JazzAvenues June/July 2015 BLOG

Jazz Avenues June/July 2015 BLOG

By Steve Monroe

… follow @jazzavenues



Tim Whalen plays at a CD release party

June 27 at Wesley Church in D.C. and

July 8 and 10 at Copper Canyon Grill in

Glenarden/Lanham, Md.


Wilson, Reeves, Meadows tip off weekend;
Keys, Greater U Street, Nomadic Jazz on way

Virtuoso trumpeter and bandleader Thad Wilson helps kick off the weekend in the D.C. area with pianist Justin Kauflin in a show honoring Clark Terry, rising vocalist Integriti Reeves plays Bohemian Caverns and multi-genre pianist Mark Meadows entertains at Twins Jazz.
Wilson, in a show titled “Tribute to Clark Terry,” the legendary jazz master who recently passed, and Kauflin, will perform with Steve Novosel, bass and Lenny Robinson, drums Friday June 26 at 6 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Southwest D.C. The next day, June 27, Kauflin helps lead the Thinking About Jazz program at Westminster, “Clark Terry: Keep on Keepin’ On,” featuring lunch and a discussion of Terry’s 70 years and 900 recordings.



Integriti Reeves performs

June 26-27 at Bohemian Caverns


Reeves performs at the Caverns Friday and Saturday and Meadows is at Twins Jazz Friday and Saturday.
Over in Baltimore, vibraphonist and Jazz Journalists Association 2015 award winner Warren Wolf performs at An Die Musik Friday and Saturday. Pianist Tim Whalen celebrates his recent recording, “Oblivion: the Music of Bud Powell” with a CD release party at Wesley United Methodist Church Saturday June 27 and also appears July 8 and July 10 at Copper Canyon Grill in Glenarden/Lanham, Md. (www.timothywhalen.com).
Sunday June 28 the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra presents the music of composer/arranger Miho Hazama for two shows at An Die Musik (www.andiemusiklive.com). Christie Dashiell appears at the Caverns Tuesday June 30. The Kenny Rittenhouse Quintet, featuring vocalist Darden Purcell is at Blues Alley July 1.


Golden-toned sax man Marshall Keys

plays at Westminster July 3.
Coming up next week at Westminster, sax man Marshall Keys and organist Benjie Porecki lead a group Friday July 3 for “McGriff Days at Mr. Y’s,” remembering that former Northeast D.C. jazz hot spot, with Samir Moulay, guitar, Mark Prince, drums and Dick Smith & Friends on vocals. The Elijah Cole Trio plays Vicino’s in Silver Spring July 6.
The Greater U Street Jazz Collective takes over as artist in residence at the Caverns for Tuesdays in July, beginning July 7. Other shows to catch in early July include the Shannon Gunn Quartet in the Jazz at Jackson Place show at the Decatur House at Lafayette Square, 748 Jackson Place N.W. in D.C. (www.pianojazz.com); the Lake Arbor Jazz Festival, featuring Phaze II, at the Lake Arbor Community Center in Mitchellville, Md. July 9-11, including a cruise, scholarship dinner and all-day concert (www.lakearborjazz.com); and Sharon Clark July 10 at Westminster.

Sharón Clark Montage 1

Songstress Sharon Clark performs at

Westminster July 10.
Later in July Jeff Antoniuk performs with the Tony Martucci Band at Twins Jazz July 17-18, Nasar Abadey & Super Nova are at Blues Alley July 29 and the Roy Haynes Fountain of Youth Band is at the Alley July 31-August 1.


Balbed CD Party slated for Nomadic Jazz show

Debbie Hodnett is at it again producing a headliner jazz concert. On July 11, Hodnett’s Nomadic Jazz features sax man Elijah Jamal Balbed in a CD release party for his “Lessons From The Streets” at 7 p.m. at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union Street, Alexandria, Va. Tickets are $20 online, $22 at the door.
Balbed, one of the rising lions of the tenor sax, has participated in residencies at the Kennedy Center (Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead), Strathmore, and Bohemian Caverns, and has become an in-demand performer at venues locally and beyond. Balbed blew hot riffs for Nomadic Jazz at its inaugural show in May at the Durant Arts Center in Alexandria, playing with Inner Urge.



Elijah Jamal Balbed plays for the

Nomadic Jazz show July 11

in Alexandria, Va.


And Hodnett, the founder of Nomadic Jazz, describes the Torpedo Factory Art Center as “a fantastic opportunity and prime location to showcase jazz in Alexandria. We continue our commitment to finding unique spots in neighborhoods to deliver an evening of live jazz. This definitely fits the bill.”
See http://www.nomadicjazz.com.


InPerson … DCJF wows us again

Yes, there was lots of finger-popping, head-shaking, foot-tapping jazz that swung through when the DC Jazz Festival entertained thousands of fans for its 11th year last month.
High points included Paquito D’Rivera’s musical tribute to DCJF founder Charlie Fishman during a show at The Hamilton Live; Esperanza Spalding at the DC Jazzfest at The Yards; Thundercat at the CapitalBop show at the Hecht Warehouse; Nicole Mitchell’s sparkling set also at the warehouse; Sine Qua Non’s show before a packed house at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage; Bruce Williams’ smoking sax sounds with Allyn Johnson and the UDC JAZZtet at UDC; Billy Hart and The Cookers at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue; and John Scofield’s hot band at the Hamilton – just to name a few!



