Jazz Avenues September/October BLOG 2017

By Steve Monroe



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Celebrating Art Blakey (birthday Oct. 11)




“At the Kilamanjaro the tour de force was [Terence] Blanchard’s tune “Oh By the Way,” the four horns opening with sweet harmonies over Blakey’s rustling, Plaxico’s now commanding bass work and [Mulgrew] Miller’s heavy Thelonious Monk and McCoy Tyner-like ripples on piano … In the front row, a girl in brightly-colored dress jumps up, shouts, does a little dance, walks a few feet, comes back, and sits down. By now some listeners have their eyes closed, some with heads bowed, bobbing slightly to the music, others just staring. [Donald] Harrison blows slurring riffs on alto sax, [Lonnie] Plaxico pumps out his bluesy chords on bass. The rhythms slow, grow somber, spark again and soar in different colors. Blakey pounds, slashes and bombs away…”

–from “Scenes of Jazz Alive,” Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers at the Kilamanjaro, Washington, D.C. — Violet Avenues Vol. III, Spring-Summer 1988/KiBuKu Productions, by Stephen A. Monroe.





Dashiell, Blanchard, Jazz Police
headline jamming jazz weekend


Christie Dashiell




Rising vocalist Christie Dashiell, multi-talented and multi-genre guru Terence Blanchard and Irene Jalenti and The Jazz Police are some of the stars entertaining us this weekend as September swings out the door for October’s coming.
Dashiell performs at 6 p.m. tonight, Friday, Sept. 29, at Westminster Presbyterian Church with Allyn Johnson on piano, Romeir Mendez, bass and Mark Prince, drums. Blanchard continues his stay at Blues Alley, tonight and tomorrow, Sept. 30, with his eclectic E-Collective band at the Kennedy Center. Scintillating vocalist Jalenti appears with The Jazz Police, including saxophonist Jeff Antoniuk, Alan Blackman, piano, Jeff Reed, bass and Frank Russo, drums and percussion as they explore the multi-genre music of Sting at Twins Jazz tonight and tomorrow. Also tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 30, is the 16th Annual D.C. Jazz Preservation Festival at Westminster in Southwest D.C. See http://www.westminsterdc.org for more information.




Irene Jalenti




Monday night pianist Eri Yamamoto, enjoying acclaim from her CD “Firefly,” returns to the area for a performance at the Arts Club of Washington. The Rhonda Robinson Trio presents “Jazz at Power of Age Expo” from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Oct. 4 at the Balt. County Dept. of Aging, state fairgrounds, in Timonium (www.contemporaryartsinc.org). BSQ appears at Twins Jazz Oct. 4, with sax man Michel Nirenberg at Twins Oct. 6-7. A special “Fathers & Sons” show takes the stage at Westminster Oct. 6, with Whit Williams on sax, Tom Williams, drums, Charles Funn, trombone, Kris Funn—who recently released his debut CD “Corner Store” – on bass and Allyn Johnson, piano. Also that night, Oct. 6, the Reginald Cyntje Group performs at Mr. Henry’s on Capitol Hill.
Next weekend features the Capitol Hill Jazz Foundation Hill Fest, the brainchild of saxophonist and jazz activist Herb Scott, Saturday, Oct. 7 at Garfield Park, 2nd & F Streets S.E., from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Hill Fest, a free event, “will bring musicians together in an effort to translate performances to policy,” according to Hill Fest information, with the event beginning with a conference “addressing policy concerns that directly affect musicians on a local and national level.” A concert follows the conference, with performers including Bobby Felder and the Capitol All Stars Big Band Jazz Ensemble, the Jolley Brothers and Ben Williams, Sam Prather and Frank McComb. See http://www.hillfest.org for complete information.


Reginald Cyntje


Herb Scott



Saxophonist Tedd Baker appears Oct. 11

at Blues Alley for his “Duos Vol. I”

CD release party.




Brian Settles



Also next Saturday Oct. 7 is the “Fall Into Jazz” concert featuring the Brian Settles Quartet, with opening artist vocalist Jessica-Boykin Settles from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Ambassador Baptist Church, 1412 Minnesota Ave. S.E. Saxophonist, composer and bandleader Settles, one of the music’s rising tenor sax stars, has released two CDs garnering excellent reviews, “Secret Handshake,” and “Folk,” and has served as an educator and mentor at the Washington Jazz Arts Institute. Admission is $35. For more information go to http://www.fall-into-jazz.eventbrite.com or http://www.briansettles.com.
And the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra presents “Dizzy and Monk; The Rise of Bebop” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7 at the Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West, National Museum of American History. See http://www.smithsonianjazz.org for more information.



Jessica Boykin-Settles




Up the road a bit, vocalist Gail Marten appears in “Celebrating the Jazz Masters: Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald” from 2 to3 p.m. Oct. 7 at the Enoch Pratt Free Library/Orleans Street Branch in Baltimore (www.contemporaryartsinc.org) and also on Oct. 7 vocalist Gabrielle Goodman appears with Greg Hatza, organ, Reginald Payne, bass and Robert Shahid, drums at Caton Castle in Baltimore.


