Jazz Avenues – September 2017

Pianist Allyn Johnson performs with the Bohemian Caverns All Star Band on Sept. 30 at Montpelier Arts Center. Photo: W.A. Brower

‘Live! at Montpelier’ Promises High Energy, Diverse Jazz
The lush, forested hideaway of the Montpelier Arts Center in Laurel, Md., might be your best getaway for some end-of-summer jazz. Always a favorite venue for our more traditional artists, “Live! at Montpelier” invites music fans this September to expand their horizons.

Featured on Sept. 16, from 8 to 10 p.m., is the Tizer Quartet with acclaimed violinist Karen Briggs. Headed by keyboardist Lao Tizer, this dynamic group also includes drummer Gene Coye and bassist Cheikh NDoye.

The Cristian Perez Quintet comes to Montpelier on Sept. 23, with Argentine guitarist/composer/educator Perez, known for weaving together “genres from around the world to reveal the universality of music,” says Montpelier publicity. His group includes flutist Yana Hristova, drummer Joe McCarthy, bassist Daniel Brown, and Emmanuel Trifilio on bandoneon.

Closing the month will be some familiar faces to all DC jazz aficionados – the Bohemian Caverns All Star Band. Montpelier publicity says, “Return home to the Caverns with this special performance.” Performers include keyboard guru Allyn Johnson, bassist Michael Bowie, drummer Carroll Dashiell III, trumpeter Kenny Rittenhouse, and sax master Tedd Baker.
The cost for shows is $25 at Montpelier, 9652 Muirkirk Road in Laurel. For more information call 301-377-7800.

‘String of Pearls: The Musical’
Our Greater U Street Collective folks are presenting a special event on Sept. 23, a staged reading of “String of Pearls: The Musical,” at the African American Civil War Memorial Museum in DC.

The group says “String of Pearls: The Musical” represents the group’s second album, following the successful debut CD “Ballin’ the Jack.” That recording is a rousing historical look at the American songbook – and America itself.

Drummer Art Cobb says, “We wanted to explore deeper this intersection between the Great Migration and the phenomenon of so-called gentrification. But we wanted to do it in a way that was accessible, entertaining, and with a bunch of new music …”

The musical follows two star-crossed lovers, Nettie and Sam, from a sharecropping farm to life in Washington, DC, through the Depression, World War II, the Civil Rights Movement, and beyond. The play and music were written by Thomas View and directed by Howard University’s Eric Ruffin.

On Sept. 23, there will be two shows: a 3 p.m. matinee and a 7 p.m. evening show. The African American Civil War Memorial Museum is at 1925 Vermont Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001. Tickets are $32.50. For more information go to https://www.instantseats.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.venue&venueid=420.

InPerson … Peter Edelman
Just an overdue note on one of our enduring piano treasures in the area, Peter Edelman, who we managed to catch one Friday at Columbia Station playing his vintage, sweetly melodic but also bluesy, edgy, and dramatic renderings of favorites like “Blues for Philly Joe,” “Emily,” “Woody N You,” and “Anthropology.” Backed by Sal DeRaffele on bass and Christian Clark on drums, Edelman turned a drizzly, grey afternoon into a magical musical journey. Catch him when you can. 

September Highlights: … Terry Marshall, Sept. 10, Jazz and Cultural Society … Brent Birckhead, Sept. 10, DC Jazz Jam/The Brixton … Swing Shift, Sept. 12, Blues Alley … Lionel Lyles, Sept. 13, Jazz and Cultural Society … De’Sean Jones and Knomadik, Sept. 13, Twins Jazz … Veronneau, Sept. 13, Blues Alley … Greg Lamont “Old School,” Sept. 15, Westminster Presbyterian Church … Eugenie Jones, Sept. 15-16, Twins Jazz … Lena Seikaly, Sept. 16, The Alex/Georgetown … Maija Reman, Sept. 17, Jazz and Cultural Society … Fred Foss, Sept. 17, DC Jazz Jam/The Brixton … CBCF Jazz Concert/32nd Year Celebration, Sept. 21, Walter Washington Convention Center … Kenny Rittenhouse Quintet, Sept. 22, Westminster … Will Calhoun/ “Celebrating Elvin Jones,” Sept 22-23, Blues Alley … Nicole Saphos Quartet, Sept. 22-23, Twins Jazz … “Celebrating the Jazz Masters: Tribute to John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and Ella Fitzgerald”/Carl Grubbs Ensemble, Sept. 23, Enoch Pratt Free Library – Northwood Branch/Baltimore … Akua Allrich, Sept. 23, The Alex/Georgetown … Cold Spring Jazz Quartet Presents Monk at 100, Sept. 23, Germano’s Patti/Baltimore … “The Devil’s Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith,” through Sept. 24, Atlas Performing Arts Center… Bill Heid, Sept. 27, Jazz and Cultural Society … Terence Blanchard E-Collective, Sept. 28-30, Blues Alley … Christie Dashiell Returns, Sept. 29, Westminster … Jeff Antoniuk, Sept. 29-30, Twins Jazz … 16th Annual D.C. Jazz Preservation Festival, Sept. 30, Westminster …

September Birthdays: Art Pepper 1; Horace Silver, Clifford Jordan 2; Mickey Roker, Roy Brooks 3; Meade Lux Lewis 4; Andrew White, Buddy Bolden 6; Sonny Rollins 7; Wilbur Ware 8; Elvin Jones, George Mraz 9; Roy Ayers 10; Steve Turre 12; Chu Berry 13; Oliver Lake 14; Cannonball Adderley 15; Joe Venuti, John Hendricks 16; Brother Jack McDuff 17; Emily Remler 18; Muhal Richard Abrams 19; Chico Hamilton 21; John Coltrane 23; Gary Bartz 26; Bud Powell 27; Kenny Kirkland 28; Buddy Rich, Oscar Pettiford 30.


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