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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Music and News from U Street

Please click here to see the jazz calendar.

Fans of great bass players are going to hate on me — I got to meet the great Roy Hargrove Quintet bass player Ameen Saleem Saturday night. I went out to see my son's regular gig at Utopia (the Elijah Jamal Experience) and Ameen, along with Victor Provost (steel pan) and Nate Jolley (drums) sat in. They played the coolest rendition of Alone Together I've ever heard live.

The musicians on the gig were Elijah on tenor, Samir Moulay on guitar, Elliot Seppa on bass, and Dave McDonald on drums. The crowd at Utopia was incredibly young, with twenty-somethings streaming in all evening.

Samir is a regular member of Elijah's group. He's from Montgomery County but he spent some years in LA, playing for Natalie Cole for two years, and more recently, he's played, toured, and written music with Macy Gray. Samir told me he moved back here because he was dying to play more jazz, and LA's jazz scene is nothing like DC's. He sure got what he was looking for — I see Samir's name on a lot of local jazz gigs.

Drummer Dave McDonald plays with the Airmen of Note, along with DC-based sax players Tedd Baker (Cafe Nema, Friday nights) and Grant Langford, who told me he'll be playing with the Count Basie Orchestra at Blues Alley from April 21-25.

Nate Jolley said that he and his brother Noble, who play as The Jolley Brothers, recently went from playing 1 gig a week at B. Smith's upscale soul food restaurant in Union Station, to playing 4 gigs a week. That's 4 regular gigs per week.

Guitarist Pete Muldoon came out to the show, and he told me he'll soon start playing Monday nights at Utopia. He'll have more information on his lineup soon.

I got confirmation that Howard University's sax and improvisation teacher Charlie Young will be touring Russia and Eastern Europe with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. First stop, Kremlin Palace on April 9th. The trip also includes stops in Finland, Estonia, the Czech Republic, and Romania.

After Europe, the Duke Ellington Orchestra will be hitting Beijing, Shanghai, and Tokyo (5/29, 5/30, and 6/2.)

Jazz Appreciation Month in Washington, DC [UPDATED]

UPDATED with Howard University's Jazz Week events.

I sincerely apologize for the late update on Jazz Appreciation Month. I have a computer that's been threatening to die for some time, and it almost did, and ever since then it's been acting very sketchy. As in, intermittently and spontaneously shutting down for no apparent reason.

But on to better news. It's April, and DC is all about Cherry Blossoms and jazz. This is the best city in the world to be in during Jazz Appreciation Month — JAM was created by the Smithsonian Institution, based in DC, and because of that we are the beneficiaries of unbelievable jazz treats this month, and most of them are free.

There's amazing free music, like the Allyn Johnson Trio at UDC on Tuesday at 12:30, and a jam session with Jason Moran, Greg Osby and SJMO Musicians. There are films, book talks, curator tours, and even a Family Jazz Day at Fort Dupont Park on the 10th, that includes a performance by Delfeayo Marsalis.

April 26th is a big day in DC jazz — the day of the Calvin Jones Big Band Jazz Festival, featuring Howard University, Maryland University, and the University of the District of Columbia's big bands.

If you love jazz, April is a great time to be in DC. Here are many of the Jazz Appreciation Month events:

Jazz Appreciation Month Events


April 6th 12:30
JazzAlive UDC: Allyn Johnson Trio | UDC Recital Hall (Bldg 46-West) | 4200 Conn. Ave. NW Wash. DC | 202-274-5803

April 6, 7:30 - 9:30
Howard University: Jon Hendricks, Aria Hendricks & Afro Blue | Andrew Rankin Chapel, 500 Howard Place, NW, Wash DC | 202-806-7097


April 7, 6:30 - 8pm
American History Museum: Icons Among Us: Jazz in the Present Tense (documentary & discussion w/ Lars Larson, John Comerford, and Jason Moran and Greg Osby) | Carmichael Auditorium | Smithsonian Special Events tel. 202-633-3306

April 7, 8:30pm
American History Museum: Jam Session with Jason Moran, Greg Osby and SJMO Musicians | Carmichael Auditorium | Smithsonian Special Events tel. 202-633-3306


April 8, 12:45pm
Howard U: Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, the music of Freddy Hubbard. | Howard University Main Campus, Childers Hall Rm. 3001 | Prof. Fred Irby at or 202-806-7066

April 8, 6:30pm
American History Museum: Guy & Madeline On A Park Bench (film) | Carmichael Auditorium | Smithsonian Special Events tel. 202-633-3306

April 8th 7pm
JazzAlive UDC: Icons Among us: Jazz in the Present Tense, Episode 1: The Quiet Revolution Film Screening & Discussion w/ Lars Larson, Greg Osby & Bruce Williams, moderated by Reuben Jackson | UDC Recital Hall (Bldg 46-West) | 4200 Conn. Ave. NW Wash. DC | 202-274-5803


April 9, 12-2pm
American History Museum: Guitarist Workshop with Bucky Pizzarelli | Carmichael Auditorium, 1st Floor | Smithsonian Special Events tel. 202-633-3306


April 10, 1-4pm
Fort Dupont Park: Family Jazz Day /Delfeayo Marsalis (workshop, lecture, performance) | Fort Dupont Activity Center | 202-426-7723

