I’ve been doing local concert highlights for publications across the DMV for almost eight years so, believe me when I say this is one of the best months for live music and jazz in the District ever. There is almost too much going on to capture it all, but here are five stand outs from some of the best in our area and best in the music period.
Drummer Nasar Abadey is a master on the kit and a veteran bandleader in the area. Whether he’s performing his original, deeply spiritual music or playing jazz standards, there is a certain uplifting energy that radiates from him. He leads a group of some of the best classic jazz players in D.C. like saxophonist Lyle Link and bassist Herman Burney, at the Westminster Presbyterian Church’s Friday night jazz concert series, going strong for 23 years now. $10, Free for Kids 16 and Under. 6 p.m. Westminster Presbyterian Church: 400 I Street St. SW., DC; westminsterdc.org/jazz-night-in-dc-schedule
9.3 – 9.4
DC Jazz Fest at the Wharf
Two days of music in the fading summer heat of the Wharf – what could be better? There’s a huge range here, from the Afrobeat fusion of Vox Sambou and the old school New York mambo dance big band of the Mambo Legends Orchestra to local luminaries like jazz/go-go fusionist pianist Marc Cary and the radiant storyteller Heidi Martin. But be sure to catch the legendary bassist Ron Carter – one of the most prolific sidemen in jazz history – with his trio and modern jazz mainstay Christian McBride’s band Inside Straight (which features Baltimore’s Warren Wolf on vibraphone!). Free – $199. All Day. District and Transit Pier at The Wharf: 760 Maine Ave. SW., DC; dcjazzfest.org // @dcjazzfest
Todd Marcus – Sean Jones Quartet
Here are two of Baltimore’s best musicians – really two of the best musicians on their respective instruments anywhere – joining forces for a night of surely swinging, powerful performances. Todd Marcus is the most prominent bass clarinetist in jazz today and he can make that rare horn sing sweetly or dump a torrent of notes on your ears. Sean Jones heads the jazz program up at the Peabody Conservatory and plays like one of the masters. $15+. 7 p.m. Takoma Station Tavern: 6914 4th St. NW., DC; takomastation.com // @takomastationtavern
Ambrose Akinmusire is simply one of the most celebrated, beloved and prominent trumpeters in jazz today. The 40-year-old Oakland native performs some of the most beautiful, haunting and challenging music in jazz’s mainstream and he frequently crosses over in other projects to the avant-garde world. His music and presence are always magnetic: listen to his 2011 album When The Heart Emerges Glistening and you’ll start to get the picture. $25+. 8 p.m. City Winery: 1350 Okie St. NE. DC; citywinery.com // @citywinerydc
Kahil El’Zabar & Isaiah Collier: Trane Duo Tribute
All of percussionist Kahil El’Zabar’s music is informed by a deep sense of spiritual purpose, a mission to uplift and unite human beings. It takes cues from the kinds of records – filled with wailing horns, chiming pianos, bells, shakers, chimes and more – that came about following John Coltane’s A Love Supreme; music with a mystical, religious-feel. Live, El’Zabar is a master percussionist, able to play as many as three to four instruments at once. He pairs up with Isaiah Collier, a 24-year-old saxophonist who makes similarly cosmic music, to pay tribute to the feverous music made by Coltrane and his drummer Elven Jones. The night’s two sets – at 7 and 8:30 p.m. – will each cover a different period in Trane’s career, 1961-1963 at the first and 1964-1966 at the second. If you’re looking for a religious experience, here’s a great source for one. $20+. 7 p.m. Rhizome DC: 6950 Maple St. NW., DC; rhizomedc.org // @rhizome_dc
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