5 Jazz Picks for February
February 2, 2023 @ 12:00pm
As winter thaws, the D.C. jazz scene – and the glut of national tours incoming – is roaring back to life. This is another month where there is almost too much to pick from, so if you want even more jazz, go back and check the calendars for the venues highlighted in District Fray’s “7 Jazz Venues You Should Know.” Here’s the highlights for February.
The Brass-A-Holics at The Hamilton
The band’s full name – at least when first encountered almost a decade ago – is the Brass-A-Holics go-go-funk-jazz band. The New Orleans-based group takes lineage of the original Big Easy brass groups – swinging, funky and keeping the finger on the pop music pulse – and adds the lineage of Meters’ funk, Chuck Brown high-octane energy to create one of the best feel-good shows for the body and the mind. $23+. 8 p.m. 600 14th St. NW, DC; live.thehamiltondc.com // @thehamiltondc
The Settles Quintent at Blues Alley
Out and about on their own gigs, you might think the jazz power couple of saxophonist Brian Settles and vocalist Jessica Boykin-Settles could not be more different. Settles’ own music tends towards extended meditations, almost drones, as well as tenure in top avant-garde groups. Boykin-Settles is a master of the classic jazz vocal forms and standards, bringing the classics to life. But together they form a strong pair, able to tackle nearly any old show tune, pop ballad or contemporary piece throw at them. $25+. 7 and 9 p.m. 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; bluesalley.com // @bluesalleydc
Gregory Porter at Warner Theatre
Vocalist Gregory Porter has been serenading D.C. audiences for Valentine’s Day close to (pandemic shutdown years excepted) four or five years now. It’s easy to see why. His voice is rich and enveloping, with a gospel sense of dynamic performance and a crooner’s ability to immediately put your mind at ease. Watch his 2016 Tiny Desk Concert featuring just him and a piano; even in a large theater he can make his shows seem that intimate. $78+. 8 p.m. 513 13th St. NW, DC; livenation.com // @warnertheatre
Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival at Hilton Hotel & Executive Meeting Center
The annual Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival (MAJF) is the first major event in the D.C. jazz year and the D.C.-region jazz festival circuit. Organized by longtime saxophonist and educator Paul Carr, the MAJF is a meeting ground for those who keep up the “straight-ahead” tradition in jazz, the music roughly close to the kind of classic, shiny brass horns and sharp, direct playing of the 1950s. Here you can hear anything from collegiate big bands testing their chops to great masters displaying their craft. $25+. Various times. 1750 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD; midatlanticjazzfestival.org // @majfestival
DOMi and JD Beck at the Kennedy Center
Call it “viral jazz,” as the great pianist Vijay Iyer recent did, or “Gen Z” jazz or some new-fangled funk-soul jazz, but the duo of French pianist DOMi and American drummer JD Beck are bubbling up as the next pop phenomenon in the jazz world. The two exist along the same trajectory of Robert Glasper’s “Black Radio” and Thundercat’s whimsical dance funk, with honey-sweet melodies and hypnotic grooves. $25. 7:30 p.m. 2700 F St. NW, DC; kennedy-center.org // @kennedycenter
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