April 10, 7:30pm
Museum of Natural History: Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, Hub-Tones The Life of Freddie Hubbard | Baird Auditorium
10th & Constitution Avenue, NW | 202-633-3030


April 11, 2pm
Anacostia Community Museum: Rhythm Cafe: Basie (Jamal Muhammad of WPFW 89.3 FM discusses Count Basie, Count Basie’s music performed by Howard University Jazz Band) | Program Room | 202-633-4866


April 12, 7pm
Arena Stage: The Music in the Musical: "The Light in the Piazza" & "Sophisticated Ladies" | Arena Stage's Crystal City Theater, 1800 South Bell St. Arl. VA | 202-488-3300


April 13 12:30pm
UDC: UDC Small Jazz Ensembles, Allyn Johnson, Director | UDC Recital Hall (Bldg 46-West) | 4200 Conn. Ave. NW Wash. DC | 202-274-5803


April 14 7pm
UDC: JAZZ Forum –Special Film Screening: "Music Inn" | UDC Recital Hall (Bldg 46-West) | 4200 Conn. Ave. NW Wash. DC | 202-274-5803


April 15, 5pm
Smithsonian: Take Five! A Tribute to the Tax Man with Sandy Asirvatham | Kogod Courtyard | Smithsonian Special Events tel. 202-633-3306

April 15, 6pm
American Art Museum & Portrait Gallery: Jazzin' It Up Tour | Meet in the F St. Lobby | Smithsonian Special Events tel. 202-633-3306

April 15, 6pm
American Art Museum & Portrait Gallery: Ethel Merman: Face-to-Face Portrait Talk | Meet at F Street Lobby | Smithsonian Special Events tel. 202-633-3306


April 18, 7:30
Katzen Arts Center: John Eaton on Jazz | 4400 Mass. Ave Wash DC |


April 20, 5pm
American Art Museum & Portrait Gallery: Panel Discussion: Future of Jazz Diplomacy | McEvoy Auditorium Lower Level (enter from G. St.) | Smithsonian Special Events tel. 202-633-3306

April 20, 7pm
American Art Museum & Portrait Gallery: The Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet | Kogod Courtyard | Smithsonian Special Events tel. 202-633-3306


April 21, 11am
Sylvan Theater, National Mall: Big Band Jam, High School Big Bands | Smithsonian Special Events tel. 202-633-3306

April 21 12pm
American Art Museum & Portrait Gallery: Curator Tour: Meet Ella Fitzgerald | Meet in G Street Lobby | Smithsonian Special Events tel. 202-633-3306

April 21, 2pm
American Indian Museum: Big Band Jam's Alfred Educational Series Panel: Jazz Composition | Room 4018, 4th Level | Smithsonian Special Events tel. 202-633-3306


April 22, 11am
Sylvan Theater, National Mall: Big Band Jam, High School Big Bands | Smithsonian Special Events tel. 202-633-3306

April 22 12pm
American Art Museum & Portrait Gallery: Curator Tour: Meet Ella Fitzgerald | Meet in G Street Lobby | Smithsonian Special Events tel. 202-633-3306

April 22, 3pm
American Indian Museum: Big Band Jam's Alfred Educational Series Panel: Jazz Composition | Room 4018, 4th Level | Smithsonian Special Events tel. 202-633-3306


April 23, 11am
Sylvan Theater, National Mall: Big Band Jam, High School Big Bands | Smithsonian Special Events tel. 202-633-3306

April 23 12pm
American History Museum: International Sweethearts of Rhythm, book talk & signing | Carmichael Auditorium, 1st Floor | Smithsonian Special Events tel. 202-633-3306

April 23 12pm
American Art Museum & Portrait Gallery: Curator Tour: Meet Ella Fitzgerald | Meet in G Street Lobby | Smithsonian Special Events tel. 202-633-3306

April 23 2pm
American Indian Museum: Big Band Jam's Ella Fitzgerald Jazz Vocal Workshop with Connaitre Miller | Room 4018, 4th Level | Smithsonian Special Events tel. 202-633-3306

April 23 6-8pm
National Building Museum: Jazz and Crafts (Music Teaching Project students perform with Michael Bowie & Thad Wilson) | 4th and F St. NW | Smithsonian Special Events tel. 202-633-3306


April 24 5pm
Sylvan Theater: Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra Ella Fitzgerald Tribute | National Mall near Independence Ave. & 15th St. | Smithsonian Special Events tel. 202-633-3306

April 24, 6-8pm
National Building Museum: Jazz and Crafts (Music Teaching Project students perform with Michael Bowie & Thad Wilson) | 4th and F St. NW | Smithsonian Special Events tel. 202-633-3306


April 25, 11:30-5pm
American Art Museum & Portrait Gallery: Happy Birthday Ella! (storybook readings, art project, jazz tour, and 3pm performance by Brade Linde Ensemble ft. Lena Seikaly | Kogod Courtyard and Education Center | Smithsonian Special Events tel. 202-633-3306

April 25, 1pm
American Art Museum & Portrait Gallery: Curator Tour: Jazz | Meet in G St. Lobby | Smithsonian Special Events tel. 202-633-3306

April 25, 6-8pm
National Building Museum: Jazz and Crafts (Music Teaching Project students perform with Michael Bowie & Thad Wilson) | 4th and F St. NW | Smithsonian Special Events tel. 202-633-3306


