Jazz Avenues March 2018 BLOG

by Steve Monroe


… follow @jazzavenues



Lori Williams, Buster Williams, Lamkin, Hughes
highlight weekend; Women in Jazz Festival coming


Vocalist Lori Williams, all-star bassist Buster Williams, saxophonist Sarah Hughes and John Lamkin II head the tasty live jazz menu for the area this weekend as March takes flight, with the Washington Women in Jazz Festival coming up next weekend.


Lori Williams


Lori Williams performs in a tribute to the Deltas & Lou Taylor at 6 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church tonight, Friday March 2, with Benje Porecki on piano, Tracey Cutler, sax, Zach Pride, bass and Mark Prince, drums. Bassist Williams, with cohorts Lenny White, George Colligan and Bruce Williams, continues his stay at Blues Alley tonight through Sunday, while trumpeter Lamkin plays tonight and tomorrow, Saturday, March 3 at Twins Jazz.
Tonight, at Rhizome (www.rhizomedc.org), in upper Northwest, saxophonist Hughes plays with drummer/percussionist Nate Scheible as part of a show featuring avant genre music with Eve Essex, Kayla Guthrie and Praxis Cat. Hughes also performs Sunday, March 4 at Twins Jazz.


Shacara Rogers



Also this weekend, vocalist Shacara Rogers performs Saturday night March 3 at The Alex at The Graham Georgetown Hotel, while also Saturday at the Kennedy Center Jazz Club, the Mingus Big Band performs under the direction of Sue Mingus, and on H Street at the Atlas Intersections Festival, in the Free Café concerts, Britney Allen & Herman Burney perform at 5 p.m., with Hope Udobi playing at 7 p.m.



Shannon Gunn


Washington Women in Jazz Festival

WWJF events get started with the Young Artist Showcase and Jam Session 12 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday March 10, presented by the Levine School of Music at the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Center (THEARC/www.thearcdc.org)) at 1901 Mississippi Ave. S.E.
The showcase, admission $5 at the door, is “for emerging jazz women musicians in high school and college,” with selected artists performing with the WWJF trio, meeting and getting advice from professionals and hosting a jam session according to WWJF information.


Sarah Hughes


“Many women are active professionals in the Washington, DC jazz scene, but few are represented as performers on regional jazz festivals,” says the WWJF website. ” Created by Amy K Bormet in 2011, the Washington Women in Jazz Festival creates equitable performance opportunities for women while uplifting the image of the jazz community and drawing in dynamic new audiences.”
Later Saturday, March 10, trombonist/bandleader/composer Shannon Gunn presents a Tribute to Women Composers in a free show from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Smithsonian American Art Museum downtown.
Other WWJF events around town include the WWJF Kickoff Jam at the DC Jazz Jam at the Brixton Restaurant;



Amy K. Bormet



Shana Tucker


the Music Business Panel with singer/songwriter/cellist Shana Tucker, March 12, Southeast Library; bassist Judith FerstlAustrian Cultural Forum, March 13, Embassy of Austria; Shana Tucker, March 14, Hill Center; Amy K. Bormet’s Ephemera/Isabel Escalante, March 16, Georgetown University; Leigh Pilzer/WWJF All-Stars, March 16, Westminster Presbyterian Church; the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra and works by composers/musicians Anna Webber and Angela Morris. March 17, THEARC; Sarah Hughes “Coy Fish” Album Release, March 18, Rhizome.

See http://www.washingtonwomeninjazz.com for complete information.



Judith Ferstl



East of the River Jazz Brunch

A new monthly jazz series is making waves East of the River, thanks to Vernard Gray of East River Jazz and the Anacostia Arts Center.
The next concert in the series, which occurs the second Sunday of each month through September, is at 3 p.m. March 11 at the Anacostia Arts Center.

The show, “A Sunday Kind of Love,” features The Lovejoy Group and songstress Karen Lovejoy, a longtime favorite for her soulful, sultry, distinctive phrasing. Lovejoy’s band, including Jerrold Allen, piano, Emory Diggs, bass and Steve Walker, drums. will be performing classics by Dizzy Gillespie, Horace Silver, Carlos Jobim, Sergio Mendes and others.


Karen Lovejoy


Lovejoy, with a group that included dazzling trumpeter Freddie Dunn, delivered some poignant numbers in her show at the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival a couple of weeks ago in Rockville, including “You’ll Never Get to Heaven …,” “I Concentrate on You” and “Willow Weep for Me.”
“The Jazz Brunch has become a growing success, we are thrilled to be able to provide an experience such as this to the Anacostia community,” says Kadija Bangura, marketing manager for ARCH Development Corp. (www.archdevelopment.org), which runs the arts center. “Each month I meet a new guest who says, ‘I never knew this was here’ or ‘this is such a great event.’”
Gray says, “The Arts Center asked for East River Jazz to partner with a Jazz Brunch series based on our presenting Sunday afternoon performances during our annual JAZZFest series …
“Of course we were very much interested in the idea. Our immediate plans are to present a good mix of instrumental and vocal based interpretations of the music. Each of our events are ‘conversations’ with an audience that mixes performance and related performer/patron discourse.”

For more information, go to http://www.eastriverjazz.net or http://www.anacostiaartcenter.com , or call 202-262-7571.


Allyn Johnson



Antonio Parker



Christie Dashiell




Irene Jalenti



Other March highlights include: Antonio Parker & Friends, March 9, Westminster; Orrin Evans/The Bad Plus, March 10-11, Blues Alley; Dwayne Adell, March 13, Blues Alley; Shana Tucker/WWJF, March 14, Hill Center; Kevin Eubanks, March 15-18, Blues Alley; Tim Whalen Quartet, March 16-17, Twins Jazz; Christie Dashiell, March 17, The Alex/Graham Georgetown Hotel; Eric Byrd Trio, March 19, Blues Alley; Allyn Johnson Meet The Artist/Jamal Brown, March 20, UDC Recital Hall, Bldg. 46-West; Reuben Brown Tribute, March 23, Westminster; Jeff Antoniuk/David Bach Consort, Marcy 23-24, Twins Jazz; Irene Jalenti/Marco Panascia, March 24, The Alex; Akua Allrich, March 24, Kennedy Center Jazz Club; Japanese Jazz Series, March 26-29, Blues Alley; Samuel Munguia, March 27, UDC Recital Hall, Bldg. 46-West; Rene Marie, March 29, Clarice Smith Center/UMD College Park;


Sarah Hughes


Corcoran Holt CD Release, March 29, Bethesda Blues & Jazz … Ricky Ford Quartet, March 30-31, Twins Jazz; Howard University Jazz Ensemble, March 30, Westminster; Night at the Movies/Buck Hill, March 30, Westminster.


Akua Allrich



Thank You, John Conyers

Among our annual best New Year’s wishes, a special best wish and thank you went out to John Conyers Jr., a longtime Democrat in the House of Representatives who has stepped down from his post.
We thank Conyers for being the highest-ranking best friend our music has ever had. His signature accomplishment for our musical heritage was sponsorship of the 1987 Congressional legislation known as H.R. 57, which honors jazz as a national treasure.
It reads in part: “Whereas, jazz has achieved preeminence throughout the world as an indigenous American music and art form, bringing to this country and the world a uniquely American musical synthesis and culture through the African-American experience and
1. makes evident to the world an outstanding artistic model of individual expression and democratic cooperation within the creative process, thus fulfilling the highest ideals and aspirations of our republic,
2. is a unifying force, bridging cultural, religious, ethnic and age differences in our diverse society,
3. is a true music of the people, finding its inspiration in the cultures and most personal experiences of the diverse peoples that constitute our Nation,
4. has evolved into a multifaceted art form which continues to birth and nurture new stylistic idioms and cultural fusions,
5. has had an historic, pervasive and continuing influence on other genres of music both here and abroad …”
What is more, Conyers has been the driving force behind the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation annual September jazz concert and panel discussion, and he has followed up his sponsorship of H.R. 57 by introducing other legislation in the last few years, including H.R. 2823, the National Jazz Preservation and Education Act, which would “create oral and video histories of leading jazz artists, acquire, preserve and interpret artifacts, and conduct exhibitions and other educational activities; encourage the introduction of jazz to our youth … [through] a Jazz Artists in the Schools Program; and create a new Ambassadors of Jazz Program …”
Conyers also introduced the National Jazz Preservation, Education and Promulgation Act of 2014, H.R. 4280, which would establish programs and provide funding for a National Jazz Preservation Program and a Jazz Education in Elementary and Secondary Schools program, and “contemplates” the establishment of a “Promulgation Program to support business and enterprise initiatives in the field of Jazz.”
Besides the accomplishments Conyers achieved during his long and distinguished career for the great state of Michigan, and the nation, we owe him many thanks for his putting jazz firmly in the national spotlight. And it is now up to all of us to pick up the ball and push his efforts ever forward.



InReview … Roberto Magris Sextet “Live in Miami”



One notable release last month was the “Roberto Magris Sextet Live in Miami” CD on the JMoods Record label. The internationally acclaimed pianist Magris, musical director for JMoods Records, which is based in Kansas City, has fashioned another winner in his illustrious recording career.

Having played far and wide with many of the greats in the jazz world — including our own sax man Paul Carr, featured on the Magris 2010 CD “Mating Call” — Magris shines on the “Live in Miami” CD, recorded at the WDNA radio station’s Jazz Gallery with his clean, elegant, rippling and melodic piano runs. He is ably backed by Brian Lynch, trumpet, Jonathan Gomez, tenor sax, Chuck Bergeron, bass, John Yarling, drums and Murph Aucamp, congas.
Says a Downbeat review in January, “While the mostly original material is comfortably within Magris’ revered bop tradition, the fire with which this group plays—goosed by the leader’s keyboard pyrotechnics—puts the recording over the top.”