Other highlights this month include: Thelonious Monk Centennial Celebration, Oct. 8. Kennedy Center; Chick Corea/Steve Gadd Band, Oct. 8, Blues Alley; Akua Allrich/Nina Simone, Miriam Makeba Tribute, Oct. 8, Atlas Performing Arts Center; George Spicka & Baltimore Jazz Works/Jazz Composers 2017, Oct. 8, An die Musik/Baltimore; Dizzy Gillespie Centennial Tribute, Oct. 8, 15, 22, 29, DC Jazz Jam/The Brixton; Thelonious Monk Institute Piano Competition, Oct, 9-10, National Museum of Natural History; Kennedy Center; Tedd Baker “CD Release Party,” Oct. 11, Blues Alley; John Lamkin III Ensemble/Tribute to Thelonius Monk and Ella Fitzgerald, Oct. 11, Enoch Pratt Free Library/Pennsylvania Avenue Branch/Baltimore; Jaimeo Brown Transcendence, Oct. 12, Clarice Smith Center UMD; Twins Jazz Orchestra, Oct. 12, Twins Jazz; Jean DeVerne/Tribute to Lena Horne, Oct. 13, Westminster Presbyterian Church; Bohemian Caverns All-Star Band, Oct. 13, Montpelier Arts Center/Laurel, Md.; Larry Brown Quintet, Oct. 13-14, Twins Jazz; Harry Appelman/The Rumba Club, Oct. 14, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum; Integriti Reeves, Oct. 14, The Alex/The Graham Georgetown Hotel; Michael Nirenberg, Oct. 14, Jazzway 6004/Baltimore; John Lamkin III, Tim Green/4th Annual Tribute Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers, Oct. 14, Caton Castle/Baltimore; MBowie & The BLAST, Oct. 17, Blues Alley; Cowboys & Frenchmen, Oct. 18, Blues Alley; John Kocur, Oct. 18, Twins Jazz; Homecoming for Larry Brown, Oct. 20, Westminster; Sheikh Ndoye & Friends, Oct. 20, Montpelier; Dial 251, Oct. 20-21, Twins Jazz; Wayne Johnson Ensemble/Tribute to John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and Ella Fitzgerald, Oct. 21, Enoch Pratt Free Library/Waverly Branch/Baltimore; Fred Hersch, Oct. 21, Atlas; Rochelle Rice, Oct. 21, The Alex; Dizzy Gillespie Centennial Celebration, Oct. 21, Kennedy Center; Jazz Workshop: It’s Monk’s Time, Oct. 21, Levine School of Music/Strathmore; Allyn Johnson Ensemble, Oct. 24, UDC Recital Hall/Bldg. 46-West;




Larry Brown



Peabody Jazz Combo Series, Oct. 24, Peabody Conservatory/Baltimore; BJ Jansen & Common Ground/Delfeayo Marsalis, Duane Eubanks, Oct. 25, Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club; Sarah Wilcox, Oct. 25, Twins Jazz; Brad Linde Ensemble/10th Anniversary Concert, Oct. 26, Atlas; Jane Monheit, Oct. 26-29, Blues Alley; Tribute to the Jazz Baroness, Oct. 27, Westminster; Bill Charlap Trio, Oct. 27, Montpelier; Michael Thomas Quintet, Oct. 27-28, Twins Jazz; Thinking About Jazz/The Jazz Baroness, Oct. 28, Westminster; Paige Wroble, Oct. 28, The Alex; Jazz Lecture Duke Ellington: Genius Beyond Category, Oct. 29, Levine School of Music/Silver Spring …


photo by Mike Morgan

Brad Linde




Top pianists compete for T. Monk Institute award

Wondering who the next top shelf pianists are? You might want to check out the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz 2017 International Piano Competition Oct. 9 and 10 in D.C. as the institute celebrates Monk’s 100th birthday year. The institute’s competition was launched in 1987 at Baird Auditorium in the National Museum of Natural History, so this year celebrates the competition’s 30th anniversary.
The 2017 competition features some of the world’s most talented young jazz pianists performing for an illustrious judging panel that has included Herbie Hancock, Marcus Roberts, Vijay Iyer, and Chucho Valdes, among others.
The competition promises some of the world’s most talented young jazz pianists performing for a judging panel that has included Herbie Hancock, Marcus Roberts, Vijay Iyer, and Chucho Valdes, among others over the years. The first-place award in the competition is $25,000 and a Concord Music Group recording contract; second place, $15,000; and third place, $10,000. percent of each prize will be paid directly to the winner, with the remaining funds applied toward the winner’s future musical education, according to Thelonious Monk Institute information.
Past winners and top competitors have included Orrin Evans, organ star Joey DeFrancesco, area favorite Harry Appelman, Jacky Terrasson, Gerald Clayton and D.C.’s Aaron Parks,
The semifinals, from 1 to 5 p.m. Oct. 9 at the Smithsonian’s Baird Auditorium, National Museum of Natural History, has free tickets and no advanced registration is required, with ticket distribution taking place at the door starting at 12 noon Oct. 9. The finals Oct. 10 at the Kennedy Center is a ticketed event and includes an All-Star Concert. Tickets for the finals can be purchased at the Kennedy Center box office.
For more information go to http://www.smithsonianassociates.org and http://www.kennedy-center.org.