April 26 8pm $20 suggested donation
UDC: Calvin Jones BIG BAND Jazz Festival | University Auditorium (Bldg. 46-East) | 4200 Conn. Ave. NW Wash. DC | 202-274-5803


April 29, 6-6:30pm
American Art Museum & Portrait Gallery: Lena Horne: Face-to-Face Portrait Talk | Meet at F St. Lobby | Smithsonian Special Events tel. 202-633-3306

April 29, 7:30pm
Katzen Arts Center: One Two Three: Jerome Sabbagh Trio | 4400 Mass. Ave. Wash DC | Smithsonian Special Events tel. 202-633-3306

Jazz Week at Howard University

(Some of these events may also be listed under the Smithsonian JAM events list)

Tuesday, April 6 10:00-11:00am
Howard U: The Flutes of Howard University | Childers Recital Hall 3001,
2455 Sixth Street, NW | Prof. Fred Irby at or 202-806-7066

Tuesday, April 6 12:40pm-1:30pm
Howard U: Paul Carr's Jazz Academy of Music | Andrew Ranking Memorial Chapel, Sixth Street and Howard Place, NW | Prof. Fred Irby at or 202-806-7066

Tuesday, April 6, 7:30-9:30pm
Howard U: Jon Hendricks and Aria Hendricks / Afro Blue Concert | Andrew Ranking Memorial Chapel, Sixth Street and Howard Place, NW | ($20, $10 for students w/ ID) | Prof. Fred Irby at or 202-806-7066

Wednedsay, April 7, 12:00pm-1:30pm
Howard U: Howard University Jazz Faculty Concert | Blackburn Center Gallery (Art Gallery located on 1st floor) 2397 Sixth Street, NW | Prof. Fred Irby at or 202-806-7066

Thursday, April 8, 10:00am-11:30am
Howard U: John Mercer & Guests Lecture: Music in the Digital Age | Childers Recital Hall 3001, 2455 Sixth Street, NW | Prof. Fred Irby at or 202-806-7066

Thursday, April 8, 12:40-1:30pm
Howard U: the Smithsonian Masterworks Ensemble - The Music of Freddie Hubbard | Childers REcital Hall 3001, 2455 Sixth Street, NW | Prof. Fred Irby at or 202-806-7066

Friday April 9, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Howard U: The Navy Commodores (Big Band) | Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel, Sixth Street and Howard Place, NW | Prof. Fred Irby at or 202-806-7066

Friday April 9, 6:00pm-8:00pm
Westminster Church: The Howard University Jazz Ensemble | 400 I St., SW | Prof. Fred Irby at or 202-806-7066

Sunday April 11, 2:00-4:00pm
Anacostia Community Museum: The Howard University Jazz Ensemble, music of Count Basie, Jamal Muhammad, Lecturer | 1901 Fort Place, SE | Prof. Fred Irby at or 202-806-7066

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Elijah Balbed Named Best New DC Jazz Musician By Washington City Paper

This is my son, and I couldn't be more proud, or more grateful to Mike West and Washington City paper:
...along with Balbed’s dedication comes a sleek but hefty saxophone sound and a great ear for improvisation. It all makes him one of the most exciting players in town—with one of the brightest futures.
» Best New D.C. Jazz Musician Elijah Balbed

Friday, March 19, 2010

Howard University's Amy K. Bormet, DC Jazz Shows' first interview

Here's our interview with piano player, vocalist, and composer Amy K. Bormet, one of DC's brightest young stars.

DCJS: You've taken an amazing musical path, from Duke Ellington School for the Arts, University of Michigan, Howard University, and now Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead. Did you make a pact with Satan?

Amy: Awesome. I have been tremendously blessed with incredible teachers, from Davey Yarborough at Ellington helping me apply to and prepared me for college, to fabulous Ellen Rowe at U. of Michigan who gave me so much love and knowledge. From there, Geri Allen, who went to Howard, and Fred Irby for convincing me to go back to grad school with the enticement of a free trip to Japan and a chance to write and perform music with all of the amazing people who I can't imagine my life without now. And of course Charlie Young told me to put together my application for Betty Carter Jazz Ahead.

DCJS: Did you get to work with Geri Allen at Michigan?

Amy: Of course. I stalked her from the first time I saw her play at the Kennedy Center when I was 16. She's a powerhouse and an incredibly passionate person. Last time I saw her was backstage at the McCoy Tyner/HUJE concert at the Kennedy Center. It was a remarkable night and I have a fond memory of sitting next to her in the wings watching McCoy's solo piano on "Search for Peace".

DCJS: Who are some of the other musicians (students or teachers) who most left an impression on you?

Amy: I have always been lucky to be around people who push and inspire me. From the notorious Ben Williams at Ellington, to CV Dashiell and Karine Chapdelaine at Howard University. At Michigan I had a great "Nat King Cole" style trio with my fiancee Matt Dievendorf (guitar) and Keith Reed (bass). I lived with a hilarious and monster bass player Andrew Kratzat. I love that guy. I have stayed in touch with most of the guys I went to school with and we all support each in our diaspora of jazziness. One of my favorite teachers at Michigan was Donald Walden, a beautiful tenor player who lived in Detroit. He passed away recently, and I always laugh thinking of him showing up to my senior recital in an all red outfit and declaring he was color-coordinating with my red cocktail number. He had me play on the Detroit Jazz Festival and it was a real memorable show.