Roberto Magris


Indeed, Magris original “African mood” truly whips things into high-intensity gear under the relentless, rolling melodicism of Magris’ piano, and grooving bass of Chuck Bergeron, the percussion of Yarling on drums and Aucamp on congas, and the soaring horns of Lynch on trumpet and Gomez on tenor sax. Lynch especially flies again on “What blues,” while Magris gets down for some soulful bluesy runs on piano. “April morning,” the Rahsaan Roland Kirk tune, features some deft, lilting, entrancing interplay between Magris, Lynch and Gomez, with Magris at his melancholy best, urgent, squeezing emotion out of every note, and Bergeron’s solo a true gem. “Chachanada,” a majestic composition, whips the ride back into a Latin romp, led by the horns and Magris’ often frenetic, but always artful ripples, with Gomez then pushing his tenor higher and higher and Lynch’s pure, smooth lines framing Magris’ piano runs and Aucamp’s conga songs. A meditative beauty here is Billy Strayhorn’s “A Flower is A Lovesome Thing,” with Magris ruminating with more than a touch of Monk in a florid, kaleidoscopic solo treat.
See wwwjmoodsrecords.com for more information.

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


Jazz Avenues February 2018 BLOG

By Steve Monroe




… follow @jazzavenues




Celebrating D.C.’s Jazzy Black History/Buck Hill


“My father played piano and my brother Clyde played piano, he played like Fats Waller. He turned me to jazz.He bought me a soprano sax and he paid for me to take lessons and I started playing professionally at 15. I had people ask me to go out with them (on the road) but I had children then. You take care of the children first, before you go into your own thing, which is the music.”
–from the chapter on Buck Hill, in “Violet Avenues: A Poetry of Jazz,” by Stephen A. Monroe, copyright, 1998, Washington, D.C.



Roger Wendell “Buck” Hill




Smith leads Lyles tribute; Sher, Wroble, Weston show,
Buck Hill Tribute, MAJF also highlight February

One can celebrate our Black History Month in D.C. this February in a number of ways, notably by visiting the Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives at the University of the District of Columbia, the Library of Congress and other locations to explore the recordings and documents and photographs of jazz. And you can attend live events celebrating the ongoing legacy, the living history, of this original Black American art form.



Michael Thomas, who performs at Westminster Presbyterian Church Feb. 2, and at Twins Jazz Feb. 9-10.




Those events include, this weekend, the Maurice Lyles Tribute show tonight, Feb. 2, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, with veteran drummer, who passed a couple of years ago, being honored by a group led by Herb Smith on saxophone, with Michael Thomas, trumpet, Wade Beach, piano, Steve Novosel, bass and Percy Smith, drums. According to Westminster information, “Maurice felt strongly about acknowledging Black History Month and assembled tributes for many years. He understood the power of jazz in the African American experience and its power to uplift and advance our community.”




Christie Dashiell appears Feb. 2-3 with John Lamkin III’s group at An Die Musik in Baltimore.



Elsewhere this weekend, Ben Sher Quartet plays at Twins Jazz tonight, Feb. 2 and tomorrow, Feb. 3, the John Lamkin III Trio w/ Christie Dashiell Celebrates Black History Month show is at An Die Musik in Baltimore tonight and tomorrow; vocalist Paige Wroble appears tomorrow, Feb. 3, at The Alex/Georgetown Graham Hotel and veteran saxophonist Marty Nau is at Twins Jazz Sunday night, Feb. 4. Also this weekend is the closing of “The In Series: All the Things You Are: Jerome Kern” Friday through Sunday at the Atlas Performing Arts Center.

Also Sunday, from 6 to 11 p.m. Feb. 4, bassist and CapitalBop impresario Luke Stewart has hipped us to the show at Rhizome, “The anti-Super Bowl.” Stewart said recently, “We’re counter-programming the Super Bowl with an amazing lineup of heavy hitters from the avant-jazz world … Headlining the show will be Chicago’s Ken Vandermark who brings his new group, Marker, to Rhizome as part of their first US tour. Also on the bill are Norwegian trombonist HNM, DC/Balt free jazz lions Heart of the Ghost, the outstanding duo of saxophonist Brian Settles w/ NY drummer Jeremy Carlstedt, and Baltimore favorite Sarah Hughes in a duo with Corey Thuro. Dinner will be provided during the show by local musicians/foodies Mike Bernstein and Pat Cain.”
Rhizome is at 6950 Maple Street N.W., and tickets are $25, for dinner and performances, $15 for music only. See http://www.rhizomedc.org for complete information.



Lena Seikaly appears Feb. 8 at Blues Alley





Events coming up in the next week include: … Thad Wilson, Feb. 8, Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club; Lena Seikaly – Steve Herberman Duo, Feb. 8, Blues Alley; Michael Thomas Quintet, Feb. 9-10, Twins Jazz; Steve Washington, Feb. 10, The Alex/Graham Georgetown Hotel; Musical Tribute to Black History’s Forgotten Heroes/Carter G. Woodson, Rev. Jesse E. Moorland, Jack Johnson, Joe Louis and more, Feb. 11, Anacostia Arts Center.


Randy Weston Tribute to James Reese Europe

“Washington was home to two of the founders of Great Black Music, Will Marion Cook and James Reese Europe. A concert violinist, Cook received excellent classical training in both this country and Europe, but as an adult found inspiration in traditional African American folk tales and spirituals, incorporating them in his compositions. Europe was outspoken in his belief that “we colored people have our own music that is part of us. It’s the product of our souls; it’s been created by the sufferings and miseries of our race.”
–from “Great Black Music and the Desegregation of Washington, D.C.” by Maurice Jackson in Jazz in Washington, a 2014 publication of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.



Randy Weston




“Nearly 100 years since the end of World War I (Nov. 11, 1918), pianist, composer, and [National Endowment for the Arts] Jazz Master Randy Weston with his African Rhythms Octet headlines a celebration of the life and legacy of early American ragtime musician and composer James Reese Europe (1880–1919),” says the Kennedy Center publicity. “As bandleader of the 369th Regiment Band, an all-African American unit known as the ‘Harlem Hellfighters,’ Europe has been credited for helping introduce jazz music to Western Europe. Weston, known for his repertoire fusing African elements with jazz techniques, salutes the musician who created an international demand for jazz and broke ground for African American artists to come.”
Tickets are $30 for the Feb. 10 event in the Terrace Theater. See http://www.kennedy-center.org for more information.



Buck Hill Tribute at Westminster

The Buck Hill tribute Feb. 23 at Westminster honors Hill, our own Jazz Master saxophonist, bandleader and composer who passed to ancestry a year ago, featuring Davy Yarborough, sax, Michael Thomas, trumpet, Cheyney Thomas, bass, Jon Ozment, piano and Keith Killgo, drums.





“Take any tune, such as ‘Blue Bossa,’ and you’ll find [Buck] Hill doing something slightly different than his illustrious predecessors or compatriots. His direct frontal assaults on a solo, his sliding, powerful sallies on choruses, make you sit up and listen. His ability to pack lyrical complexity into smooth, fluid streams of sound tell you this is an individualist in his own right. ‘When you’re young,’ says Hill, “you try to copy people. I tried to copy people like Lester Young, note for note. But I couldn’t play like him, so I moved on. What you do really is steal from everyone, Dexter Gordon, Gene Ammons, everybody, then you make your own style.’ ”
–from “Violet Avenues: A Poetry of Jazz”

The Thinking About Jazz event the next day, Sat. Feb. 25 at Westminster features William “Bill” Brower, noted jazz historian and educator, as well as journalist and producer, for his presentation, “Roger Wendell “Buck” Hill: The Wailin’ Mailman,” including information on how Hill “… emerged in a generation that gave birth to many other jazz greats who rose to notoriety through traveling extensively and recording along the way.” And the event will cover how, “While Buck toured some early in his career he found this difficult while balancing his love of family and his hometown roots. So he took a job with the U.S. Postal Service and fit his love of jazz around his commitment to work and family.”

For more information see http://www.westminsterdc.org.



Other February events include: … Imani-Grace Cooper, Feb. 14, Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital … Abby Schaffer, Feb. 14, Twins Jazz … Take 5! Sarah Hughes Quartet, Feb. 15, Smithsonian American Art Museum; Eugenie Jones, Feb. 16, Twins Jazz … Vince Evans Jazz Ensemble, Feb. 16, Westminster Presbyterian Church … Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival, Feb. 16-18, Hilton Washington DC/Rockville Hotel Executive Meeting Center … Nico Sarbanes, Feb. 17, The Alex …


Vocalist Imani-Grace Cooper performs

Valentine’s Day Feb. 14 at the Hill Center




Integriti Reeves





… Integriti Reeves, Feb. 18, Blues Alley … Three’s Company/Gail Marten, Feb. 18, Overlea Senior Center/Baltimore … Allyn Johnson/Meet the Artist on the Bandstand—Michael Bowie, Feb. 20, UDC Recital Hall Bldg. 46-West … Noah Haidu, Feb. 24-25, Twins Jazz … Tribute to Buck Hill, Feb. 23, Westminster … Todd Marcus Quintet: On These Streets, Feb. 23, Atlas Performing Arts Center … Thinking About Jazz/Roger Wendell “Buck” Hill: The Wailin’ Mailman, Feb. 24, Westminster … Lafayette Gilchrist and the Sonic Trip Masters All Stars, Feb. 24, Atlas … Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, Feb. 24, An Die Musik/Baltimore … Tierney Sutton Band, Feb. 26, Blues Alley … UDC Small Jazz Ensembles, Feb. 27, UDC Recital Hall Bldg. 46-West … Joe Vetter, Feb. 28, Twins Jazz .






Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival Swings Again


Paul Carr


Nasar Abadey



Karen Lovejoy



Chad Carter



Thanks to our inimitable saxophonist, bandleader, educator and executive producer Paul Carr, the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival swings for three hot and heavy days again — the 9th annual! — February 16-18 in Rockville. The stars aligned to perform include Chad Carter, DeAndre Howard and the Collectors, Warren Wolf, Paul Carr himself and his Jazz Academy, Buster Williams, Jazzmeia Horn, Lydia Harrell, Braxton Cook, Nasar Abadey, Carmen Bradford, Eric Byrd, The Airmen of Note, The Lovejoy Group, Carmen Lundy, Wes Biles and more – in addition to a fascinating array of crack school bands and line dance events. See http://www.midatlanticjazzfestival.org for complete information, free events and ticketed event information and show times.



Coda for Reuben Brown

Sympathies and best wishes, also thanks in celebration for the artistry he gave us, for the family of pianist Reuben Brown who passed on last month. Like yours truly, a graduate of D.C.’s Mckinley Tech High School, Brown was known for his always tastefully melodic, swinging and elegant work, often at the old One Step Down. His legacy lives on in our minds and hearts and on his many SteepleChase Records and other recordings.