One of Baltimore’s finest, tenor saxophonist

Craig Alston was blowing hot with Greg Hatza

during the DC Jazz Festival/East River Jazz show

at the Uniontown Bar and Grill last month.


And there was that special night at Greg Hatza’s rocking, bopping organ blues band show at the Uniontown Bar and Grill on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Southeast D.C., with Craig Alston doing his Lester Young thing with understated fluid, spiraling, witty and urgent riffs on tenor sax, and guitarist Brian Copeland literally stinging the blues all night and Hatza romping and rolling in the tradition of the great soul organ greats, with Robert Shahid splashing away on drums all night, on tunes like “Satin Doll,” “Flamingo” and “Caravan.” One of those hot jamming nights for the ages.

InPerson … Karen Lovejoy 

Caught our lovely songbird Karen Lovejoy at the Takoma Park Jazz Festival with her Lovejoy Group, with keyboard whiz Jerry Allen and bassist Bob Shann backing her as she swung through jazz and pop and blues standards before the festival crowd at the Gazebo Stage off Carroll Avenue on tunes like “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” and “I’m Beginning to See The Light.”


InPerson … Tom Newman/Jazz and Cultural Society

There was another smoking, jamming set at the Jazz and Cultural Society in Northeast D.C. one Wednesday night late last month, with guitarist Tom Newman’s quartet at center stage.
Newman, the veteran guitarist and educator at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Bowie State and now Springbrook High School, was picking up a storm all night on tunes like “All the Things You Are, “Misty” and “Tuneup.” Pianist Deante Childers was a star also, wowing the large crowd himself with some elegant melodicism, with Emory Diggs holding forth with some deep bluesy runs on bass and drummer Adrian Green rapping and crackling with some straight ahead and edgy free form solos on his own. DeAndrey Howard and friends have made the venue another go-to spot, and it is good to have a neighborhood location for us back in Northeast D.C…which fondly remembers the Pigfoot, Mr. Y’s, Moore’s and other spots. Upcoming are vocaliste Cindy Brown July 1 and Coniece Washington July 8 for 6 p.m. shows. Check the Jazz and Cultural Society out on Facebook for more information
Only somber note of the night was the word from person to person of the news of the recent passing of Maurice Lyles, the venerable drummer who touched many with his playing and his vibrant personality. More on Lyles soon.

InReview – J.D. Allen CD

A free-flowing river of tenor saxophone lyricism marks J.D. Allen’s latest recording, “Graffiti,” making it firmly in his tradition of always moving forward, innovative tune-making. The recent passing of Ornette Coleman brings to mind those who rebelled initially at the so called free jazz movement he became known for, when many of us listening to his music heard undeniable rhythm-making within the avant music he and others made.


Similarly, Allen’s power is crafting compositions, and executing them with his deft delivery of fluid, on the edge honking, and sometimes dissonant riffs, that catch the ear and keep you listening. His rhythm and that of his cohorts, like bassist Gregg August and drummer Rudy Royston on “Graffiti,” never stops, no matter the direction the melodies dart and dash.
One example is “G-DSpeed, B. Morris,” on this recording, with its lilting, bluesy opening by Allen, spurting varying chords and melodies, over August’s lowly pounding bass, and Royston’s subtle rolls and crashes. The mood brings to mind Hendrix for a time, building a wry intensity. Another is “Third Eye,” an intriguing journey with Allen’s tenor floating over the rumbling of August and Royston in winding, circling fashion. “Sonny Boy” is a bluesy stomper, and we find out why when we read in Allen’s liner notes that his intent was an homage to John Lee Hooker’s way of singing.
The title tune is the closest thing to a straight out jam, but has stops and starts weaving through Allen’s melodies as the tune whips along behind Royston’s rapping and tapping and August’s blues songs. As Allen says in the liner notes on the tune, “Getting as lost as possible served as my personal modus operandi for this piece …” But Allen and the group always come back, to a rock solid jamming, blues-based flow in this listener’s opinion, never pointless, never without a rhythm of its own.
The Detroit-born Allen, on the New York scene for more than 20 years now, is always a must-hear, must-see performer for those enamored of the Coleman, Coltrane, Rollins tradition and he may be just now hitting his prime. “Graffiti” is a testament to that, compelling all to want more and anticipate what comes next
See http://www.jdallenjazz.com or http://www.jazzdepot.com for more information.

Honoring Dr. Billy Taylor and our other July birthday heroes…

The impressive honor the DC Jazz Festival bestowed on D.C. native drummer Billy Hart last month, its Lifetime Achievement Award, leads one to remind all of the achievements of one of our July birthday heroes, another Billy, Dr. Billy Taylor (July 24), pianist and educator supreme.


Dr. Billy Taylor



Taylor (1921-2010), who came to D.C. from North Carolina as a child with his family, was a pianist for Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and many others.
He later helped start the Jazzmobile, the rolling jazz stage that used to travel around the country featuring jazz performances, became a mainstay on television and radio promoting jazz and later became artistic director for jazz at the Kennedy Center.
And we say Happy Birthday month! to other July birthday boys, like Billy Eckstine, who grew up in D.C., Rashied Ali, Johnny Hartman, Hank Jones, Johnny Hodges, Cal Tjader, Albert Ayler, Lee Morgan, Sonny Clark, Kenny Burrell, Carl Grubbs and Philly Joe Jones.


Steve Monroe is a Washington, DC, writer who can be reached atsteve@jazzavenues.com and followed at www.twitter.com/jazzavenues.

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