DCJS: How's Jazz Ahead going? I heard the schedule is intense. I heard you guys killed it at JoJo's Thursday night.

Amy: It is ridiculously great. I'm exhausted already, but having such a good time. Dr. Billy Taylor is showing me voicings and Curtis Fuller is talking about my comping style. What more could a girl want? All of the players are really inspiring, and I can't wait for the shows next week. I have alot of people coming!

DCJS: Did you know Mark Williams before Jazz Ahead? (I found him on Twitter, and I LOVE his playing)

Amy: I knew he was going to be there because he went to Howard and was in HUJE. Irby was so excited that 4 of his students from Howard were going to be there in the same year. Mark is in my band, and he is a energetic and dramatic musician. I am so happy to get a chance to work with him, and to be around his upbeat personality.

DCJS: What's good and bad about the DC jazz scene? What would make it better?

Amy: I love the scene here. I feel like I have a big support system and I can do whatever I want to do artistically and be appreciated. I can't wait for the new Bohemian Caverns Big Band in a month so I can hang with some of my favorite people. We are lucky to have Mike West to write about Jazz in DC, and to have all the great places like Bohemian, or Rock and Roll Hotel, to see live music in and around town.

DCJS: How did you fall in love with jazz?

Amy: My mother is a clarinet player, and loves some Benny Goodman. I started out listening to Ella, and singing along with all of the tunes. From there I started playing piano in Jazz Band, and going to camps during the summer. There were always so many more good looking boys at the jazz camps in comparison to the musical theater camps I was attending. And that can be a really influential factor when you're 14.

About Amy Bormet:

Washington D.C.'s Amy K. Bormet is an active performer and current graduate student in the Howard University Jazz Department. With the Howard University Jazz Ensemble Amy performed at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater with NEA Jazz Master McCoy Tyner and toured Japan last May.

Amy has also been selected to participate in the Kennedy Center's inaugural Mary Lou Williams Piano Workshop in May 2010.

In addition to her piano performances Amy is a prolific composer. Her compositions have been performed on the HU Jazztet and HUJE 2009 CDs. She has been commissioned to arrange her composition "Lightning" for the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and HU's Afro Blue to be premiered April 24, 2010 on the National Mall.

Amy also composes and performs on piano, accordion, and voice with Brazilian Jazz Band "Aqui oh".

Find Amy Bormet on the web:

Huge News — the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra!

The Village Vanguard, Smoke, and other New York clubs have their own house big bands, and now DC has one too.
Monday nights have been dark at Bohemian Caverns since the demise of the Thad Wilson Jazz Orchestra last fall. But that’s about to change: Omrao Brown, co-owner and booker for the venerable jazz club, and baritone saxophonist Brad Linde have just finalized plans to resurrect Big Band Mondays. This time, however, it will be starring the brand new Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra.
The big band makes its debut on April 19, during Jazz Appreciation Month. Check out the Washington City Paper story for the full scoop and the full lineup.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Apollo Theater Exhibition Coming to Smithsonian in August

The first exhibition to explore the Apollo Theater’s seminal impact on American popular culture, Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment examines the rich history and cultural significance of the legendary Harlem theater, tracing the story from its origins as a segregated burlesque hall to its starring role at the epicenter of African American entertainment and American popular culture.

Jazz at the Apollo:

Many music fans might associate the Apollo primarily with soul, R&B and funk, but Ramsey is quick to point out that a sizable segment of the theater’s heyday corresponds nicely with the period when jazz was very much a popular music. Therefore, few of the notable jazz bands and orchestras of the 30s and 40s didn’t perform there. Among the jazz artists who regularly appeared there were the orchestras of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Chick Webb and Cab Calloway, as well as artists like Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan.The shift away from jazz occurred in stages but it happened concurrent with the birth and subsequent growth of rock and roll, soul and R&B. » continue reading here

Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment will be on view at Smithsonian's National Museum of American History from April 23, 2010 until August 29, 2010

City Paper: Three DC Musicians in This Year’s Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Residency

DC should be proud:
The Kennedy Center’s prestigious Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program this year includes three D.C. jazz musicians in its ranks of 29 young artists from around the world.

Alto saxophonist John Kocur, pianist Amy Bormet, and drummer Nathan Jolley join musicians from Austria, Brazil, China, England, France, Greece, Israel, Japan, and Singapore, as well as elsewhere in the United States.
» continue reading here
Also in the program is Howard University's Christie Daschiell, and because of her longstanding ties to DC, I think we should claim her too. Christie sings with Howard U.'s Afro Blue, and she won the '08 Downbeat award for Performance in the Jazz Vocal Soloist Category.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

DC Piano Player Harold Kaufman Dies

I knew Harold Kaufman pretty well from when he played at Charlie's Georgetown, which was fairly often. He was good friends with the owners, Bob and Betty Martin — I worked for Betty. I remember him as an often happy, smiling piano player at the club — I didn't know he was also a trained lawyer, and a psychiatrist and college professor.
Harold Kaufman, who was trained as a lawyer, then became a psychiatrist and college professor while moonlighting as a jazz musician and nightclub owner, died March 10 of heart disease at his home in Washington. He was 77.
On the club he owned, Harold's Rogue & Jar:
As he followed his restless mind from one field to another, the enduring constant in Dr. Kaufman's life was always his love of music. He was an accomplished jazz pianist who, during the 1970s, owned Harold's Rogue & Jar Club, which became an intimate gathering spot for the city's jazz lovers in the 1970s.