Reuben Brown


And thanks to Jazz Promo Services, http://www.jazznewsyoucanuse.com, journalist/historian/producer Bill Brower and Ellen Carter of WPFW-FM for the heads up.



InPerson … Carl Grubbs Ensemble



Carl Grubbs




Our venerable award-winning Baltimore by way of Philly Jazz Master saxophonist, bandleader, composer and educator Carl Grubbs led his ensemble in a fiery set recently at St. James Episcopal Church’s Parish Hall on the Charm City’s west side, with Eric Byrd on piano, John Guo, bass and Eric Kennedy, drums. The group ripped through “Confirmation,” a down-home “Carl’s Blues,” soared again on “Ceora,” Grubbs’ alto melodic and spicy and with his vintage urgency, and stepped down again for a melancholy “Misty” with Grubbs’ alto sax cries wailing through the air before a packed crowd in the large room, the sun slanting through the vertical windows that afternoon. And then the group romped mightily on “Giant Steps,” Grubbs’ sax spearing the standard into a fiery jamming ride.



InReview … Tamuz Nissim

With a delicate, though frequently strident vocal delivery, Tamuz Nissim has become a notable vocalist on the scene with an engagingly glowing touch on standards and her intriguing originals. Nissim’s latest recording, “Echo of a Heartbeat” on Street of Stars Records, brims with an attractive urgency, merry in-love and loving-it melodies and aching melancholy.

Based in New York City, the Israeli artist, according to her website, “… grew up in an artistic family; her mother is a dancer and a choreographer and her father is a writer. Both of them play an instrument and have a great love for classical and jazz music. She started playing classical piano at the age of 6; [she started] to sing when she was 14 … By the age of 16, Israeli jazz giants such as Ofer Ganor, Amos Hofman and Shay Zelman had recognized her potential and performed with her.”




She says, “The moment when it became clear that I should devote myself to music was when, at the age of thirteen, as a classical piano player of Ironi Alef high school’s music department, I asked to sing a song with the jazz band at the end of the school year’s performance. The night of the performance convinced everybody, including myself, that singing was my greatest talent.”

Enlarging on the acclaim from her previous CDs, “The Music Stays in A Dream” and “Liquid Melodies,” the fun starts on “Echo …” with “Time In A Bottle”  with Nissim wistful and dreamy. She is then fun-loving and funny on “Fried Bananas,” and “Just Squeeze Me,” and displays her compositional talent along with her vocalese skills on originals “My World,” and “In The Melody’s Shade.” The latter becomes a lilting, magical escape with Nissim’s vocal flights enhanced by the superlative backing of pianist James Weidman, Harvie S on bass and Tony Jefferson on drums.
The title tune “Echo of a Heartbeat” is spiced by George Nazos’ guitar and “What A Little Moonlight Can Do,” maybe the highlight of a highly listenable album, whips into a sparkling journey, flavored by Nissim’s crystal-like, airy vocals and artful scatting.
“I believe that life and music are one,” says Nissim. “All of life’s experiences and feelings (love, joy, dreams, disappointment, excitement etc.) can be translated into music if only we let the music in our lives. That is why I always aim at intriguing my audience with an emotion, tell them a story, or enable them somehow to experience music at a deeper level.”

See http://www.tamuzmusic.com for more information.



Steve Monroe is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C. He can be reached at steve@jazzavenues.com or @jazzavenues.

Jazz Avenues September/October BLOG 2017

By Steve Monroe



…follow @jazzavenues



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.

Jazz Avenues March/April BLOG 2017

By Steve Monroe


… follow @jazzavenues



Appreciating Buck Hill

“… Some think it was an unfortunate comment on society’s view of art that Buck Hill had to take himself to New York City in early 1982 and surround himself with established players, pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Buster Williams, drummer Billy Hart to burst onto the national scene as an artist worth noting in many jazz and music magazines and newspaper columns. But what of all the hours playing his ripping, driving riffs, gentle caressing tones that Hill played with talented players of D.C.’s and Baltimore’s past — players no one will ever hear of? Hill’s star was actually made then, not in New York City clubs, or New York City newspaper reviews in the ’80’s.” — From the original manuscript of “Violet Avenues: A Poetry of Jazz,” by Steve Monroe, copyright 1998, Washington, D.C.


Funeral services for Hill, who passed away last week at the age of 90, were held March 26 at Westminster Presbyterian Church with a sumptuous feast afterward and a celebration jam session. We appreciate you Buck Hill, who entertained us mightily many an April — Jazz Appreciation Month. And see more on Buck below, including a review of his 2013 tribute day.



Howard Univ. Jazz, Marcus, Hargrove, Cyntje on tap
as April rolls in for Jazz Appreciation Month


The Howard University Jazz Ensemble takes the stage at Westminster Presbyterian Church Friday March 31 to kick of the weekend at 6 p.m., with Todd Marcus, Roy Hargrove and Reginald Cyntje also among the highlights this weekend.
The Howard University Jazz Ensemble, which delivered another swinging session for its show last month at the campus that featured vibraphonist Warren Wolf, who received the Benny Golson Jazz Master Award that day, performs at Westminster tonight under the direction of the esteemed Fred Irby, followed by Jazz Night at the Movies, “Nat King Cole: A&E Biography.”



Reginald Cyntje appears at Twins Jazz March 31, April 1.
Saxophonist and composer Marcus brings a band to the Montpelier Arts Center in Laurel Friday night, while trombonist Reginald Cyntje appears with his group at Twins Jazz tonight and Saturday and trumpeter Roy Hargrove finishes his week at Blues Alley with shows Friday through Sunday. Also Friday night, sax man Elijah Jamal Balbed is at Mr. Henry’s on Capitol Hill. Tomorrow, Saturday, April 1, “Baltimore Rising” presented by George Spicka/Baltimore Jazz Works features a group with vocalist Charlene Cochran, Leo Brandenburg on reeds and Spicka at the piano, and a group led by virtuoso drummer John Lamkin III appears at Caton Castle in Baltimore.
Meanwhile, Jazz Appreciation Month gets into gear Saturday April 1 when the exhibit “First Lady of Song: Ella Fitzgerald at 100” goes on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, in the Archives Center, 1 West. JAM daytime concerts are staged at the museum April 6 — beginning with the USAF Airmen of Note, and then on April 13, 20, 27, at 12, 1and 2 p.m. in Wallace Coulter Plaza 1 West. See http://americanhistory.si.edu/smithsonian-jazz/jazz-appreciation-month for complete JAM activities in April, including jazz objects and archives exhibits April 4, 11, 18 and 25.



Lena Seikaly performs at Westminster Presbyterian Church April 6.
The Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra celebrates its 7th anniversary with a show Monday April 3 at Blues Alley. Also next week, the Twins Jazz Orchestra is at Twins Jazz April 6; “Lena Swings!” featuring vocalist Lena Seikaly with Chris Grasso, Marshall Keys, Zach Pride an C.V. Dashiell is at Westminster April 7.The SF Collective: The Music of Miles  Davis & Original Compositions is at Blues Alley April 7-9. Saxophonist/bandleader Carl Grubbs’ Jazz/String Ensemble performs his Inner Harbor Suite Revisited: A Tribute to Baltimore April 8 at the Eubie Blake Cultural Center in Baltimore, while saxophonist Tim Warfield is at Caton Castle April 8. And “United Shades of Artistry,” with Levon Mikaellan, Randy Brecker and Gary Thomas performs April 9 at Twins Jazz.






The Carl Grubbs Jazz/String Ensemble

performs at Eubie Blake Center April 8.
Other April Highlights: Paul Carr “All In” Quartet, April 9, Jazz and Cultural Society; UDC Small Jazz Ensembles, April 11, UDC Recital Hall (Bldg. 46-West); Tony Martucci Quintet/Ingrid Jensen, April 12, Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club; Twins Jazz Orchestra, April 13, Twins Jazz; Howard University Jazz Ensemble, April 13, Smithsonian National Museum of American History/Coulter Plaza; Allyn Johnson, April 14, Montpelier Arts Center/Laurel; Bowie State Jazz Ensemble, April 14, Westminster Presbyterian Church; Discovery Artist/Marquis Hill Blacktet, April 14, Kennedy Center ;Tim Whalen, April 14-15, Twins Jazz; DADA People, April 15, Atlas Performing Arts Center; Integriti Reeves/Ella Fitzgerald Tribute, April 16, DC Jazz Jam/The Brixton; Erena Terakubo Quartet, April 18, Blues Alley ; JAZZForum/”The Life and Music of Tadd Dameron, April 19, UDC Recital Hall; Bill Heid, April 19, Jazz and Cultural Society; Lenore Raphael Quartet/Oscar Peterson Tribute, April 19, Bethesda Blues & Jazz.



Integrit Reeves leads an Ella Tribute

April 16 a the DC Jazz Jam
Also: Todd Marcus Orchestra, April 20, Atlas; Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, April 20, Museum of American History; Roberta Gambarini, April 21-23, Blues Alley; Greg Hatza/CD Release Party, April 21, Westminster; Celebrating Ella Fitzgerald’s 100th Birthday, April 22, Wesley United Methodist Church; Luis Faife Quartet, April 21-22, Twins Jazz; Jazz Talk/Allyn Johnson, April 23, Montpelier; Dante Pope, April 23, Jazz and Cultural Society; Dr. Lonnie Smith, April 23, Creative Alliance/Baltimore; Jessica Boykin-Settles/Ella Fitzgerald Tribute, April 23, DC Jazz Jam/The Brixton; Calvin Jones BIG BAND Festival, April 24, UDC University Auditorium; Afro Blue, April 24, Blues Alley; Jazz Piano in LeFrak Lobby, April 24, 25, 26, 28, Museum of American History; Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra w/Sharon Clark, April 25, Blues Alley; Cyrus Chestnut, April 26, Bethesda Blues & Jazz;

photo by Michael Wilderman


Andrew White’s 75th birthday bash

is April 26 at Blues Alley.





