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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.)

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