Throughout the week, such internationally prominent musicians as Tommy Flanagan, Roy Haynes, Lee Konitz and Zoot Sims appeared at the Dupont Circle club, which also featured top local talent, including saxophonists Andrew White, Buck Hill and Marshall Keys. On Sunday nights, Dr. Kaufman took over the bandstand, leading his own group.

"He was a real force on the jazz scene in the '70s," said Tommy Cecil, who sometimes played bass with Dr. Kaufman. "It was a real haven for jazz musicians."

After hours, Dr. Kaufman sometimes brought musicians back to his Georgetown home for jam sessions that lasted until dawn.
And the "great characters" Tommy Cecil talked about, who hung around Harold's Rogue & Jar, are the same characters who moved over to Charlie's Georgetown when Harold's closed.
"There was always a circle of great characters as part of that club," recalled Cecil, who played bass with Dr. Kaufman the night the club closed in 1979. "You don't see that kind of environment anymore."

» Full story here

Monday, March 15, 2010

DC Jazz Shows on NPR's A Blog Supreme

Amazing. Thank you, Patrick Jarenwattananon.
From the jazz blogosphere to the jazz micro-blogosphere -- or perhaps the other way around. Enter Twitter Jazz Network, a group blog run by folks who are frequently talking about jazz on Twitter. It's the brainchild of @MaryamLovesJazz (personal Web site); she's also behind the calendar at DC Jazz Shows (also at @DCJazzShows), one of which I think every city needs.
Full story here: » Listen Up, You Twits: The Twitter Jazz Network

Friday, March 12, 2010

Robert Glasper at Bohemian Caverns

From Washington City Paper's Jazz Setlist:
Let’s not mince words: Robert Glasper is likely the best piano player of his generation. He grapples with chord changes the way a rodeo cowboy handles a bucking bronco, firmly riding them all the way to hell if that’s what it takes. He’s also among the hippest—Glasper is a hip-hop dynamo, playing keyboards behind Bilal, Mos Def, ?uestlove, and Q-Tip among others. » continue reading here
Robert Glasper appears at Bohemian Caverns Friday and Saturday night (3/12-13), at 8:30 & 10:30.

Bohemian Caverns is located on U Street in DC, at 2001 11th St. Phone number is 202-299-0800.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tonight! Regina Carter with New Music "Reverse Thread"

Regina Carter's new CD (5/18 release) is music like you've never heard before. A blend of African folk music and jazz, Regina created the antidote to over-wrought, over-the-top world music. This is jazz at its best — travelling the world, reaching out, embracing, and incorporating its roots.

Tonight at 8pm, BlackRock Center for the Arts

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

BlackRock Center, Montpelier, and Vicino's added to calendar

BlackRock Center for the Arts, Germantown: Regina Carter, Paquito D'Rivera, Aaron Parks

Montpelier Arts Center, Laurel: Ethel Ennis, James King, Ron Holloway (and more)

Vicino's Ristorante, Silver Spring: Chuck Redd, Jolley Brothers, Buck Hill (and more)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Jazz Times: Free Jazz Film Series at Library of Congress Coming in April

Larry Appelbaum presents Jazz in the Spring Film Series on Monday nights in April

By Lee Mergner

During successive Monday nights in April, longtime JT contributor Larry Appelbaum will be presenting another great film series at the Library of Congress, where he works as Senior Music Reference Specialist in the Music Division. The Jazz in the Spring Film Series includes four jazz-themed films: My Name is Albert Ayler; Deconstructing Dad: The Music, Machines and Mystery of Raymond Scott; Round Midnight; Han Bennink: Hazentlid. » continue reading here

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Album Spotlight: Regina Carter, Reverse Thread

Friend of DC Jazz Shows Atane Ofiaja agreed to write a review for Regina Carter's new CD, to be released on May 18th. Check it out.
I'm always on the lookout for excellent music, so I was ecstatic when my friend Maryam gave me the opportunity to review Regina Carter’s upcoming album, Reverse Thread.

Regina is a world-renowned jazz violinist. Her playing has been described as 'superlative', and that's an understatement. If you are not familiar with her work, you can check her out in the video below. It's a small sample of her dexterity with the violin. » continue reading here

Regina Carter will be appearing at Black Rock Center for the Arts on March 11th at 8pm.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

DC's Connaitre Miller, Director of Howard University's "Afro Blue"

I don't believe they make better vocal ensemble directors than Connaitre Miller:
Connaitre Miller is currently Associate Professor of Music and Coordinator of Jazz Vocal Studies at Howard University in Washington, DC where she directs the award winning vocal jazz ensemble "Afro Blue," teaches vocal jazz improvisation, vocal jazz arranging, and gives individual voice lessons.

Great listing of DC-area jazz shows:
"Introduced in June, 2008, connects people to the heart of the thriving arts and culture community in the Greater Washington, DC region including the District of Columbia; Montgomery, Prince George's, Arlington and Fairfax Counties; and the City of Alexandria."
and also
" is produced by the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington, a nonprofit organization dedicated to sustaining and increasing appreciation, support and resources for arts and culture throughout the region."

