Jazz Avenues

All-star bassist Herman Burney, a DC native, performs at Westminster Presbyterian Church on July 13 with Smokin’ Five and on July 27 for the DC/Baltimore Connection show. Photo: Herman Burney

We honor Carl Grubbs, a performer last year at the Anacostia Comunity Museum, as one of our July birthday jazz heroes, along with Johnny Hartman, Hank Mobley, Billy Eckstine, Philly Joe Jones, Cal Tjader, Charlie Christian and others:

“Carl Grubbs [is] an internationally renowned jazz saxophonist who has been recognized numerous times for his distinguished musical career … [and who] along with his wife, Barbara, founded Contemporary Arts Inc. 15 years ago to provide meaningful and accessible music experiences to Baltimore youth. Carl received a Rubys grant to support the writing and arranging of new compositions for Inner Harbor Suite Revisited … featuring saxophones, strings, group improvisation, and ensemble performance.”

―Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, 2014

Khalid Gray Group Plays at Anacostia Arts Center
The Anacostia Arts Center’s “Second Sunday Jazz” show features the Khalid Gray Unitet from 2 to 4 p.m., July 8, in a performance produced by the center and East River Jazz (www.eastriverjazz.net). The Khalid Gray Unitet includes Gray on trombone, Julian Spires, piano/keyboard, Wally Davies, bass, and Angeliqua Bethea, drums.

The Anacostia Arts Center is at 1231 Good Hope Road SE. This is a free admission event, with donations “appreciated” according to East River Jazz, and reservations are suggested. See www.anacostiaartscenter.com or www.eastriverjazz.net.

The Lake Arbor Jazz Festival returns for its ninth year with shows on July 12 at the Olde Town Inn in Largo; July 13 and 15 at Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club and July 14 at the Lake Arbor Community Center in Mitchellville, Md. See www.lakearborjazz.com.

Balbed Plays Petworth Jazz
The Petworth Jazz Project, a free, outdoor, live jazz series, will have “Elijah Jamal Balbed Presents an Evening of Jazz and Go-Go” at 6 p.m. on July 29, at the Petworth Recreation Center at Eighth and Taylor streets NW. See www.petworthjazz project.com. 

JACS, Brother Ah Spotlighted
Willard Jenkins, DC Jazz Festival guru and WPFW-FM programmer, featured our own musician, historian and WPFW-FM programmer Brother Ah in his “Open Sky” blog in May. Check it out at www.openskyjazz.com/2018/05/a-life-in-music-from-robert-northern-to-brother-ah/.

Noted writer Michael J. West, who has started a weekly column, “Crescendo in Blue,” in Washington City Paper, featured the Jazz and Cultural Society in a story for The Washington Post. See https://www.washingtonpost.com/goingoutguide/music/at-alices-jazz-and-cultural-society-theyre-there-to-hear-the-music/2018/05/08/90fbe46c-4ee9-11e8-b725-92c89fe3ca4c_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.0ea08e71ab18. 

InPerson … DC Jazz Festival
Tia Fuller’s performance at City Winery was one of the highlights of June’s DC Jazz Festival, with the alto saxophonist and composer following the rousing show by the opening String Queens with a rousing show of her own, blowing some hot, soaring and wailing licks on tunes from her “Diamond Cut” album and tender, enchanting riffs on Cole Porter’s tune “I Love You,” while being supported by jamming guitarist Andrew Renfroe in particular.

Saxophonist and trumpeter Clarence Ward III blew some ripping licks on both instruments on tunes like “Star Eyes” and “Misty” during his show at the Jazz and Cultural Society, backed by Mark Meadows’ bright ripples on piano and Kris Funn’s grooving bass work.

Vocalist Rochelle Rice delivered an impassioned set at The Wharf on that last Sunday of the festival with a stirring “Think of the Children” and “Stella by Starlight,” among other tunes.

Also that last day, Chilean saxophonist Melissa Aldana pleased a large crowd with some funky as well as melancholy streams of spirited riffing. Reginald Cyntje’s group with Brian Settles on sax played some sparkling Caribbean/calypso jazz; and Ancestral Memories, led by saxophonist Yosvany Terry, jammed away with world music flavors.


July Highlights: … The Smokin’ Five/w Kenny Rittenhouse/Antonio Parker, July 13, Westminster Presbyterian Church … Frank Lacy, July 13-14, Twins Jazz … #SonicDuo/Allyn Johnson/Reginald Cyntje, July 15, An die Musik/Baltimore … Jordan Dixon, July 15, DC Jazz Jam/The Brixton … Shannon Gunn & The Bullettes, July 16, Blues Alley … Duane Eubanks Quintet, July 18, Blues Alley … Lena Seikaly, July 18, Live from the Lawn/Strathmore … Poncho Sanchez, July 19, Blues Alley … Steve Washington, July 20, Westminster … Project Natale, July 20-21, Twins Jazz … Paige Wroble, July 21, The Alex … Pete Muldoon, July 22, DC Jazz Jam/The Brixton … Fairfax Swing Jazz Ensemble, July 23, Blues Alley … Joe Vetter Quartet, July 25, Twins Jazz … A DC/Baltimore Connection/Craig Alston/Herman Burney, July 27, Westminster … Jazz Night at the Movies/Art Blakey, July 27, Westminster … Kenny Rittenhouse, July 27-28, Twins Jazz … Lionel Lyles, July 28, Germano’s Piattini/Baltimore … “Bass In 3D Rex + 2/Mike Bowie/JamesKing/Steve Novosel, July 28, NOVA Community College/Alexandria … Integriti Reeves, July 28, The Alex/Graham Georgetown Hotel … Lenny Robinson, July 29, DC Jazz Jam/The Brixton …

July Birthdays: Rashied Ali 1; Ahmad Jamal 2; Johnny Hartman 3; Hank Mobley 7; Louis Jordan 8; Billy Eckstine, Lee Morgan 10; Albert Ayler 13; Philly Joe Jones 15; Cal Tjader 16; Chico Freeman 17; Sonny Clark 21; Billy Taylor 24; Johnny Hodges 25; Carl Grubbs 27; Charlie Christian 29; Hank Jones, Kenny Burrell 31.


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