Jazz Avenues – August 2017


August Delivers Many Jazzy Delights
Jazz offerings this month include a Summer Breeze Concert at THEARC, B.J. Jansen & Common Ground at Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club, Cyrus Chestnut at Blues Alley, and a Jessica Boykin-Settles show at Westminster Presbyterian Church.

The Anacostia Diaspora Group presents Tamara Wellons and her band in the 2017 Summer Breeze Concert at THEARC (Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Center) from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 13, with refreshments served from 1 to 2 p.m. General admission is $35 for the show at THEARC, 1901 Mississippi Ave. SE. See www.thearcdc.org for more information.

Bassist B.J. Jansen’s show at Bethesda Blues & Jazz on Aug. 17 features Delfeayo Marsalis, Ralph Peterson, Duane Eubanks, Zaccai Curtis, and Dezron Douglas, with promises for an “eclectic program that offers a little something for everybody,” says Jansen on the website, www.bethesdabluesandjazz.com. Admission is $40.

Baltimore’s pride and joy, Cyrus Chestnut, whose most recent CD is “Journeys,” settles into Blues Alley for a four-night stay, Aug. 24 through 27. And vocalist Jessica Boykin-Settles performs a “Tribute to Carmen McRae,” Aug. 25, at Westminster, with Brian Settles, sax, Jon Ozment, piano, Karine Chapdelaine-Walker, bass, and Lydia Lewis, drums.

Remembering Geri Allen
Geri Allen, our Howard University graduate and jazz icon pianist, passed on to ancestry last month. From “Jazz Avenues” of April 2013: “The Grammy Award-winner and educator with roots at Howard University dropped into DC at the Atlas, March 27, to close the Washington Women in Jazz Festival with a solo piano performance. Festival founder Amy K. Bormet had previously informed all that Allen was her mentor and how pleased she was to have such an illustrious performer at her festival.

The high bar of anticipation was actually met if not surpassed when Allen played a set of ever-creative and melodic and lyrical beauty, reaching back to Mary Lou Williams days in New York to a “Tears of a Clown” interpretation, to her own signature tunes like “Laila’s House,” to entertain a nearly full house with absorbing symphonies of pianism. The standing ovation at the end was well deserved.

AMP Trio DCJazzPrix Winner
The DC Jazz Festival announced the AMP Trio, featuring Tahira Clayton, based in New York City, as the second annual DCJazzPrix winning band. Vocalist Clayton and trio members Addison Frei, piano, Perrin Grace, bass, and Matt Young, drums, beat out NYC’s SULA and Durham, N.C.’s Ernest Turner Trio in the finals. In addition to a $15,000 cash prize, the winners earned professional development, business support, and a main stage 2018 DC Jazz Festival show. 

InReview … DC Jazz Festival
Our favorite correspondent/musician Charles Rahmat Woods on the 2017 DC Jazz Festival: “[It] was a celebration of the root traditions and worldwide diversity of this great music. We caught drummer Nasar Abadey’s improvisational excursions (with pianist Allyn Johnson, bassist Steve Novosel, and trumpeter DeAndre Shaffer) of jazz standards at the University of the District of Columbia. Vocalist Gregory Porter wowed the packed crowd at the outdoor venue DC JazzFest at the Yards … The Atlas hosted bassist/bandleader/composer Michael Bowie’s music theater, ‘You Haven’t Done Nothing!’ which was a multimedia production (live band, recorded tracks, film slides, dance, and spoken word), whose creative pulse was focused on social justice (featured members of the ensemble included Michael Bowie, Michael Robinson, Kevin Jones, Deacon Izzy, John Lee, Soloman Raul, Carrol Dashiell, Christie Dashiell, Nina Harris, Tom James, Bill Brower).”

August Highlights: Irene Jalenti, Aug. 12, The Alex/Graham Boutique Hotel/Georgetown … Carol Morgan, Aug. 13, Twins Jazz … Tamara Wellons/Summer Breeze Concert, Aug. 13, THEARC/Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus … Josh Irving, Aug. 16, Twins Jazz … B.J. Jansen & Common Ground/Delfeayo Marsalis, Ralph Peterson, Aug. 17, Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club … Joyce Moreno, Aug. 17-20, Blues Alley … Chuck Redd & The Jazz Masters, Aug. 18, Westminster Presbyterian Church … Christie Dashiell, Aug. 19, The Alex … Charmaine Michelle, Aug. 19, Germano’s Patti/Baltimore … Twins Jazz Orchestra, Aug. 24, Twins Jazz … Cyrus Chestnut Trio, Aug. 24-27, Blues Alley … Jessica Boykin-Settles/Tribute to Carmen McRae, Aug. 25, Westminster … Sara Jones, Aug. 26, The Alex … Annapolis Jazztet, Aug. 26, Germano’s Patti/Baltimore … Ben Patterson Big Band, Aug. 28, Blues Alley … Akua Allrich, Aug. 30, Strathmore/Live from the Lawn …

August Birthdays: Big Nick Nicholas 2; Eddie Jefferson 3; Louis Armstrong, Sonny Simmons 4; Lenny Breau 5; Rahsaan Roland Kirk 7; Lucky Millinder, Benny Carter 8; Matheny 12; Mulgrew Miller 13; Stuff Smith 14; Oscar Peterson, Mal Waldron, Bill Evans 16; Ike Quebec, Duke Pearson 17; Oscar Brashear 18; Jimmy Rowles 19; Count Basie, Art Farmer 21; Bobby Watson 23, Claude Hopkins 24;Wayne Shorter, Pat Martino 25; Branford Marsalis 26; Lester Young 27; Kenny Drew 28; Charlie Parker, Dinah Washington 29; Kenny Dorham 30


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