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Jazz Avenues

Our New Year’s Jazzy Greetings
Happy New Year’s greetings to all and to all a jazzy 2020. Special wishes go to our jazz masters favorites like Bobby Felder, Nasar Abadey, Sharon Clark, Karen Lovejoy, Michael Thomas, James “Tex” King, Steve Novosel and many others.

More special wishes go to our producers/promoters like the DC Jazz Festival, CapitalBop, and Vernard Gray, and Bobby Hill/Transparent Productions; our radio stations WPFW and WOWD; our venues including Blues Alley, Twins Jazz, Westminster Presbyterian Church, the Atlas Performing Arts Center, Alice’s Jazz and Cultural Society, the Kennedy Center, Rhizome, Sotto, Local 16, Jo Jo’s, and others, and in Baltimore Caton Castle and the new star there, Keystone Korner.

Special hopes go for the continued rehabilitation of one of our favorite journalists, producers and promoters of the music William “Bill” Brower. Condolences go to family and friends of pianist Larry Willis, one of heroes who passed away late last year,

And we must give special condolences to the family and friends of one of the music’s legendary champions, former Congressman John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, who passed away in October.

East River Jazz News
Our own Kent Miller Quartet has been invited to perform in the 2020 Havana Jazz Plaza International Festival, January 14 through January 19, 2020 by the Sección Internacional de la Instituto de Musica Cubana, according to East River Jazz. The group includes renowned bassist Miller, saxophonist Benny Russell, pianist Darius Scott and drummer Greg Holloway.

East River Jazz, a DC based jazz presenter has confirmed to present the ensemble on January 17 at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Arte Cubano.

The Havana Jazz Plaza International Festival was founded by pianist Jesús Valdés Rodríguez, better known as Chucho Valdés, the legendary Cuban pianist, bandleader, composer and arranger.

For further information, visit

Early Bird Tickets for DC Jazz Fest Finale
The DC Jazz Festival has announced today that early bird discount tickets are available for its finale event, DC JazzFest at The Anthem, June 21 to conclude the 16th annual 10-day celebration, June 12-21 of DC JazzFest presented by Events DC.

Tickets for The Anthem show at The Wharf (artists to be announced) went on sale to the public December 6 through


In 2019, DC JazzFest at The Wharf attracted more than 117,000 attendees across the star-studded weekend and recorded the largest single day attendance in the festival’s 15-year history.


–InReview … Jeff Denson’s “Between Two Worlds”
“Homeboy” bassist Jeff Denson’s latest CD “Between Two Worlds,” released in October, is a scintillating, bluesy excursion. Denson, originally from Arlington, Va., teams with French guitarist Romain Pilon and all-world drummer Brian Blade on gems including “Sucre,” “Madrid,” and the title tune. says the recording “…places the acclaimed bassist/composer in brilliant, like-minded creative company that spans the globe.” Denson has studied at Virginia Commonwealth University, Berklee College of Music, Florida State University and the University of California San Diego.

The CD features 10 original compositions: five each by Denson and Pilon. Of the album’s title, Denson says “As musicians we float between two worlds … One, a physical plane and the other a powerful reality that can only be found with the most open of ears, hearts and minds.”

For more information see

January Highlights:  … Clarence Ward III, Jan. 11, Twins Jazz … Meshell Ndegeocello “Exploration Through Geographical Memories, Jan. 11-12, Blues Alley … Lionel Lyles, Jan. 15, Alice’s Jazz and Cultural Society … The Twins Jazz Orchestra, Jan. 16, Twins Jazz … 21st Anniversary Celebration/A Legacy-Maker Session, Jan. 17, Westminster Presbyterian Church … Salim Washington, Jan. 17-18, Twins Jazz … Big Chief Donald Harrison Quartet, Jan. 17-18, Keystone Korner/Balt. …An Afternoon of Artistic Excellence/Carl Grubbs, Lafayette Gilchrist, Todd Marcus, Jan. 18, Walters Art Museum/Balt. … Jazzmeia Horn, Jan. 18, Kennedy Center … New York Afro Bop Alliance Big Band, Jan. 20, Blues Alley … Elijah Jamal Balbed Quintet, Jan. 23, Kennedy Center … Jamaaladeen Tacuma/Greg Osby/Ronnie Burrage, Jan. 23, Keystone Korner/Balt. …  Sharon Clark, Jan. 24, Westminster … Wallace Roney “Blue Dawn-Blue Nights,” Jan 24-25, Blues Alley … Tedd Baker, Jan. 24-25, Local 16 … Ron Carter Trio with Russell Malone and Donald Vega, Jan. 24-25, Keystone Korner/Balt. … Kassa Overall’s Blue Swamini” featuring Carmen Lundy, Jan. 25, Kennedy Center … Letizia Gambi Quintet, Jan. 29, Blues Alley … Maddy Curtis, Jan. 29, Twins Jazz … Benito Gonzalez Trio, Jan. 30, Blues Alley … Benny Golson Quintet with Eddie Henderson, Jan. 31, Blues Alley …Max Light, Jan. 31, Twins Jazz … Bill Charlap Trio with Peter Washington & Kenny Washington, Jan. 31, Keystone Korner/Balt. …

January Birthdays: Frank Wess 4; Kenny Clarke 9; Max Roach 10; Jay McShann 12; Melba Liston, Joe Pass 13; Gene Krupa 15; Cedar Walton 17; Jimmy Cobb 20; J.J. Johnson 22; Gary Burton 23; Antonio Carlos Jobim 25; Bobby Hutcherson 27; Roy Eldridge 30.

Steve Monroe is a Washington, D.C. writer who can be reached at and followed at

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