Friday, February 26, 2010

Note to DC Area Jazz Musicians, Venues, Patrons

I want to share with you a little bit about why I started this blog and Twitter account. What I'm hoping for, is to bring more attention to an incredible treasure that few cities in the world have — a historic, thriving, intensely creative, often-young, and very much alive jazz scene. Even New York cats talk about DC.

And there are plenty of DC cats who are essentially also New York cats, because they go there often to play. The DC-NY nexus can create a lot of opportunities for motivated musicians, like Eric Wheeler, Brian Settles, Joe Herrera, and many others.

I'm not convinced that in New York, you'll necessarily hear better music than in DC. There aren't many jazz bands in America that I like more than Young Lions (particularly when Allyn Johnson is playing.) There aren't a lot of piano players, living or dead, who I like more than Allyn Johnson, and also Harry Appelman (Afro-Bop Alliance & Duende.)

I can't even attempt to be comprehensive with my Jazz Calendar. Too much going on. But even with the events & venues I do have listed, you can see that on any given week there's a lot of jazz going on in DC.

It's great that we have a lot of big names come through. But the real heat, and the real energy in the DC jazz scene is among the locals, the musicians who are based in the DC area, or have roots here.

There are strong, years-long relationships — teachers and students, musicians who went to school together, and people who've played together. Much of the musical energy in DC centers around a number of institutions and key educators — like Howard University's Charlie Young, Duke Ellington's Davey Yarborough, Paul Carr and Jazz Academy.

There are strong musical families in DC, like drummer Nasar Abadey and his son Kush, who plays with Wallace Roney.

There's jazz twins Nate and Noble Jolley, whose father Noble Jolley Sr. was a jazz guitarist, composer, educator, and director of the jazz band at Duke Ellington School for the Arts in the 1980s. His daughter Rashida Jolley is a vocalist and harpist, currently on tour with Lady GaGa.

Through their constant gigging Nate and Noble Jolley add a lot of positive, creative energy to the local jazz scene, and a very young energy. The synergy that's developed between bassist Eric Wheeler and drummer Nate Jolley, is a beautiful thing. Not many cities have that available several nights a week, and often with no cover charge.

Another DC musical family is the Carter family — father saxophonist Russell Carter Sr., drummer Russell Carter, bassist Rahsaan Carter, and piano player Roland Carter.

All of these musical relationships in DC, and all of these teachers and musical families, add to a sense of community here. I believe you can hear relationships in jazz. And in DC jazz, you can hear community.

What we have here is special. I think we should promote it more.

Nate Jolley, Christie Dashiell, and Amy Bormet Accepted Into Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead!

Congratulations to these exceptional young talents for making into Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead residency program for jazz musician-composers ages 30 and under.

  • Nate Jolley, drums

  • Amy Bormet, piano & vocals

  • Christie Dashiell, vocals

The list of names of serious cats who've come through this program is astounding — Cyrus Chestnut, Jason Moran, Jacky Terrasson, Nate Smith are just a few.

Here's Christie Dashiell, performing with Howard University's Afro Blue:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Regina Carter's "Reverse Thread" tour coming to Black Rock Center for the Arts

Regina Carter's Reverse Thread tour includes a performance at Black Rock Center for the Arts on March 11th (8pm). This was sent to me by Regina's team, from her publicist Pamela Lipshitz.

When preeminent violinist Regina Carter made the decision to record an album primarily of African folk tunes, she created a great challenge for herself: how do you take beautiful traditional music and infuse it with a contemporary feel while remaining true to its past — and then, not compromise its beauty? Her newest release, Reverse Thread, due out on E1 Entertainment on May 18th brilliantly responds to the challenge.

To achieve the uplifting and stirring result, Regina added an accordion and kora—the West African harp traditionally played by village storytellers—to her longstanding rhythm section. Kora virtuoso Yacouba Sissoko was brought on board to help recreate the spirit of passing stories from generation to generation. The result—unlike anything previously heard—is a haunting and beautiful compliment to Regina’s sumptuously seductive violin.

Without the support of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation, which "awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals," Reverse Thread might never have been realized. As a MacArthur Fellow — a recipient of what is commonly known as the "genius grant" — Carter was armed with the funds and the freedom to follow her muse.

Regina turned to the World Music Institute in New York City, in which she found a diverse and inspirational resource for material, including ethnographic field recordings.

Regina looked not just to the music, but also the accompanying sounds and nuances of everyday life from anthropological and sociological perspectives which informed the spirit of the new arrangements.

"There is an immense amount of amazing music coming from all around the world, much of which is barely accessible," emphasized Regina. "Reverse Thread gave me the opportunity to explore and celebrate a tiny portion of music that moved me."
Both "Hiwumbe Awumba" and "Mwana Talitambula" are based on field recordings from the Ugandan Jews, a community in eastern Uganda who although are not genetically or historically Jewish, practice the Jewish religion. Setting the inspirational tone for the album, the first track "Hiwumbe Awumba" originates from a field recording of a group singing, "God creates and then He destroys." Although the title is dark, the uplifting quality and spirit of the voice on the recording inspired Regina, and the final arrangement is a paean to the resiliency of the human spirit.

Using the field recording of a woman singing "Mwana Talitambula" as a departure point,

Regina's bass player Chris Lightcap split the melody between the violin and bass with a hypnotically emotive result.

