This Weekend’s Jazz in The District

This Weekend’s Jazz in The District

by Michael J. West

Thursday, August 8
Let no one argue but that Elijah Jamal Balbed has earned his place at the top of the musical heap in D.C.’s jazz (and jazz-adjacent) scene. Now 29 years old, Balbed has been working the scene since he was just out of high school, a shy tenor saxophone student hoping that musicians with more established gigs would let him sit in. When they did, he would wow them, and anyone else who might be in the house. Well, Balbed has only gotten better, more confident, and more fully realized in his own musical vision in the time since then. And now we can see that his ambition has taken him to the heart of official Washington. At least, to the geographical heart. That is, of course, the long-running Jazz on Jackson Place program, one of the staples of summertime in D.C.; Balbed has worked that gig before, and if they bring him back it’s because, just like with everything else he’s doing now, he’s earned it. Elijah Jamal Balbed performs at 6:30 p.m. at Decatur House, 748 Jackson Place NW. $35

Friday, August 9
Listen, you just don’t want to miss Tarus Mateen. It’s just about as simple as that. The native of Bakersfield, California has nothing to do with the rock-ified country music sound that was ascendant in his hometown when he was born. He does, though, have more than a bit of the experimental funkiness that comes out of Atlanta, where he also spent time. Mateen has worked with everyone from Art Blakey and Betty Carter to Greg Osby and Jason Moran (he’s the regular working bassist for the latter’s renowned Bandwagon trio), and he’s got a vast palette of stylistics in his music that obviously includes jazz, but also some slippery funk, avant-garde, sleek soul, hip-hop, and not a little bit of African music. All of that will undoubtedly make its way into the sound you hear when he performs at 9:30 p.m. at Jojo Restaurant and Bar, 1518 U Street NW. $10.

Saturday, August 10
Reginald Cyntje is a great DC musician. Though he’s a native of Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, the trombonist has been in D.C. for over two decades now, playing with everyone and at every venue, not to mention doing everything. The past decade has seen him ascendant as a composer-bandleader. He released an album of new material, Rise of the Protester, earlier this year, a panorama that captured the present moment and politically charged mood in Washington and everywhere else. But the ever-restless Cyntje is already back with another package of new music. He calls this one “MAGNETISM”—a name that could mean anything, but have no fear: He will undoubtedly explain it. He will also provide context by way of a murderer’s row of local players: Lenny Robinson on drums, Herman Burney on bass, Elijah Easton on tenor sax, and Dave Manley on guitar. The lineup alone is magnetism personified. The Reginald Cyntje Group performs at 9 and 11 p.m. at Twins Jazz, 1344 U Street NW. $15.

Sunday, August 11
Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but every time I’ve seen Cheney Thomas play in the last, oh, five years or so, he is playing on a battered, weather-beaten upright bass with the finish worn off around its edges and in a large patch on its front. I could just be imagining this, or it could be that that’s the house bass at AJACS, where Thomas tends to gig regularly. It’s also possible, however, that Thomas has simply found an instrument that he meshes with, that helps to provide the incredibly robust wood sound that remains the hallmark of his stalwart swing and resonant playing style. It would explain a lot, not least Thomas’s incredible consistency in his music—the kind of straightahead, knock-‘em-dead jazz that probably immediately springs to your mind when you hear the name of the music itself. Thomas has been playing it for a long time now…and maybe that’s the thing that explains the frayed condition of his axe. That bass has seen some action. Cheney Thomas performs at 6 p.m. at Alice’s Jazz and Cultural Society, 2813 Franklin Street NE. $10.

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Michael J. West

Michael J. West is a freelance writer, editor, and jazz journalist who has been covering the Washington, D.C. jazz scene since 2009. He spends most days either hunkered down in the clubs or in his very big headphones. He lives in Washington with his wife and two children.

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JON ANDERSON of Yes – 1000 Hands Tour with Eric Scott

JON ANDERSON of Yes – 1000 Hands Tour with Eric Scott

Eric Scott, a soul/pop/folk singer/songwriter and sought-after bass player from the Washington, DC/Baltimore Area will be opening for Jon Anderson of Yes on Monday, August 5th for the JON ANDERSON of Yes – 1000 Hands Tour with Eric Scott (Duo) at the Birchmere Music Hall.