Andrew White’s 75th Birthday Celebration, April 26, Blues Alley; Jimmy Cobb/Four Generations of Miles, April 27-30, Blues Alley; George Washington University Latin Jazz Band, April 27, Museum of American History; Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald/Alison Crockett, April 28, Westminster; Thinking About Jazz/Ella Fitzgerald Celebrating 100 years, April 29, Westminster; Marty Nau, April 30, Twins Jazz; Imani Grace Cooper/Ella Fitzgerald Tribute, April 30, DC Jazz Jam/The Brixton; Jazz Lecture/Ella Fitzgerald, Stefon Harris Master Class, April 30, Levine School of Music.





Sharon Clark appears with the Smithsonian Jazz

Masterworks Orchestra April 25 at Blues Alley.





A Buck Hill Day – Revisited

photo by Michael Wilderman
The remarkable Mr. Roger Wendell “Buck” Hill was a leading force on the tenor saxophone, as well as a fine clarinet and flute player, and a formidable composer and bandleader as well during his years on this side of ancestry. After his funeral Sunday at Westminster, he was honored by a jam session featuring many of his former cohorts in the music and many who learned at his knee, including Davey Yarborough, Michael Thomas, Jerry Jones, William Knowles, Darius Scott, Kent Miller, Tracy Cutler, Antonio Parker, Cheyney Thomas, Roberta Washington, Nasar Abadey, Russell Carter Sr., Wes Biles, Fred Foss and others.



Here is a look back at “Giving Flowers …” while you are still around, a report in the Jazz Avenues BLOG, on the June 2013 Buck Hill tribute:
“Buck Hill Day a jamming tribute

“Speaking of special tributes, thanks again from all of us Buck Hill fans to those who made the Roger ”Buck” Hill tribute June 30 a star-studded event and a great day of music for the large crowd that gathered at Queen’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Beltsville, Md.
The Buck Hill Tribute Band — Davey Yarborough, sax, Michael Thomas, trumpet, Jon Ozment, piano, James “Tex” King, bass, Keith Killgo, drums — led the way with a jamming set featuring Hill originals, including “Jasing,” “The Sad Ones,” “Scope” and “Little Bossa.”
As King pointed out, Hill’s tune “The Sad Ones” is one of his tunes that ranks with any tune by anyone, and King played it lovingly, driving the haunting melody with his throbbing, lyrical lines. Known for his golden saxophone sound and witty and lyrically fascinating riffs and solos, it was appropriate that the tribute highlighted the complete musician Hill has been and remains.






From the top, Michael Thomas, Nasar Abadey,

James King and Fred Foss were among those

who attended Buck Hill event March 26 at Westminster.



Glowing, heartfelt tributes were made by many for Hill, seated in the front pew of the beautiful, two-year-old church, and dressed to the nines in a bright blue dress shirt, tie and black suspenders that had little silver saxophones on them on each side.
Tributes came from family members and from long distance from those like saxophone guru Andrew White, drummer Billy Hart, Lenny Cujoe, Bootsie Barnes and Ted Carter, all praising Hill’s humble nature and his willingness to mentor and help other musicians and his work ethic that helped him become an icon in the industry for his dynamic saxophone stylings.
Proclamations were read from Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, and artists and others on site also honored Hill fondly, with remarks from those including King, Ozment, Killgo, Yarborough and Thomas, as well as W.A. “Bill” Brower, Nasar Abadey, Chad Carter and many others.






Chad Carter attended the Buck Hil Tribute

in June 2013 and the services last week at Westminster.




Other artists honored Hill with their playing in the jam session that lasted well into the evening, with a special heartfelt number done by vocalist Sharon Clark, “I’ll Remember April,” particularly capturing the essence of the day.
Clark’s stirring vocals, and those of Julian Hipkins and Selena McDay were supported well by other musicians who came for the jam session, like pianist Darius Scott, saxophonists Antonio Parker and Frankie Addison and Whit Williams, drummer Gary Jenkins, saxophone master Fred Foss and guitarist Mark Mosley, and bassists Herman Burney and David Jernigan, among others.
Thanks to Cheyney and Tonya Thomas, Undaunted Productions, Queen’s Chapel United Methodist Church and its Rev. B. Kevin Smalls, Rusty Hassan and Ellen Carter of WPFW Pacifica Radio, and everyone who had a hand in making the Roger ”Buck” Hill Tribute a warm and memorable day.”



From “Violet Avenues: A Poetry of Jazz”:
cafe au lait
going on
the bandstand
now riffing
gruff, rough
tones chopping melodies
he gots rhythm
we gots rhythm
diving planes
of hawkins
divided by webster
multiplied by gordon
he gots rhythm.

breezes into
guts bucket
blues blowing
now lullaby
my sweet
your golden horn
Clapping hands bow to you
smiling man
brims golden melody.”





InPerson… Brad Mehldau’s “Three Pieces After Bach”
These engagements where artists cross over, so to speak, from the jazz world to play classical and jazz with classical motifs can be a unique treat for real patrons of music and art in general, as was the case when Washington Performing Arts presented pianist Brad Mehldau at Sixth & I in D.C. March 16. The event showcased Mehldau’s “Three Pieces After Bach,” a commissioned work he debuted two years ago and has since performed at selected venues. The real treat is when one forgets what one might have read in the program at the beginning of the show and just listens, and just enjoys, and then doesn’t really notice where the “classical’ ends and the “jazz” begins, and vice versa.
So on that mild late winter night, with signs of a recent snowfall still clinging to the busy streets and sidewalks as a crowd of patrons entered Sixth & I, an august, balconied chamber, to hear Mehldau, a celebrated figure in the jazz world with Grammy awards on his shelf, the luckiest one might have been one with no ties to any particular type of music, who just sat and listened when Mehldau entered, to solid applause, dressed in all dark attire, and smiling, and sat down in front of the gleaming Steinway, lowered his hands and began playing sprightly, light ripples of melodies, becoming more insistent but no less precise as he went along, his left hand chords driving the beat under the light ripples of melody, continuing to spiral his way through his journey, then segueing into more slightly jagged riffs, still driving the mood forward, having treated that lucky one to first Bach as laid down for centuries, then Mehldau innovations on tone and form.

The audience, a good crowd though not a packed house, was nonetheless at rapt attention throughout and applauded instantly when Mehldau would stop, before obviously then starting a new piece. For the record, the program had Mehldau start with J.S. Bach’s “Prelude No. 3 in C-sharp Major, BWV848” from The Well-Tempered Clavier, followed by Mehldau’s “After Bach 1: Rondo,” from his “Three Pieces of Bach” work and then J.S. Bach’s “Prelude No. 1 in C Major, BWV870,” then an “Improvisation on Bach I.” Then another J.S. Bach piece, Mehldau’s “After Bach 2: Ostinato and intermission. The second half featured a similar order of J.S. Bach, then Mehldau and so forth.

That first half then, following the sprightly, precision textured melodies of J.S. Bach — which to this listener seemed an appropriate call to spring, a prelude for us all waiting to be freed from cold and snow — with Mehldau’s first piece at first a meandering stroll, then stepping up to a methodical journey forward before taking off side to side with spirals upward, settling then into contemplative intensity, his head bending down occasionally in emphasis as chords delved deeper then lighter. His J.S. Bach passages seemed appropriately more ordered and straightforward for the most part, though Mehldau and Bach are an appropriate match since Bach himself was known for complex and multi-melody works as well as more ordered compositions.





The performance, enhanced by the Mehldau choreography of sometimes rippling along steadily, then gradually slowing and bending his head to the keys, then lifting his head, and his hands up gradually, before gently laying them back on the keys to softly weave a different tapestry of sound in another direction, took place in the center of the chamber bathed in spotlight, with, on each of side of him, giant golden candelabras with bright white bulbs for more illumination.

After the brief intermission, the second half of the program was highlighted by Mehldau’s “After Bach 3: Toccata, a jamming blend of flights of colors segueing into quiet respites before more ripples and further, higher intensity and more colors, all grounded by the left-hand chords, like a bass player grooving underneath him, seeming piano/bass duet soliloquies with more than a little blues here and there. Passages somewhat reminiscent of Mehldau’s “Ode,” an acclaimed piece of jazz that veers into classical motifs with its driving singlemindedness over the top, though with diverging colors.

At the close of the final “Improvisation on Bach” the applause was steady and resounding and there were some shouts as Mehldau stood, and gently bowed, smiling, to the audience. “Thanks very much,” he said, “it’s great to be here … thanks for going with me on my Bach journey.”

He ended the formal program with the “J.S. Bach Prelude and Fugue in F minor,” with an almost waltz-like dreamy delivery, then the improvisation afterward stepped up the cadence, the intensity, the colors, adding layers, different melodies, pausing for a time for deeper more somber notes, then taking off again, rippling higher notes in a joyful romp, echoing the opening passages of the evening, seeming to call to meadows and blue skies and greenery all around, with streams and brooks winding just over the rise, an insistent stream of rhythms and colors up and down the scale, then gently slowing, as the sun might be slowly setting in the far sky, as dusk approaches, then dimming to a quiet end.

The steady applause as he rose and bowed, and then walked off, called for an encore, and he came back and delivered a Mehldau favorite, a sweetly opening “And I Love Her,” the popular Beatles tune, careful and melodic and poetic then more forceful and propulsive taking off on the melody to enhance it with layers of ordered passages interwoven with jazzier riffs.

Steve Monroe is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C. He can be reached at steve@jazzavenues.com or @jazzavenues.





Jazz Avenues March 2017 BLOG

By Steve Monroe

…follow @jazzavenues




Trombonist, arranger – and pioneer
for women in jazz, Melba Liston

“Melba [Liston] had the incredible ability of making musicians sound better through what she wrote for them. That’s the mark of a great arranger,” says jazz master pianist, composer and bandleader Randy Weston in his autobiography, “African Rhythms,” written with our own DC Jazz Festival guru Willard Jenkins. “She wrote for Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Quincy Jones, Gloria Lynne, the Supremes, Bob Marley …”




photo from http://www.randyweston.info



Weston, whose career has included a National Endowment of the Arts tribute and many other awards, also said in the book: ” … By this time I had met Melba Liston and this record [“Little Niles”] became our first collaboration … [It] was a great example of the genius of Melba Liston. We had Jamil Nassar on bass, Johnny Griffin on tenor sax, Ray Copeland and Idrees Sulieman on trumpet, Charlie Persip on drums, and Melba Liston herself played trombone.”




