Jazz Avenues

The pride of Baltimore, master pianist Cyrus Chestnut, appears at Blues Alley on Aug. 22-25.

“Sounds of Freedom/Price of Silence” at Anacostia Arts Center  
Anita King, Alicia Hetzner and Theresa Sise are the featured performers for the free Second Sunday Jazz show, “The Sounds of Freedom/The Price of Silence,” at 3 p.m. on Aug. 11 at the Anacostia Arts Center.

For this show the vocalists have chosen songs “that express how they are continuing to develop as women and as artists and how they are connecting with the suffering and hopefulness in our world,” according to Anacostia Arts Center information.

They will be joined by pianist and vocalist Vince Evans, “to take you on an emotional journey through love, pain, injustice, justice, healing, and hope!!!” The Anacostia Arts Center is at 1231 Good Hope Road SE. See www.anacostiaartscenter.com for more information.

Other top events for August include Kenny Rittenhouse headlining the DC Jazz Jam on Aug. 11 at the Brixton Restaurant, and performing on Aug. 16-17 at Twins Jazz; songstress Imani-Grace Cooper appearing on Aug. 12 at Blues Alley; vocalist Coniece Washington performing in the “Tribute to Shirley Horn” show on Aug. 16 at Westminster Presbyterian Church; and multitalented pianist Mark Meadows performing in the “Tribute to Jelly Roll Morton” show on Aug. 30 at Westminster.

InPerson/InReview … Jordan Dixon’s “ON!”
A large crowd filed into the University of the District of Columbia’s Recital Hall in June for a DC JazzFest event featuring saxophonist Jordan Dixon’s CD release party for his latest recording, “ON!” Dixon, a former Marine and a UDC jazz studies graduate, sampled tunes from the recording that night, demonstrating his raw, bluesy tenor sax tone.

“ON!” was called a “superior sophomore effort” by Dodie Miller-Gould of LemonWire, who also said the CD “is a surprisingly refreshing take on the traditions of soul, jazz and hard bop.” Jazz Promo Services called it “a set of colorful originals that are swinging, bluesy and inventive, extending the traditions of soul jazz and hard bop.” The recording has Dixon ably backed by Allyn Johnson on piano, Herman Burney, bass, C.V. Dashiell III, drums, and J.S. Williams, trumpet.

From the opening “Notes from the Nook,” a jamming blues march, “ON!” grabs you in a soulful grip and doesn’t let go. “What You’ve Done for Me” and “She Meant It when She Said It” are superb original ballads, driven mightily by Dixon’s fierce sax spirals and Burney’s deep grooving on bass, with Johnson’s elegance on piano and Dashiell’s chiming cymbal work another highlight. “Flame and Friction” is a vintage blues with all the players delivering hot licks. See www.jordandixon.com.

InPerson … “Carl Grubbs at 75”
Master saxophonist and educator Carl Grubbs was live and in charge at his “Carl Grubbs at 75” concert one Saturday afternoon last month at The Motor House in Baltimore. His fiery, and bluesy and melancholy alto sax riffs were superbly backed by bassist Blake Meister, drummer Eric Kennedy, keyboardist Tim Murphy, violinist Samuel Thompson and Peter Minkler on viola.

They jammed before a large, appreciative crowd on Grubbs’ “Neptune Suite” tunes: “Neptune,” with Grubbs’ commanding sax soaring over Meister’s throbbing bass work and Murphy’s melodic piano runs; “Naima,” with Grubbs spurring an up-tempo arrangement of the John Coltrane classic; and “In My Youth,” the (late brother) Earl Grubbs original, with Carl Grubbs spurting searing, quicksilver arcs, Kennedy whistling, splashing mightily on drums. “I Want to Talk about You” was a vintage sax ballad in Grubbs’ hands, an aching journey of romantic longing. Also performing for Grubbs’ birthday celebration that day were Ebban (alto) and Ephraim (tenor) Dorsey, the brother and sister sax duo, and vocalists Rhonda Robinson and Eartha Lamkin.

August Highlights: … Reginald Cyntje, Aug.10, Twins Jazz … DC Jazz Jam 10-year Anniversary Party, Aug. 11, DC Jazz Jam/The Brixton … Imani-Grace Cooper, Aug. 12, Blues Alley … Sara Gazarek/“Release Party,” Aug. 14, Blues Alley … Freddie Cole, Aug. 15-18, Blues Alley … Coniece Washington/Tribute to Shirley Horn, Aug. 16, Westminster Presbyterian Church … David Murray/Lafayette Gilchrist, Aug. 22, Keystone Korner Baltimore … Cyrus Chestnut, Aug. 22-25, Blues Alley … Jerry Gordon Birthday Tribute, Aug. 23, Westminster … Veronneau, Aug. 23-24, Creative Cauldron/Falls Church … Louis Hayes Quintet: Serenade for Horace, Aug. 23-25, Keystone Korner Baltimore … DeAndrey Howard, Aug. 25, DC Jazz Jam … Mark Meadows/Tribute to Jelly Roll Morton, Aug. 30, Westminster … Thinking about Jazz/Jelly Roll Morton, Aug. 31, Westminster …

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; Jack DeJohnnette 9; Claude Thornhill 10; Russell Procope 11; Earl Coleman, Pat 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.