Birchmere Music Hall
3701 Mount Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22305

The show begins at 7:30pm and tickets are just $85.00
Limited VIP Meet & Greet Tickets available through Ticketmaster. VIP Meet & Greet ticket includes Early Admission, Tour Poster, VIP Laminate and Pre Show Meet & Greet are available for $210.

birchmere.com

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Flippin’ Eyelids at Port Tobacco Marina

Flippin’ Eyelids at Port Tobacco Marina

Join the Flippin’ Eyelids for their first show in almost a month!
They can’t wait to see everyone again.
Saturday August 3rd
3-7pm

facebook.com/PortTobaccoMarinaRestaurant

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Mozzy @ Milkboy Arthouse

Mozzy @ Milkboy Arthouse

Go see MOZZY this Saturday at Milkboy Arthouse.

Mozzy started rapping in 2004 under the name Lil’ Tim eventually changing his stage name to Mozzy in 2012. He received little attention until the release of his 2015 album Bladadah, which was ranked as the 22nd best rap album of 2015 by Rolling Stone and which gave him the “best run” of 2015 according to Complex Magazine.

SAT · AUGUST 3, 2019
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

MilkBoy ArtHouse
7416 Baltimore Ave
College Park, MD, 20740

ticketfly.com

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Concert @Reverb Friday

Concert @Reverb Friday

Go see the show at Reverb this Friday!

Red This Ever: Attack! is our 6th album and we feel we are on a creative roll with this one. We have 13 heart-pounding SynthRock tracks. Lyrically and musically this is some of the strongest stuff we have ever written. We hope it holds an honorable place in your music collection.

Maryjo Mattea (band): Washington, DC-based songstress Maryjo Mattea captivates audiences with her uniquely melodic songwriting and hauntingly beautiful voice. Mattea’s music, which has garnered comparisons to Alanis Morissette, Liz Phair, and Jenny Lewis, is the perfect hybrid of polished pop and raw rock. In addition to performing original music and more as a solo artist and with a band, she is also a member of the grunge-garage rock duo, Two Dragons and a Cheetah; electro-rock group, Color Palette; synth-pop band, Loi Loi; and post-rock ensemble, Endless Winter.

Woodfir: Woodfir’s home base of Baltimore is a perfect geographic mid-point of their biggest influences: the West Coast USA and British UK, circa 1980’s. Bits of psych, soul, and country glimmer in the seams of what is generally a straightforward punk rock trio. On guitars, Reda does the low fuzz and TK takes the high slides. On drums, Al provides the expert clatter and bash that propels them all forward. In a local scene polarized by either artsy indie-pop or ultra-heavy rock, Woodfir persists on the sidelines like a hallucinatory tracer, and a night with them will make you nostalgic for a time and place you’re not sure ever existed. (FFO: Wipers, The Fall)

Shea: “Pop, folk, R&B, indie”

Friday, August 2nd, 2019
8:00 PM

Reverb
2112 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21218

bandsintown.com

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Where to Find Jazz in the District this Week

Where to Find Jazz in the District this Week

by Michael J. West

Abe Mamet’s jam

Tuesday, July 30
You don’t have to be looking for a jam session to have a great time at Abe Mamet’s jam in Mount Pleasant. The young French hornist plays his rarely-jazzed instrument through celebrated pieces of bebop on his own (i.e., with his quartet, whichever rhythm section happens to be on hand as the house band that evening), so even before he’s opened the floor to all comers, Mamet has dazzled you with staples of the jazz repertoire on his French horn. That said, the jam itself fills up quicker than any this writer has ever seen (and on a Tuesday night, yet!) Last week, after Mamet had played his first three or four tunes, the very next song featured no less than seven sit-ins, five of them on various horns alone (including flute!). Every which way you look at it, it’s overflowing with excitement and remarkable hipness. Abe Mamet begins the jam session at 9:30 p.m. at Café Marx, 3203 Mount Pleasant Street NW. Free (but order something!)

