making abstraction. The singer, composer and pianist is a Guggenheim Fellow and recorded on Blue Note for much of the 1990s and 2000s. She has bubbled just below the surface of truly widespread acclaim for three decades. Two separate sets at 8 & 10 p.m. $27.50 cover, $2.50 surcharge, $12 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Alon Nechushtan, Twins Jazz, 8 & 10 p.m. | No description available. 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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