Washington Women In Jazz events
headline rich weekend of sounds




Karine Chapedelaine



This March we again celebrate Women’s Month and we here honor the legacy of women in jazz, like Melba Liston, known for her musicianship and her arrangements, (born 1926 in Kansas City, MO.; died 1999) who helped pave the way for stars of today, like this year’s Washington Women In Jazz Festival performers Amy Bormet, Leigh Pilzer, Jessica Boykin-Settles, Sarah Hughes, Shannon Gunn, Laura Dryer and many others.
Bormet leads a band tonight, Friday, March 3 for “An Evening with the Washington Women in Jazz Festival at 6 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church. Performers include Bormet, piano and vocals,
Shacara Rogers, vocals, Gabrielle Murphy, alto sax, flute, Kim Sator, harp, Delandria Mills, flute, Karine Chapdelaine, bass and Ana Barreiro, drums.
Tomorrow, Saturday, March 4, WWJF presents a “Young Artist Showcase and Jam Sessions at Levine at THEARC in Southeast D.C., with “emerging jazz women musicians in high school and college,” per WWJF information. And uptown Saturday, eclectic multi-instrumentalist Anita Thomas appears with the Amy K. Bormet Trio at Wesley Church, 5312, Connecticut Avenue N.W. WWJF performers will also appear Sunday, March 5 at the DC Jazz Jam at The Brixton Restaurant and Friday March 10 at Bowie State University, with Bormet on piano, Hughes and Vinkeloe, saxophones, Karine Chapdelaine, bass and Savannah Harris, drums.




Jessica Boykin-Settles appears at the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum March 11.

Other WWJF events this month include vocalist-educator Jessica Boykin-Settles’ show, “Oh Ella! Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Ella Fitzgerald,” a Rhythm Café performance at 2 p.m., Saturday, March 11 at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Place, S.E. The free event features “a special tribute to one of jazz music’s most distinctive voices known for her scat style of singing, diction and perfect pitch.” Museum information advises to register early, online or by calling 202.633.4844. See http://www.anacostia.si.edu for complete information. And Swedish alto saxophonist/flautist and bandleader Biggi Vinkeloe leads an Improvisation Workshop at 2 p.m. March 12 at Robert Harper Books, 6216 Rhode Island Avenue, in Riverdale Park, Md.

See http://www.washingtonwomeninjazz.com for complete information on WWJF events.





Ella Fitzgerald



Other women performers this month include award-winning composer and conductor Maria Schneider and her Orchestra Saturday, March 4 at the Kennedy Center, and The Jennifer Scott World Jazz Ensemble Saturday, March 4 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, as part of its 2017 Intersections Festival.
Vocalist Christie Dashiell is at the Kennedy Center Jazz Club March 11, vocalist Alison Crockett will perform March 11 at Twins Jazz, while Vocalist Danielle Wertz appears March 11 at The Alex inside The Graham Georgetown Boutique Hotel, with Howard University’s own, vocalist Shacara Rogers at the Alex March 18.





Danielle Wertz is at The Alex in Georgetown March 11.

Christie Dashiell

Christie Dashiell is at the Kennedy Center Jazz Club March 11.


Lori Williams is at Westminster Presbyterian Church March 24.




Dynamic multi-genre vocalist Lori Williams will appear March 24 at Westminster. Vocalist Jackie Ryan appears March 26 at The Baltimore Museum of Art, and vocalist Marianne Matheny-Katz performs March 26 at O’Callaghan Annapolis Hotel, with a band that includes saxophonist Craig Alston, Vince Evans, piano, Eric Kennedy, drums and Tom Baldwin, bass.
And, women are featured at the Montpelier Arts Center jazz series in Laurel, Md. this month with Baltimore’s internationally known vocalist Ethel Ennis March 9; vocalist Esther Williams with her husband Davey Yarborough March 10; vocalist Kristin Callahan performing with the Thad Wilson Quartet March 17; saxophonist Laura Dreyer appearing March 24; and the series closes with the special event “Women in Jazz: From Classrooms to Careers” March 26, with Dreyer, trombonist and bandleader Shannon Gunn and others. Call 301-377-7800 or 410-792-0664 for more information on the Montpelier jazz.





Kristin Callahan is at The Montpelier Arts Center

with Thad Wilson March 17.



Pianists Johnson Evans, Mehldau, Eldar highlight other events

Our own pianist Allyn Johnson, jazz studies director at the University of the District of Columbia, performs Saturday, March 4 at the Intersections Festival at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, presenting “Music of D.C. Musicians Past and Present” for a 6 p.m. show. Later this month, Johnson plays host for this month’s JAZZforum March 21 at the UDC Recital Hall (Bldg 46-West) when he interviews living legend educator Dr. Arthur Dawkins, former professor and director of jazz studies at Howard University. See http://www.jazzaliveudc.org.


Allyn Johnson appears March 4 at the Intersections Festival

at the Atlas and hosts the JAZZForum with Dr. Arthur Dawkins

March 21 at UDC.




Pianist Orrin Evans is at the Arts Club of Washington March. 6.

Philadelphia’s young master pianist Orrin Evans plays the Arts Club of Washington Monday, March 6 for a 7 p.m. show in the club’s piano jazz series. Publicity for the show notes that Evans “… keeps his music on the front burner with the neo-soul/acid jazz ensemble Luv Park, the collective trio Tarbaby, and the raucous Captain Black Big Band. With 25 CD’s to his credit, Mr. Evans paints with a broad musical brush that encompasses small and large jazz ensembles, poetry collaborations, and film scoring.” See http://www.artsclubofwashington.org.
Another highly acclaimed pianist, Brad Mehldau appears at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in downtown D.C. March 16. See http://www.bradmehldau.com. Eldar, the “pyrotechnic” marvel of a pianist appears with his trio March 22 at Blues Alley. See http://www.eldarmusic.com.



image from http://www.washingtonperformingarts.org



OTHER MARCH EVENTS INCLUDE: Jeff Antoniuk and The Jazz Update, March 3-4, Twins Jazz; Chuck Redd, March 4, The Alex/Georgetown; Project Natale, March 8, Alice’s Jazz and Cultural Society (JACS); Antonio Parker & Friends, March 10, Westminster; Marty Nau, March 15, Twins Jazz; Steve Washington, March 15, JACS; Nicholas Payton CD Release Party, March 15-16, Blues Alley; Brad Mehldau, March 16, Sixth & I Historic Synagogue; Twins Jazz Orchestra, March 16, 30, Twins Jazz; Michael Thomas Quintet, March 17-18, Twins Jazz; Arnold Sterling’s Favorite Sons, March 17, Westminster Presbyterian Church; Rick Alberico, March 19, Twins Jazz; Howard Kingfish Franklin, March 19, JACS; Allyn Johnson Meet the Artist/Dr. Arthur Dawkins, March 21, UDC Recital Hall/Bldg. 46 West; Cheyney Thomas, March 22, JACS; Eldar Trio, March 22, Blues Alley; Kevin Eubanks Group, March 23-26, Blues Alley; R&B Jazz Quintet/Kenny Rittenhouse, Herman Burney, March 24-25, Twins Jazz; Jordon Dixon, March 26, DC Jazz Jam/The Brixton; Marianne Matheny-Katz, March 26, O’Callaghan Annapolis Hotel; Meet the Artist/Ralph Peterson, March 28, UDC Recital Hall; Roy Hargrove, March 28-31, Blues Alley; JAZZforum/Bob Porter: Soul Jazz, March 29, UDC Recital Hall; Reginald Cyntje, March 31, Twins Jazz; Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra/Women in Jazz: The Influence of Ella Fitzgerald, Mary Lou Williams and Lil Hardin Armstrong, March 31, Museum of American History; Howard University Jazz Ensemble, March 31, Westminster; Jazz Night at The Movies/Nat King Cole, March 31, Westminster; Todd Marcus, March 31, Montpelier …




The Michael Thomas Quintet is at Twins Jazz March 17-18


Todd Marcus is at Montepelier March 31.




“Tell Me More and Then Some”

“Baltimore was geographically located conveniently in the center of New York, Atlantic City and Washington D.C. It was also not too far from Chicago and New Orleans. With a central location in the country, it was a common stopping point for many well-known touring musicians,” says information on the website for the film in production, “Tell Me More and then Some,” about jazz in Baltimore.
“It was home to a variety of night clubs and destinations that included … the famous Royal Theatre on Pennsylvania Ave, a definitive stop on the Chitlin Circuit. Baltimore hosted legends such as Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong and Lionel Hampton. All the while, simultaneously having a strong local music and entertainment scene that included Eubie Blake, Chick Webb and Cab Calloway. Even the famous Lady Day spent most of her youth and teenage years growing up in Baltimore. It was a city that was an essential part of American jazz History.”
Stay tuned. See http://www.tellmemoreandthensome.com for complete information, and to donate to donate to this worthy venture.




Capitol Hill Jazz Foundation


photo by Steve Monroe

Herb Scott performing at the Mid-Atlantic

Jazz Festival in February.