Friday, August 2
Pianist/vocalist Mark G. Meadows has slowly transitioned from a primarily instrumental player into a singer-songwriter. What’s really impressive, though, is that he’s done so without abandoning jazz, and what’s more without diminishing his pianistic chops. He sings his own self-written songs (and unique arrangements of pieces by other composers) but includes complex and devastating piano lines and solos. That also includes room for similar improvisation and craft by his bandmates in The Movement. Its lineup varies, but it remains a splendid showpiece for Meadows’s music, which is as full of surprises as it is social consciousness. Be the Change, Meadows and the Movement’s new EP, is a fascinating dichotomy of social justice musical expression and hat tips to Stevie Wonder, the pianist’s favorite songwriter. It’s fine work—for a recording. Not to disparage recordings, mind you, but Meadows puts on a hell of a show that his EP can’t adequately represent. Mark G. Meadows and the Movement perform at 7 and 9 p.m. at Sotto, 1610 Fourteenth Street NW (downstairs). $20.
AND
Victor Provost is one of the DMV’s most valuable resources, even if we did have to import him. Provost hails from St. John’s in the U.S. Virgin Islands, which only makes sense given that he plays the steelpan (or steel drum, as most of us know it in the continental United States). It’s also no surprise that his music leans heavily on Afro-Caribbean rhythms and textures. However, he is also completely fluent in the language and repertoire of jazz. While Provost has a substantial book of his own compositions to draw on (you can hear them on his two albums, Her Favorite Shade of Yellow and Bright Eyes), he will also break out the Great American Songbook standards as well as Coltrane, Bill Evans, and even the occasional pop and reggae song. Whatever he plays, it will sound fantastic. It always does. Victor Provost performs at 9 p.m. at Jojo Restaurant and Bar, 1518 U Street NW. $10.

Sunday, August 4
There’s been prior discussion around these parts of the Airmen of Note, the U.S. Air Force’s big band jazz ensemble, and of tenor man Tedd Baker in particular. Well, this is not about Tedd Baker. It’s about his comrade in arms on the tenor saxophone, a man by the name of Grant Langford. Langford might be Washington D.C.’s answer to Johnny Griffin, who once billed himself as “the world’s fastest saxophonist”; like Johnny, our man Grant can eat an uptempo tune for lunch. Of course we don’t dig fast for fast’s sake; the speed is only relevant if the stuff still makes sense when he slows it down. When you do, you find that he has a deep vocabulary that’s learned all the right lessons from the blues. Little wonder that Langford also plays both alto and tenor sax for the still-active Count Basie Orchestra—which, in fact, is sacred ground for a tenor saxophonist. In this instance, however, you’ll find him holding down the lead of a small bop-based ensemble. Grant Langford performs at 6 p.m. at Alice’s Jazz and Cultural Society, 2813 Franklin Street NE. $10.

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Michael J. West

Michael J. West is a freelance writer, editor, and jazz journalist who has been covering the Washington, D.C. jazz scene since 2009. He spends most days either hunkered down in the clubs or in his very big headphones. He lives in Washington with his wife and two children.

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See Emma G Around the District

See Emma G Around the District

See Emma G around Washington DC for the next two weeks.

Finding her voice as she rediscovers her American heritage from her home base in Washington DC, New Zealand-born singer/songwriter Emma G is a combination of Adele, Pink, Tracy Chapman and Alanis Morrissette. Her edgy tones and gutsy lyrics hammer home her messages of love, vulnerability, empowerment and strength with a soul-pop/rock sound that is engaging, inspiring and appealing to a hugely diverse audience.

She will also be at the Silver Spring Farmers Market on August 10 from 10am – 1pm!

emmagmusic.com

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Herbie Hancock and Kamasi Washington

Herbie Hancock and Kamasi Washington

Perhaps the most lionized living pianist, Herbie Hancock has helped to shape so many of jazz’s machinations in the past 50 years. By his early 20s, Hancock was recording definitive hard-bop albums for Blue Note Records; soon after, he was a sideman in Miles Davis’s second great quintet, which exploded the rhythmic and harmonic barriers that had until then hemmed in most mainstream jazz. By the 1970s, Hancock was on the forefront of jazz-funk fusion, and he created one of the most successful albums that the genre would ever know: Headhunters. The list of his achievements runs on and on, like a broken faucet. The best way to experience the Grammy-decorated legend is to sit in the audience and let his music wash over you, live and in the flesh. He performs with his current band; He’s on piano, fender rhodes, and keytar, Lionel Loueke on guitar, James Genus on bass, Trevor Lawrence Jr. on drums, and L.A. jazz apostle Terrace Martin on keyboards, vocoder and alto sax.

He shares a double-headlining bill with Kamasi Washington, perhaps the most talked about jazz musician on the planet since the release of his album The Epic four years ago. While that title is up for debate (the artist himself deflect it) what is not debatable is the persuasiveness and conviction of his Alice Coltrane and Horace Tapscott-indebted tunes. Referencing sources as varied as Stravinsky and ’80s video game music, Washington’s music aims both at the head and the heart of the jazz listener, a whole body nervous system experience of funky uplifting.