Celebrating Blakey …


“… Blakey picks up the pace. The blues turns into a boogie, with him popping, slashing cymbals right and left. Harrison wails, then Blanchard is back helping to build the tune to a fever pitch … The crowd is still, almost no one is talking. Heads are straightforward in rapt attention. The band plays standards and originals for an hour and a half, hot, straight, with no chaser. Roney’s trumpet work is melodic and precise, [Jean] Toussaint displays a blend of Rollins at his funkiest, with surprising twists and turns on tenor sax, Plaxico on a ballad takes out his bow to groan and sigh the tune into a melancholia of charm and taste.
–“Scenes of Jazz Alive,” Violet Avenues Vol. III 1988.




–InReview … “Evidence: Music of Thelonious Monk” by Dave Zoller


“EVIDENCE: Music of Thelonious Monk” is collection of 18 tunes, encompassing two CDs and three vinyl albums by a longtime Monk admirer, 75-year-pld Dallas pianist Dave Zoller. According to his http://www.indiegogo.com funding page, Zoller recorded half of the music in 2012, “… then suffered the first in a series of three debilitating strokes. Five years later, Zoller recovered and recorded the rest of EVIDENCE … This fundraiser will pay back all the costs of producing the album in different formats.”
Says Zoller, “I was 17 when I was first introduced to Monk’s music by two friends from Columbus, OH. They loaned me LPs of Monk’s Music and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers with Thelonious Monk, which I taped and gave back to them. At first I was intrigued; I’d read about Monk before. But once I began listening I was hooked! A month or two later I taught myself to play “Blue Monk,” complete with Monk’s piano solo on the Blakey/Messengers record …”


Dave Zoller



“As the years went by I learned more of Monk’s music and wrote arrangements of it. We even played a few Monk songs while I was touring with Al Hirt (at his request!). When I was writing charts of Monk songs, bits and pieces of me began to seep into what I was writing. A few live gigs happened where we could actually play this music … ‘Evidence’ is the culmination of nearly six decades of listening, studying, performing and loving the works of a great American pianist and composer.”
Zoller on piano and keyboards plays on the recording with Pete Gallio, and Aaron Irwinsky, soprano and tenor saxophones, Jonathan Fisher and Jeffrey Eckels, bass, and Woody Berners, drums.
Tunes include Monk compositions “Rhythm-A-Ning,” “Introspection,” “Round About Midnight,” “Bright Mississippi,” Evidence,” “Straight, No Chaser,” “Well You Needn’t,” “Tinkle, Tinkle,” and other Monk favorites, as well as Zoller’s original “Monk’s Centennial.”
A first listen to Zoller’s work reveals a true touch for the lilting rhythmic feel and complexity of Monk’s music, while the overall tone and impact is lighter and airier than Monk’s hard driving deeply bluesy, rolling intensity. Zoller is a fine pianist, and his group compliments him well, especially bassist Fisher, displaying his own driving, blues on “Ugly Beauty” among other tunes.
An admirable production, “Evidence,” and well worth the funding for a Monk introspective.
For more information go to: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/evidence-music-of-thelonious-monk-by-dave-zoller-vinyl-jazz/x/2409702#/.



Standing8Count delivers hot sounds


A shout out to Julius Edward James and his band Standing8Count Jazz Ensemble based in the Tampa Bay area in Florida for their jamming sounds, captured well on You Tube and their CD “Standing8Count.”
James, originally from D.C. — where he was a McKinley Tech graduate along with yours truly — is the keyboard guru for the band, which includes Mike Peters, guitar, Daryll King, bass, David Alves, drums and David Marcial, percussion.
Highlights of the CD include the spicy opener, “Buttuh,” an early feature for Peters’ intriguing and bluesy guitar work and James’ rollicking piano flourishes; “Cascade” with Peters leading the way on the lilting, dreamy melody; the jamming Latin rocker “Bossative,” featuring Alves and Marcia’s percussive charms; and “Consuelo’s Dream,” another showcase for Peters’ hot licks on guitar as well as King’s grooving work on bass.



When in South Florida, catch them when you can. See http://www.standing8countjazz.com for more information.




Celebrating Blakey …

“The evening softens to a close during “Blue Moon,” [Wallace] Roney on trumpet wistful and shining, Blakey’s drums a whistling wind. The band finishes with a racy number, Blakey treating the crowd to [a] last bit of razzle dazzle until too soon the music is over, a now thoroughly fulfilled crowd standing and clapping, some calling for more but the feeling in general is that more would be anti-climactic. When the music is carefully and classically played, there is no need for encores.”

–“Scenes of Jazz Alive,” Violet Avenues Vol. III 1988.



Steve Monroe is a Washington, D.C. writer who can be reached at steve@jazzavenues. com and followed at http://www.twitter.com/jazzavenues.