Saxophonist/jazz activist Herb Scott said recently he is launching the website soon for his Capitol Hill Jazz Foundation, at http://www.capitolhilljazzfoundation.org. Scott, who spoke about the foundation at the February Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival panel presentation on “Jazz Preservation, Education and Promulgation: Building A Mid-Atlantic Network,” says “The mission of the foundation is to produce a weekly jazz jam session, annual jazz festival and Conference and, daily arts advocacy related work. Our mission is to financially assist D.C. based Jazz musicians, venues and Jazz education programs.”
–InPerson … Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival


Vanessa Rubin, dazzling in her gold-sequined top and white pants, sang in a shout to the large crowd, “Are You Ready for Me?” at the feature show the first night of the 8th Annual Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival at the Hilton Hotel & Meeting Executive Center in Rockville last month. Then Rubin, with her guest Paul Carr, the festival impresario himself playing tenor sax, sang her way through a thoroughly entertaining set, including a rousing “All Blues,” delighting her fans and officially kicking off the festival.
Indeed, a VIP pre-event the night before featuring Delfeayo Marsalis and the Uptown Rhythm Orchestra was a blast, per reports, and that first afternoon the T.C. Williams (Alexandria, Va.) High School jazz band and then trumpeter DeAndrey Howard & Collector’s Edition with sax man Tracy Cutler opened the weekend with some spicy sounds. Howard and Cutler shined on “Theme for Maxine,” “Yesterdays” and other tunes, along with pianist Bob Butta. Alto sax man Herb Scott, backed by pianist Hope Udobi’s melodic riffs. played a fine set that evening at the MAJF Club, with standards and originals, like his “Catch Me At The Jazz Show” jazzy rapping jam.



paulcarr2 (2)

Paul Carr



Saturday that weekend opened in the large hotel atrium with Carr’s Jazz Academy of Music group, highlighted by its Latin jam “Armando’s Hideaway,” the horns singing sweetly over he catchy beats of the rhythm section, and then the Olney Big Band delivered a fiery session of standards, with swinging horn section riffs.
The festival’s vocalist competition highlighted our own Danielle Wertz, shining on “Beautiful Love,” and a fine performance by Monica Pabelonio, among the other contestants, but Boston’s Lydia Harrell, with her dramatic, heartfelt and sultry phrasing on tunes like “Black Butterfly,” stole the show for this observer. Then Noel Simone Wippler, the 2016 MAJF vocal winner, delivered a hot set of her own, the statuesque beauty a sultry, hip-shaking wonder on tunes like “Sophisticated Lady” and “Moody’s Mood for Love.”
Also on Saturday, the panel discussion moderated by producer, journalist, promoter W.A. “Bill” Brower on “Jazz Preservation, Education and Promulgation: Building A Mid-Atlantic Network,” featured Scott, Barbara Grubbs of Contemporary Arts Inc., Prof. Judith Korey, Curator Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives at UDC, vocalist/jazz activists Aaron Meyers and others for a lively session that aired thoughts and action steps on providing a better nurturing environment for jazz, including its musicians, its venues and its audiences.
The East Carolina University Jazz Ensemble, with saxes and swinging horns overall, wowed he atrium crowd, with vocalist “Samantha Kunz” soaring on “Stella By Starlight” and “I Wish I Would Know How It Would Feel to be Free” and “September. Vocalist Kathy Kosins delivered a bluesy, downhome set and the Guitar Summit featured Russell Malone, Paul Bollenback and Bobby Broom strummed up a storm with their session Saturday night.



JanelleGillArtsClubof Wash

Janelle Gill


Akua Allrich


Karen Lovejoy at Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival


The MAJF Collective, Akua Allrich on vocals, Janelle Gill, piano, and Savannah Harris, drums, were a highlight that Sunday of the festival, Allrich a witty and engaging entertainer as well as a stirring vocalist, leading the way on tunes like “My Baby Just Cares for Me,” “Black Coffee,” and her own tunes like “Take My Time” and “Red Bark,” with Gill’s insistent melodic charms on piano and Harris’ efficient drum passages complimenting Allrich’s rich and bluesy vocals and scatting riffs. Vocalist Karen Lovejoy, the “Jazz Goddess,” had a fine set of her own that day on “Close Your Eyes,” “St. Louis Blues,” here with her own sultriness and her vintage half-cry phrasing and then bluesy, finger-snapping, blues shouts. The Paul Carr Quartet that night featured Carr’s bluesy sax, and vocalist Jamie Davis’ booming baritone romantic treats on tunes like “Night and Day.”

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

Jazz Avenues November BLOG 2016

by Steve Monroe

… follow @jazzavenues




Just happened to be enjoying the classic CD “Pres and Teddy” by The Lester Young-Teddy Wilson Quartet (Verve, 1956), and focusing on the exquisiteness of Wilson’s piano playing and realized Wilson (1912-1986) is one of our birthday heroes this month, and his birthday Nov. 24 is also Thanksgiving Day.

From the book “Jazz Portraits” by Len Lyons and Don Perlo, William Morrow and Company Inc., 1989: “ Working with the legacy of rough-hewn and powerfully exciting stride pianists, Wilson sculpted complex and cleanly articulated right-hand melodies that inspired his descendants to improvise with greater refinement and sophistication. He was best known in the late 1930s for his work with the Benny Goodman quartet that included Lionel Hampton and Gene Krupa, although he is equally celebrated by musicians for his elegant accompaniment of Billie Holiday during the same period.

“Wilson’s parents were both teachers at Sam Houston State University in Texas, until the family moved to Alabama, where Teddy grew up. His father became head of he English department at the Tuskegee Institute, and his mother was a librarian. Teddy studied music there and at Talladega College, where he developed an appreciation for the classics and a disciplined, schooled approach to the music …”







Sterling pianist Larry Brown has a busy month, playing

Friday Nov. 4 and Sat. Nov. 5 at Twins Jazz; Nov. 18 at

Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club; and Nov. 19 at

Germano/Piattini’s in Baltimore.



Marshall, Brown, Marten, Seikaly and Meadows
highlight first November jazz weekend

Keyboardist Terry Marshall, pianist Larry Brown, vocalists Gail Marten and Lena Seikaly, and entertainer/keyboard specialist Mark Meadows are featured performers as November jazz gets into high gear.
Marshall leads an ensemble Friday Nov. 4 at Westminster Presbyterian Church (see more below). Meanwhile, pianist Larry Brown kicks off a two-night stay at Twins jazz with his quintet, including Kent Miller on bass, Greg Holloway on drums, Thad Wilson on trumpet, and Peter Fraize on tenor sax.

Also on Fri Nov. 4, there will be a “Staged Reading and Jazz Performance” ($20) at the Jazz and Cultural Society, on 12th Street N.E. in D.C., featuring the Black Women’s Playwright Group and Changamire. On Sunday Nov. 6 the Firm Roots Organ Trio plays at JACS (www.jazzandculturalsociety.com).
Up the road a bit, a fundraiser for Bridges to Housing Stability Saturday Nov. 5 features vocalist Gail Marten with her quartet, the Wake Campbell Quartet and a band led by a D.C. area favorite, sax man Ron Holloway, in a concert at the Owen Brown Interfaith Center, 7246 Cradlerock Way in Columbia. Tickets are $65 available at wwwevenbrite.com/e/just-jazz-in-tickets-26934526895, or call 410-312-5760 for more information.



Keyboardist Terry Marshall leads a group

Friday Nov. 4 at Westminster Presbyterian Church.




Vocalist Lena Seikaly performs

Sat. Nov. 5 at The Alex in Georgetown.
Meanwhile Saturday Nov. 5 marks the kickoff of pianist Chris Grasso’s latest vocalist series, “Speakeasy Jazz Nights at Alex,” a brand new venue, with Lena Seikaly and guitarist Steve Herberman to perform. The Alex – formally named The Alex Craft Cocktail Cellar – is the bar/lounge on the ground floor of The Graham Georgetown, a sleek boutique hotel in Georgetown in D.C. See http://www.chrisgrassomusic.com or http://www.thegrahamgeorgetown.com for more information. And if you have time, check out the rooftop bar. Also Sat. Nov. 5, Chucho Valdes and the Joe Lovano Quintet appear at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue (www.washingtonperformingarts.org).
On Monday Nov. 7 Mark Meadows, having made his mark recently as an entertainer and vocalist as well as pianist in the recent “Jelly’s Last Jam” production, performs Monday, Nov. 7 in the Piano Jazz Series at the Arts Club of Washington. In Bethesda on Monday Nov. 7 Larry Carlton is at Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club.



Songstress Kristine Key takes the stage

Nov. 9 at Jazz and Cultural Society.




Other November highlights include: Vocalist Kristine Key performs Nov. 9 at JACS; UDC saxophone ace Jordon Dixon Nov. 10, Twins Jazz; Peabody Jazz Combo Series, Nov. 10,Peabody Institute/Baltimore; McCoy Tyner Quartet Nov. 11-12, Blues Alley; Jeff Cosgrove Trio/ w Matthew Shipp, Nov. 11, An Die Musik/Baltimore … David Murray Quintet, Nov. 12, An Die Musik; Michel Nirenberg, Nov. 11-12, Twins Jazz; McCoy Tyner Quartet, Nov. 11-12, Blues Alley; Alison Crockett/Geoff Reecer, Nov. 12,The Alex at The Graham Georgetown; Wayne Shorter, Nov. 12, Kennedy Center; and Elijah Balbed, Nov. 13, The Brixton/DC Jazz Jam.




Young lion sax man Elijah Balbed

leads the DC Jazz Jam at The Brixton

Nov. 13 and plays with The JoGo Project

Nov. 21 at Blues Alley.



SAMphotoSharonClark (2)

Sharon Clark performs with Chris Grasso

at Jazz and Cultural Society Nov. 13 and

at The Alex Nov. 19.



Dazzling entertainer and vocalist

Roberta Gambarini appears at Blues Alley Nov. 17-20






Also: Vocal masterclass with Chris Grasso and Sharon Clark Nov. 13, JACS; Arturo O’Farrill Afro/Latin Jazz Quintet, Nov. 13, Baltimore Museum of Art; Omar Sosa & JOG Trio, Nov. 14, Blues Alley; The Bridge Trio, Nov. 14, Kennedy Center/Millennium Stage; Darden Purcell CD Release Party, Nov. 15, Blues Alley; Michael Thomas Quintet, Nov. 15, Bethesda Blues & Jazz; BSO: Doc Severinsen and Friends—The Art of the Big Band, Nov. 17, Music Center at Strathmore; Jazz Band Master Class, Nov. 17, Twins Jazz; Vince Evans Quintet, Nov. 18, Westminster; Larry Brown, Nov. 18, Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club; Roberta Gambarini, Nov. 17-20, Blues Alley; Jeff Antoniuk & The Jazz Update, Nov. 18-19, Twins Jazz; Tia Fuller’s Angelic Warrior Quartet, Nov. 19, Kennedy Center; Sharon Clark, Nov. 19, The Alex; Larry Brown, Nov. 19, Germano’s Piattini/Baltimore; Victor Provost, Nov. 20, The Brixton/DC Jazz Jam; Elijah Balbed & The JoGo Project, Nov. 21, Blues Alley; Swing Shift, Nov. 22, Blues Alley; Lionel Lyles, Nov. 23, JACS; Bobby Felder’s Big Band, Nov. 25, Westminster; Jazz Night at the Movies: Horace Silver, Nov. 25, Westminster; Benito Gonzalez, Nov. 25-26, An Die Musik/Baltimore; Bruce Williams, Nov. 25-26, Blues Alley; Danielle Wertz/Jonah Udall, Nov. 26, The Alex; Joe Herrera, Nov. 27, The Brixton/DC Jazz Jam; Carl Bartlett, Nov. 27, JACS; Heidi Martin Quartet “Celebrating Abbey Lincoln,” Nov. 29, Blues Alley.