They may even share the stage.

July 30, 2019 @ 8:00 pm

Filene Center at Wolf Trap
1551 Trap Road Vienna
VA 22812

Event information: capitalbop.com
Tickets: wolftrap.org

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The Ferns Make Their Studio Debut

The Ferns Make Their Studio Debut

by Logan Deiner

The Ferns have been traveling the DC area for awhile, and now they are ready to take the next step. On July 26th, they will be making their recorded debut with two singles: Mountain Views and Summer Rain. According to the keyboardist of the group, “I think the songs that we picked are emblematic of our sound. Summer Rain, in particular, I think is our most mature song we have ever written.” Both songs have been played live before, and Mountain Views was the first song The Ferns wrote together as a group. This makes for an interesting contrast to Summer Rain, one of the band’s more recent tracks.Vocalist and band booker Kaileen Dougherty (Kaileen Marie on stage) has a voice that is purely electrifying, with an R&B sound that is smooth as silk. Everyone else in the band is able to expertly match Kaileen’s vocals, and provide an equally slick and funky rhythm. The musical style can best be summed up in short, as mellow R&B. There is a lot more to the experience than that however, with other influences including funk, soul, pop, and even a Las Vegas-esque lounge vibe. Each member of The Ferns also has their own unique inspirations that make the sound what it is. Kaileen’s inspirations include Lake Street Dive, specifically the vocals of Rachael Price, Stevie Nicks’s songwriting in Fleetwood Mac, and various gospel and soul legends. Drummer and technical wizard Stewart Hahn’s biggest influence is Carter Beauford of The Dave Mathew’s Band. Bassist and guitarist Joe Dubois’s biggest influences are old Motown and soul artists, and keyboardist and mixing guru Brett Offutt got his start playing classical and jazz piano before joining The Ferns.

Brett, Stewart and Joe started playing music together in high school and throughout college. After college, Kaileen, Joe and the band’s former guitarist, Daniel, began writing together. Joe later looped in his earlier band mates, Brett and Stewart. Daniel left the band to pursue medical school. After Daniel left, The Ferns chose to create a keys-based sound with three instruments and vocals. Joe switches to guitar only on the rockier songs. This was the birth of the current Ferns lineup. All of the members also have day jobs. Kaileen works as a mental healthcare lobbyist, while the other three members are all engineers.

Speaking of live shows, this is another high point of The Ferns as a band. Not only do you get to hear a lot of great songs that are currently unreleased, but the overall experience just puts the concert goer in a good and positive mood, with a relaxed and mellow vibe. This vibe is even evident in their choices in fashion, with band members sporting tie dye bro tanks, floral button ups, and flowy geometric bohemian pants. Kaileen said, “I think that we have a fun and free spirited vibe on stage. We wear clothing that we feel comfortable in, and it fits that kind of music that we create. We encourage people to loosen up, mellow out, and maybee experience a bit of the West Coast. This is especially important considering how suit heavy of an area Washington D.C. is.”

The Ferns are an experience like few others. With amazing vocals, slick instrumentals, tight craftsmanship, and captivating live shows, they are sure to leave a mark on the D.C. and surrounding areas. Their two singles drop on iTunes, Spotify, and other digital music and streaming platforms on July 26th, You can also follow The Ferns on Instagram for further updates @thefernsdc.

 

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Logan Deiner

Logan Deiner is a writer and journalist who enjoys hanging out with friends and listening to music in his spare time. He enjoys most genres of music, and has a vinyl collection of over 500 records.

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Dan Wolff & The Muddy Crows at Denizens

Dan Wolff & The Muddy Crows at Denizens

Go see Dan Wolff & The Muddy Crows at Denizens this Saturday.

Dan Wolff: Beginning small, he cut his teeth playing acoustic guitar and singing backup vocals for various singers at open mics held by small venues in and around the city of Ithaca, NY. After some initial success, Wolff penned a number of original songs which were ultimately recorded and released under his own name at Big Time Studios in Interlaken, NY. Upon posting the songs on MySpace, he received further recognition through online resources wanting to reuse and market his demo material.

Saturday, July 27, 2019 at 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM EDT

Denizens Brewing Co
1115 East-West Hwy
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910

Dan Wolff
The Muddy Crows

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