Reverse Thread also embraces music of the African Diaspora. As but one example, "Un Aguinaldo" skillfully layers the rhythmic aspects of African music with harmonies originating in India and Puerto Rico.

Through her albums, incessant touring and various guest appearances and collaborations, Regina has developed into a distinctly diverse musical personality. She has repeatedly toured throughout the world, was the first jazz artist and African American to play Niccolo Paganini's famed Guarneri "Cannon" violin, has been featured with several symphony orchestras and performed with artists as diverse as Aretha Franklin, Lauryn Hill, Billy Joel, Kenny Barron and Mary J. Blige.

With Reverse Thread, Regina takes a giant step forward by making a meaningful musical contribution on her own terms.


Regina Carter / Violin

Yacouba Sissoko / Kora

Adam Rogers / Guitar

Will Holshouser & Gary Versace / Accordion

Chris Lightcap & Mamadou Ba / Bass

Alvester Garnett / Drums & percussion


March 6 Johnstown, PA Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center

March 11 Germantown, MD Black Rock Center for the Arts

March 12 South Boston, VA The Prizery

March 15 Minneapolis, MN Northrop Memorial Auditorium

March 23-28 New York, NY Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola

May 28 San Francisco, CA Herbst Theatre

June 11 & 12 Virginia Beach, VA Sandler Center for the Performing Arts

July 24 Rockport, MA Shalin Liu Performance Center

October 20 New York, NY Zankel Hall

Jazz at the Madison

It's not really clear if this is a new thing at the historic Madison Hotel on 15th Street downtown (right across from the Washington Post building), but they've posted a schedule for monthly jazz shows (beginning February 25th) in their Palette Restaurant. The schedule includes saxophonist Brooks Tegler, guitarist Ken Hatfield, and DC's favorite vibraphonist Chuck Redd. Shows start at 7pm and the cover is $20.

Click Agenda tab to view calendar as a list:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The push for pocket-park to be named after Duke Ellington

From The GW Hatchet:
Community members are putting their support behind a movement to re-name a triangle-shaped park located in the West End after jazz legend Duke Ellington.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2A passed a resolution Feb. 17 in support of giving the now-unnamed park on New Hampshire Avenue, M and 21st streets an official name: Duke Ellington Park.

Triangle Park, as it has been informally labeled, is located just a stone's throw away from the jazz legend's birthplace, 2129 Ward Place.

» Continue reading here

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What's Good in the Hood - Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival & Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour, Get Press

The Gazette shows some love to Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival:

With two stages and other spaces located throughout the hotel, participants will be able to listen to music, take master classes, watch screenings of jazz documentaries and even shop. Naturally it is the live music jazz lovers are here to see. Artists Mulgrew Miller, Bobby Watson, Marc Cary and Lewis Nash are among the performers, and The Eric Byrd Trio will pay tribute to Ray Charles.

MAJF kicks off this Friday 2/19.

The Harvard Crimson reviews the Berklee appearance of Monterey Jazz Festival On Tour:

The show, which featured Kenny Barron on piano, Regina Carter on violin, Kurt Elling on vocals, Russell Malone on guitar, Kiyoshi Kitagawa on bass, and Johnathan Blake on drums, featured a beautiful display of some of the best mainstream jazz musicianship on today’s scene.

The Monterey Jazz Festival On Tour performance is Friday 2/19 at Strathmore.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What's Good in the Hood - The 1st Annual Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival!

2/16 UPDATE: A performance this evening that I did not have on the calendar:

Bossa Bistro: District 6 | Matt Rippetoe | Joe Herrera | Anthony Pirog | Jon Ozment | Zack Pride | Larry Fergusen | 2463 18th Street|202-667-0088

Starting Friday 2/19, saxophonist and jazz educator Paul Carr, who created and leads the amazing Jazz Academy, will work his magic once again, this time on the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival. Some of the performers at MAJF:

Paul Carr
Mulgrew Miller
Terell Stafford
Lewis Nash
Marc Cary
Maurice Lyles
George V. Johnson
Janine Carter
Bonnie Harris
Felicia Carter
Bobby Watson

Click here for full schedule of performances,

Monday, February 15, 2010

What's Good in the Hood - MAJF and a big week in DC jazz!

It's weeks like this that makes jazz fans in other cities wish they lived in DC.

Monday 2/15:
Blues Alley: Brad Linde Ensemble CD Release Party (Sax) | 1069 Wisc. Ave. | 202-337-4141

Tuesday 2/16:
Clarice Smith Cntr: (FREE) Take Five: Afro Bop Alliance | Univ. of Maryland, College Park | 301-405-ARTS

Friday 2/19 - Sunday 2/21:
Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival (Paul Carr, Mulgrew Miller, Terell Stafford, Lewis Nash & more) | 1750 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD | 301-871-0858

Friday 2/19:
Strathmore: Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour: The Kenny Barron Trio, Regina Carter, Kurt Elling, Russell Malone, Kiyoshi Kitagawa, Johnathan Blake | 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD | 301-581-5100

Sunday 2/21:
Clarice Smith Cntr: Joshua Redman Trio, Reuben Rogers (bass), Gregory Hutchinson (drums) | Univ. of Maryland, College Park | 301-405-ARTS

Saturday, February 13, 2010

What's Good in the Hood - New Jazz Blog

A new blog focused on the great Tweeps promoting jazz on Twitter, Twitter Jazz Network at

Friday, February 12, 2010

What's Good in the Hood - It's On Like Popcorn!