Vocalist Danielle Wertz appears with

guitarist Steve Herberman Nov. 26

at The Alex.






Master percussionist Lenny Robinson

appears with Paul Carr (below) when Sharon Clark sings

Nov. 11 at Westminster, along with Chris Grass on piano

and Tommy Cecil on bass.



Paul Carr




Many Thanks We Give to Westminster

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this month, we give many thanks for Westminster Presbyterian Church at 400 I Street in Southwest D.C., a place that as its web site says, “… is an accepting, caring, risk-taking community, open to the Spirit in people and places too often rejected and ignored.” And a place which since 1999 has provided always entertaining Jazz Nights for a modest fee, as well as delicious food on Friday nights, and since 2006 a Blues Monday on Monday nights.
“Jazz Night in DC presents some of the finest jazz musicians in a lively presentation of classical, straight-ahead jazz every Friday,” says the website and this month is no different, featuring the Terry Marshall Ensemble Friday Nov. 4, with Marshall on piano, Iva Ambush, Decosta Brown and Kendra Johnson, vocals, Ben Young, guitar, David Marsh, bass and Francis Thompson, drums.



Hall of Fame music maker and educator Bobby Felder

leads his big band Nov. 25 at Westminster.
Next up will be dynamic, widely-acclaimed songstress Sharon Clark on Nov. 11, with Chris Grasso on piano, Paul Carr, sax, Tommy Cecil, bass and Lenny Robinson, drums. On Nov.18 the Vince Evans Quintet Nov. 18 takes the stage with Evans on piano and vocals, Freddie Dunn, trumpet, Craig Alston, sax, Eliot Seppa, bass and Jay Jefferson, drums. The annual appearance by the Bobby Felder Big Band provides a rousing climax for the month on Nov. 25, with the legendary trombonist, bandleader and educator Felder featuring Queen Aisha on vocals, Michael Thomas, trumpet, Herb Scott, sax and many others.



Craig Alston, Baltimore’s own, is to play

with Bobby Felder’s Big Band Nov. 25 at Westminster.




Trumpet maestro Michael Thomas

is to play Nov. 15 at Bethesda Blues & Jazz,

and with Bobby Felder’s Big Band Nov. 25 at Westminster.
Our master percussionist, composer and bandleader Nasar Abadey, a frequent performer at Westminster over all these years, said this in a statement:
“Westminster Presbyterian Church has for years been committed to presenting quality (jazz} music at affordable prices on a consistent basis. Additionally, Dick Smith with Reverend Brian Hamilton’s backing and support, have maintained that only area based musicians are allowed to perform there. For that audience you have to play the truth; gotta be real or they’ll walk out on you or not show up at all. I look at the whole idea as a community service to perform there because many patrons of the church are on a fixed income and it gives me great pleasure to perform for such an appreciative audience. I could write a book about them but I’ll save THAT for later!”
So, thank you to the church and its leadership, co-pastors Brian and Ruth Hamilton. We appreciate, as the website says and their programs over the years have shown, “their creative, authentic, and innovative ministry.”
For more information, go to http://www.westminsterdc.org, or call 202-484-7700.





Legendary programmer and

award-winning advocate

for the music Bobby Hill Jr.



Bobby Hill Now at WOWD-LP

Bobby Hill tells us he has “transitioned” from WPFW-FM 89.3, his longtime home (a big loss for them) to the new WOWD-LP, the Takoma Park startup playing many types of alternative music including several jazz programs. Hill’s email alert:
Did you hear? After 3-decades plus, Bobby Hill has transitioned from WPFW to WOWD. WOWD is Takoma Park’s NEW! FM (94.3FM) & streaming (takomaradio.org) radio station. Bobby brings and shares:“This! Music” – Free, improvised and other creative forms of jazz-based music. No standards. No standard repertoire. Saturdays 10AM-1PM.”





photo courtesy Assaf Kehati

The Assaf Kehati Trio at Blues Alley Oct. 24.




InPerson … Assaf Kehati

Guitarist Assaf Kehati’s trio performed for a good crowd at Blues Alley last month, displaying a nimble sound that floated from jazz to jazz rock and more than a little jazzy blues rock at times.
Kehati, originally from Israel came to the states in 2007 and has played with performers such as George Garzone, Donny McCaslin, Anat Cohen and drummers Victor Lewis and Billy Hart. He has received acclaim for his albums “A View From My Window,” “Flowers and Other Stories,” and “Naked.
That night at Blues Alley Kehati, along with a humorous, entertaining stage presence that enlivened the evening and brought smiles from the crowd, displayed a deft touch and a feel for bright melodicism, shown on tunes like “My Little Sunshine,” with Kehati strumming gently at the start, then picking up the cadence with darting lines of free spirited joy, “Englishman in New York” and “Enjoy the Silence.”




Assaf Kehati
High points of the set included Kehati’s playfulness on an intriguing arrangement of “Old Devil Moon,” but also some inventive, straight ahead riffing. “Naked,” the title tune from his latest album, which Kehati described as talking about “being true to who you are and what you are about,” was a mystical dramatic journey with his contemplative lines of racy and bluesy searching, and exploring emotions.
“Can You Come for A Second,” became a jamming, foot-stomping bluesy trip, Kehati picking, then strumming intensely, over the throbbing bass of Michael O’Brien and the efficient rapping and cymbal work by drummer Peter Traunmueller.

For more information see http://www.assafkehati.com.







InReview … Christie Dashiell “Time All Mine”

A songbird known for her many flights of uplifting vocals with Howard University’s award-winning Afro Blue group and recordings by Reginald Cyntje and Sin Qua Non in particular, Christie Dashiell, a semifinalist in last year’s Thelonious Monk vocalist competition has stepped out with a formidable debut CD, “Time All Mine” on the House Studio Records label.
Highlights include the title tune, with Dashiell’s elegant vocals embellishing “time” in the stirring choruses, as well as “Dreamland,” an enchanting, catchy melody ride, “Dynasty,” featuring Dashiell’s seamless, quicksilver scats, “Oh,” a true gem for its emotive and rhythmic simplicity and urgent and soaring Dashiell phrasings. The true standout is “How to Love,” with Dashiell’s frank, open and pure storytelling delivery in a song, and song in a story dramatic interplay.
For more information, see http://www.christiedashiell.com.






InReview …. Michael Tracy’s “Hora Certa”

From Russia to Japan to Brazil and many locations in between, educator Michael Tracy has earned laurels as one of our foremost “Ambassadors of Jazz” – and he plays a pretty mean saxophone too.
“I love being in Brazil, being around my Brazilian friends in their homeland and in the States,” says Tracy on the liner notes of his most recent CD, “Hora Certa.” “ … ‘My Brazilian Journey’ started in 1998, my first of many trips … It is my hope that this recording shares that journey, that love of the music, the life of this country and its people.”




Saxophonist and professor Michael Tracy.
Indeed “Hora Certa” (or “Right Time”) flows through the speakers as a song of enjoyment, with the tunes, all originals by the musicians on the CD, recorded in March and May 2015.
The title tune “Hora Certa,” sizzles with Tracy’s tenor saxophone riffs ripping and rolling over the hot guitar of Eudes Carvalho, the rippling piano of Flavio Silva, Hamilton Pinheiro’s bluesy and grooving bass lines and Pedro Almeida’s colorful melodies and whipping riffs of his own on drums.
“Bem Brazil” highlights Silva’s ringing touch on piano and Tracy’s bluesy, wailing tenor flights. “Waltz for Julia” showcases Carvalho’s sweet strumming on guitar and “Com Pressa,” maybe the highlight for its twists in rhythms and spiraling intensity, is an insistent jam, featuring Tracy and Silva exchanging hot licks. “Para Casa” is a highlight because of Tracy’s searing tenor in its melancholy contemplative mode, squeezing every ounce of feeling from a phrase. “Volta ao Mundo” shows off Tracy’s soaring soprano sax melody-making – and Silva’s on piano.
But virtually every tune on “Hora Certa” is its own highlight.
Tracy earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Louisville and is a professor and director of the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Studies Program at the University of Louisville School of Music, says his website. He has played with performers such as Ella Fitzgerald, Buddy Rich, J. J. Johnson, Curtis Fuller, Johnny Mathis, Marvin Hamlish, the Four Tops and the Temptations. Not your normal highbrow.
See http://www.michaeltracy.com or http://www.cdbaby.com for more information.

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

Jazz Avenues September/October BLOG 2016

by Steve Monroe

… follow @jazzavenues




“Influenced by Gil Evans, Duke Ellington, and Tadd Dameron, [Jimmy] Heath’s compositions have broadened the scope of modern jazz …including the enduring ‘CTA,’ “Gemini,’ “Gingerbread Boy,’ and ‘The Quota” … [Heath] … moved to New York and recorded regularly for Riverside with sidemen such as Herbie Hancock, Donald Byrd, Freddie Hubbard, and Cannonball Adderley. On recordings from this period, Heath’s lyrical lines explore the harmonic possibilities of standard chord changes. His rich, powerful tone and aggressive phrasing resemble the sound of John Coltrane, with whom he had played frequently in Philadelphia. As a composer, Heath scores lush chord voicings, counterpoint, and double-time ensemble figures; yet his charts retain the bare rhythmic vitality of hard bop. By skillfully assigning parts for his small groups, he captures the dynamism of a big band performance …”
…from the book “Jazz Portraits” by Len Lyons and Don Perlo, William Morrow and Company Inc., 1989.




Akua Allrich performs her annual tribute to

Nina Simone and Miriam Makeba Oct. 9

at the Atlas Performing Arts Center.




Crockett, Tseng, Caverns band,
Jones, Balt Jazz Fest, top weekend

You can enjoy the Alison Crockett Experience, Emy Tseng, the Bohemian Caverns Band and Eugenie Jones among other musical delights this weekend.
The always entertaining jazzy, soulful vocalist Crockett entertains at Westminster Presbyterian Church tonight, Sept. 30, with Thad Wilson on trumpet, Wayne Wilentz, piano, David Jernigan, bass and Lenny Robinson, drums – a true all-star band of virtuoso players. Later at the church Jazz Night at the Movies features “Sarah Vaughan: The Divine One.”
Also tonight, jazz Brazilian vocalist Tseng presents a concert at Casa Phoenix, 1307 Corcoran Street N.W. in D.C. with guitarist Matvei Sigalov and Sunday, Oct. 1, Tseng is at Adams Morgan Porchfest with guitarist David Rosenblatt. See http://www.emytseng.com for more information.



Master pianist Wayne Wilentz plays tonight Sept. 30

with vocalist Alison Crockett and friends at Westminster

Presbyterian Church and is a regular with his trio during

Sunday brunch at Georgia Brown’s restaurant in downtown D.C.



The Bohemian Caverns Band performs tonight at the Montpelier Arts Center in Laurel and vocalist Eugenie Jones performs tonight and Saturday night at Twins Jazz, with the Annapolis Jazztet performing Sunday Oct. 2 at Twins.
Saturday Oct. 1 features the first Baltimore Jazz Fest (see below) at Druid Hill Park, courtesy of the Baltimore Jazz Alliance and others. Monday night features pianist Yoko Miwa, a staff member at the Berklee College of Music, for Piano Jazz at the Arts Club of Washington, 2017 I Street N.W., courtesy of Burnett Thompson Music. See http://www.yokomiwa.com for email Thompson at burnett@pianojazz.com for ticket information.



Yoka Miwa plays for the Piano Jazz series

Monday Oct. 3 at the Arts Club of Washington.



Other October highlights include: The Luis Faife Quartet at Jazz and Cultural Society Oct. 5; Saxophonist Herb Scott at Blues Alley Oct. 5; Joshua Bayer/Paul Carr and CD Live—Six by Five at Westminster Oct. 7; Gary Bartz at the Kennedy Center Oct.7, (see below); the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra presents “Jazz, Blues and Civil Rights” Oct. 8 at the National Museum of American History; Prodigy pianist Joey Alexander at Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club Oct. 8-9; Akua Allrich presents her annual Nina Simone, Miriam Makeba tribute Oct. 9 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center; Percussion maestro and bandleader Nasar Abadey and Super Nova at Blues Alley Oct. 12; Cheyney Thomas at Jazz and Cultural Society Oct. 12; vocalist/guitarist Heidi Martin: ABBEY! at the Atlas Oct. 13-14; DeAndrey Howard/Collector’s Edition Oct. 14 at Westminster; Reginald Cyntje at Twins Jazz Oct. 14-15 and Pepe Gonzalez at Jazz and Cultural Society Oct. 16.



Nasar Abadey and Super Nova are at Blues Alley Oct. 12






Christie Dashiell

Vocalist Christie Dashiell is at The Mansion

at Strathmore Oct. 19.





Vocalese maestro George V. Johnson Jr.

performs at Christ Episcopal Church

in Clinton, Md. Oct. 23.

Also, Cheyney Thomas is at Twins Oct. 19; bassist James “Tex” King at Jazz and Cultural Society Oct. 19; Vocalist Christie Dashiell at The Mansion at Strathmore Oct. 19; Homecoming for Larry Brown at Westminster Oct. 21; The Airmen of Note with pianist Cyrus Chestnut at Schlesinger Concert Hall in Alexandria, Va. Oct. 21; Terry Marshall & Bridges Oct. 21 is at Montpelier; George V. Johnson Jr. at Christ Episcopal Church/Clinton MD Oct. 23; Guitarist Assaf Kehati at Blues Alley Oct. 24; Pianist Allyn Johnson’s Ensemble at UDC Recital Hall Oct. 25; and Cecile McClorin Salvant at Bethesda Blues & Jazz Oct. 29-30.




Photo from http://www.assafkehati.com

Guitarist Assaf Kehati, whose most recent CD

is “Naked,” released in 2014, has drawn acclaim for

his performances overseas and in New York, Toronto

and elsewhere. He plays at Blues Alley Oct. 24.





Baltimore Jazz Fest is here!

Coming Saturday, October 1 from 12 noon to 8:30 p.m. is Baltimore Jazz Fest 2016, “a free, family-friendly, full day of Baltimore jazz, held in beautiful Druid Hill Park in the heart of Baltimore City,” brought to us by the Baltimore Jazz Alliance and the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks. Featured performers include the Hot Club of Baltimore, the Clarence Ward III All-Stars, Rumba Club, the Dunbar Jazz Ensemble, the Greg Hatza ORGANization, Art Sherrod Jr. and the Baltimore Legends, a group including Bob Butta, John Lamkin Sr. and Carlos Johnson. See http://www.baltimorejazz.com.




Reginald Cyntje plays at Twins Jazz Oct. 14-15.




JJA Soprano Saxophonist of the Year

Jane Ira Bloom plays at the Kennedy Center Oct. 14.







Jazz returns at KenCen

Saxophone master Gary Bartz’s show Oct. 7 in the Terrace Gallery kicks off the return of the music after a summer break at the Kennedy Center for the 2016-17 season. Bartz, Baltimore’s own, a veteran of bands led by Art Blakey, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus and others, appeared at Howard University earlier this year. His most recent recording is “Coltrane Rules — Tao of a Music Warrior





Jimmy Heath’s autobiography is appropriately

titled “I Walked With Giants.”

Photo from http://www.jimmyheath.com
Other October shows at the Kennedy Center include soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom Oct. 14, and Fred Hersch Oct. 15, at the KC Jazz Club; Terence Blanchard and the E-Collective Oct. 22 at The Crossroads Club; and drummer Tootie Heath Oct. 29 at the KC Jazz Club. The month climaxes with “Jimmy Heath at 90,” on Oct. 30 at the Concert Hall, showcasing the living legend Philadelphia treasure Heath, the saxophonist, composer, arranger, bandleader, author and educator, whose birthday is Oct. 25.


Leonard exhibit illuminates the music

You still have  time to catch “In the Groove: Jazz Portraits by Herman Leonard” which will be on free exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in downtown D.C. until February. Leonard was a photographer considered an expert in capturing the essence of the moments of performances by those like Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Ella Fitzgerald, to name only a few. See http://www.npg.si.edu.





Award-winning alto saxophonist, composer and bandleader

Carl Grubbs performed a tribute to mentor John Coltrane

Sept. 24 at the Eubie Blake Cultural Center in Baltimore.





InPerson … Carl Grubbs Ensemble/Celebrating Coltrane

His edgy alto sax riffs spearing the air in the second floor jazz hall at the Eubie Blake Cultural Center in Baltimore that September Saturday afternoon, a capacity crowd of attentive listeners enjoyed Carl Grubbs’ tribute to John Coltrane in the “Celebrating Coltrane at 90” concert, while also enjoying his band mates Rene McLean on alto sax, Eric Byrd, piano, Blake Meister, bass and John Lamkin III, drums. Grubbs, the Philadelphia native who, as a cousin by marriage to Coltrane, learned the music firsthand from the legendary saxophonist as a youngster before embarking on his own career. That afternoon Grubbs dazzled on tunes like “Giant Steps” – mixing in “Body and Soul” phrases – “Round Midnight,” “Equinox” and others, with Byrd also a highlight with his insistent melodic runs on piano.


InPerson … Thad Wilson/Allyn Johnson, CBCF Jazz

The good folks at JAZZAlive at the University of the District of Columbia hosted a Meet the Artist program Sept. 20 with UDC jazz studies director and pianist Allyn Johnson interviewing and playing with trumpeter, composer, film score artist and bandleader Thad Wilson, exploring Wilson’s thoughts on his philosophies about producing the music, audiences and his background. The session featured the two playing duets, including Johnson’s tune “Brother Leo” (written, he said for Wilson, who is a Leo like Johnson), a romping flight of melodies and interplay between Wilson’s spearing trumpet lines and Johnson’s ripples and heavy bluesy chords on piano.




Photo by Steve Monroe


Thad Wilson, right, with Allyn Johnson

at UDC Meet the Artist program Sept. 20.

A few weeks before, captivating songstress Karen Lovejoy sang sultry and sexy and sweet and lovely, and down home gut-bucket bluesy on several tunes at Jazz and Cultural Society, including “The Very Thought of You,” and “Lonely Avenue.”
And thanks to George V. Johnson Jr. for the Facebook clips of the 31st annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s jazz concert last month in D.C., featuring swinging trumpet master Jimmy Owens with the Jazzmobile All-Stars and our own Washington Renaissance Orchestra swinging and popping behind percussion maestro Nasar Abadey.


InReview … New CDs from Whaling City Sound

New recordings from Whaling City Sound include some special sounds from pianist Tim Ray, guitarist Steven Kirby and vocalist Kristen Lee Sergeant.


Ray, known for work with country style Lyle Lovett, enjoys jazz as well and does a more than creditable job on his CD “Windows” with bassist John Lockwood and drummer Mark Walker. Ray names McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea, Duke Ellington and Horace Silver among his influences, and his work on a couple of tunes from the CD reflect his idols. “Monk’s Dream” plays true to the Thelonious Monk and Tyner tradition of heavy chords and melodic insistency, and “Toys” becomes an intriguing interplay between the players, at times lilting, at times a driving rhythmic journey with edgy, searching lines. Other highlights include “Star Eyes,” “Windows,” with Ray’s bright melodicism, and the jamming “12 by 7.”



Vocalist Sergeant’s debut recording, “Inside Out” features the New York City scene performer belting out energetic readings of standards like “Old Devil Moon,” with her own playful turn, a stirring melancholy “So Many Stars,” her joyful wishful “I Wish I Were in Love Again” and her enchanting “Never Will I Marry,” among others. Her raw high-emotion cabaret style delivery is well complimented by the fine musicianship of David Budway on piano, Chris Berger, bass and Vince Ector, drums.




Guitarist Kirby’s CD “Illuminations” features lush orchestration and vocals as well as his deft articulation on some tunes and strumming, folk-like, wistful manner on others. The title tune “Illuminations” romps behind Kirby’s ripping tinkling and the fine work by pianist John Funkhouser, a rippling wonder here, as well as Greg Loughman on bass, Mike Connors on drums and the soaring vocals of Aubrey Johnson. Other highlights include the meditative “A Luz das Estrelas,” the rollicking “Parabola” and “I Hear A Rhapsody.”


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