The snow is thawing and the jazz is on tonight. From the DC Jazz Shows' Twitter feed:

ElijahJamalJazz (Elijah Jamal Balbed)

Lookin forward to this hit with Junebug at HR-57 tonight! The blizzard depression is over. #Jazz #DC

HR57 1610 14th St. | 202-667-3700

paulpieper (Paul Pieper)

I'll be at Cafe Nema tonight from 8:30-12:30. Tedd Baker-Tenor, Paul Pieper-Guitar, Tommy Cecil-Bass, John Lamkin-Drums.

Cafe Nema 1211 U St. | 202-667-8880

mobettabass (Kevin Pace)

We're all back at the POV tonight. See you at 10pm!

Herrerajazz (Joe Herrera)

POV Lounge tonight 10-2am. Kevin Pace, Webb Grant, Gene D'Andrea and myself.

POV 515 15th St. | 202-661-2400

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What's Good in the Hood - AfroBop Alliance

UPDATE 4: AfroBop Alliance's amazing piano player, Harry Appelman, has been added to Jimmy "Junebug" Jackson Quartet's lineup for their performance at HR57 this Friday, 2/12.

UPDATE 3: HR57 will be closed through Thursday. They plan to reopen Friday but ask that customers continue checking their web site for further updates.

UPDATE 2 VIA TWITTER: A great map of 14th & U, and Columbia Heights restaurant openings and closings (via @DCBrit)

UPDATE VIA TWITTER: The Kennedy Center will close at 3 p.m. today. All performances for Wed., Feb. 10 are cancelled.

Please call venues to find out status of performances — phone numbers for venues are provided on our calendar along with all show listings.

Check out this video of DC's 2008 Grammy winners AfroBop Alliance, and see them live at a free performance at Clarice Smith Center on 2/16.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What's Good in the Hood - Snow or Shows?

With 10-20 more inches of snow in the forecast, please check with venues to find out if performances will go on as scheduled.

Here are some of the shows on the DC Jazz Shows Calendar:
2/9 Blues Alley - Baltimore native jazz trumpeter Tom Williams CANCELLED
2/10 Wolf Trap - The Bad Plus The Bad Plus performance has rescheduled for Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 8 pm
2/12 Westminster - Thad Wilson Big Band
2/11-14 Twins Jazz (11-14th) Felicia Carter
Bohemian Caverns - 2/12 Akua (vocals)| 2/13 Matvei Sigalov (violin) | 2/14 Heidi Martin (vocals)
2/16 Clarice Smith Center - AfroBop Alliance, FREE performance

Sunday, February 7, 2010

What's Good in the Hood - Azar Lawrence and The Legacy of Billie Holiday

Monday 2.8.10

[This event has been rescheduled for 2/22] Visit the Mansion at Strathmore for a multi-media lecture by Howard University's Jessica Boykin-Settles, The Legacy of Billie Holiday, 11:00am - 12:30.

Tenor Saxophonist Azar Lawrence, who played with Miles in the '70s, will perform at Blues Alley. From AllAboutJazz: "Lawrence's two-saxophone group presents a more heated approach on Legacy and Music of John Coltrane, his hard-edged sound,  honed through early experience with former Coltrane pianist McCoy Tyner, exuding wisdom." Marc Medwin, AllAboutJazz, September 2009

Thursday, February 4, 2010

What's Good in the Hood

The Lena Seikaly performance at Kennedy Center tonight has been cancelled

 Don't miss Lena Seikaly's free performance at the Kennedy Center tonight, at 6pm on the Millenium Stage.
Watch a video of Lena's debut performance at The Kennedy Center.

Friday, January 22, 2010

New Format

Find concert and show updates in our Twitter feed (here on the blog or at, and general news and information about DC jazz music, musicians, and festivals in our blog posts.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thursday 1/21/10 (UPDATED)

Cafe Nema - The Young Lions

JoJo's - Lenny Robinson

Twins Jazz - The Full Consensus

Sala Thai (U Street) - Renee Tannenbaum with Night and Day Music

Utopia - Wayne Wilentz Trio

(See links to clubs right side of page)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cedar Walton and Ron Carter in DC!

This just in — Cedar Walton will perform at Bohemian Caverns in March, and Ron Carter in April.

Tonight on U Street - 1/20/10

Elijah Jamal Experience at Cafe Nema, 8pm
Follow Elijah Jamal on Twitter:

Rodney Richardson at Utopia, 9pm
Follow Rodney on Twitter:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wed. 1/20/10 Elijah Jamal Experience at Cafe Nema

Tenor saxophone player and bandleader Elijah Jamal Balbed will be performing tonight at Cafe Nema with Eric Wheeler on bass and Nate Jolley on drums.

Elijah Jamal's web site:
Elijah Jamal Jazz

Follow Elijah Jamal on Twitter:

Marc Cary at the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival

The Marc Cary group, Saturday February 20th @ the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival, Rockville, MD.

The Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival:
MAJF on Facebook

Festival web site:

The John Lee Experience at Bossa

John Lee Experience @ Bossa tonight with Gary Grainger. Bossa Bistro is at 2463 18th Street.

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