Jazz Avenues

D.C.’s own Akua Allrich, appearing July 18 at the Loew’s Madison Hotel, will perform her Nina Simone/Miriam Makeba tribute shows next month at Bohemian Caverns.

Songbirds highlight July events

This July brings us a vocalists harvest with Integriti Reeves, Emy Tseng, Alison Crockett, Akua Allrich, Sharon Clark and Lori Williams highlighting the month’s performances.

Reeves, a hit during the Washington Women in Jazz Festival in March, has also drawn solid reviews for her recent debut recording, “Stairway to the Stars.” Reeves, a product of the Peabody Institute in Baltimore and Howard University’s graduate school, appears at the Hill Center July 10 with Elijah Jamal Balbed, tenor sax, Matvei Sigalov, guitar, Eliot Seppa, bass and Amin Gumbs, drums. See  HYPERLINK "http://www.hillcenterdc.org" www.hillcenterdc.org for more information.

Tseng, now based in DC, has a background in classical music, and fell in love with jazz and Brazilian music in particular while studying in New York. Among others, she credits pianist Wayne Wilentz and bassist David Jernigan – who supported her fine show at Dukem Restaurant last month – for mentoring her since she moved to the area three years ago. Tseng is to appear at Black Fox Lounge July 11. See  HYPERLINK "http://www.emytseng.com" www.emytseng.com.

Crockett, who appears at Westminster Presbyterian Church July 11, has fashioned a Diva Blue persona while delving into soulful jazz, jazzy soul and also social justice artistry with her recordings and recent one woman show, “Is This It? My American Dream.”  At Westminster, she is to appear with sax man Marshall Keys, Wayne Wilentz, piano, Herman Burney, bass and John Lamkin III, drums. See  HYPERLINK "http://www.alisoncrockett.net" www.alisoncrockett.net.

Allrich is a D.C. native and Howard University graduate, whose last recording was “Uniquely Standard: Akua Allrich Live!” released in 2012. Allrich is known for often weaving a world music tapestry of vocal renderings, combining jazz, blues, African and other genres into compelling performances, with the ability to sing in many languages, including Portuguese, French, Spanish, Xhosa and Twi. She appears July 18 at Loew’s Madison Hotel. See www.akuaallrich.com.

Clark, at the Loew’s Madison July 19, is of course our reigning queen of divas, enlarging her presence nationally and internationally by making waves in New York club circles and during trips to perform in Russia and elsewhere in recent years. Pianist Chris Grasso says she is at work now on another recording, after releasing “Do it Again: My Tribute to Shirley Horn” a few years ago. See  HYPERLINK "http://www.chrisgrassomusic.com" www.chrisgrassomusic.com.

Lori Williams, appearing with Winard Harper at Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club, has been a frequent performer at Westminster, Loew’s Madison Hotel and many other venues, and covers multiple genres in her vocals herself.  Her stirring gospel-based performance that Sunday during the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival in February was special. Her most recent CD, “Eclipse of the Soul,” was released in 2012.

InPerson … Sakoto Fujii, WRO 

The Sakoto Fujii Trio + 1 closed out the Transparent Productions 2013-14 season at Bohemian Caverns last month, with pianist Fujii leading the way on some edgy, winding, melodic runs, with Todd Nicholson, bass, Oshi Shutto, drums, and Kappa Maki on trumpet displaying darting, rapping, and spearing runs of their own for an entertaining set of provocative compositions.

When the house lights went down, the musicians on stage fired it up to the max late last month at the Lincoln Theatre when The Washington Renaissance Orchestra swung into Woody Shaw’s “Moontrane” for its opening number. Artistic director Nasar Abadey was a powerhouse all night with his pulsating percussion and musical director Allyn Johnson sprinkled in vintage ripples on piano while also conducting his bandmates in the group’s debut performance before an eager and appreciative crowd.

Highlights from opening night also included saxophonist Charlie Young’s melodic work on “Anna Maria,” vocalist Navasha Daya’s fine reading of “Sweet Kiss,” which also had a superb solo by tenor sax man Brian Settles; and rip-roaring riffs by Settles and fellow sax man Elijah Balbed, creating their own tenor madness during Johnson’s “Freedom Warrior’s Suite.”

July Highlights: Tommy Cecil & Bill Mays “Sondheim Duos,” July 8, Blues Alley … Integriti Reeves, July 10, The Hill Center … Emy Tseng, July 11, Black Fox Lounge …  Alison Crockett Experience, July 11, Westminster  Presbyterian Church … Chuck Redd, July 12, Loew’s Madison Hotel … Chelsey Green, July 17, Reginald Lewis Museum/Baltimore … Akua Allrich, July 18, Loew’s Madison Hotel … Jeff Antoniuk Update, July 18, Westminster … Greater U Street Collective, July 18-19, Twins Jazz … Lonnie Liston Smith, July 18-20, Bohemian Caverns … Sharon Clark, July 19, Loew’s Madison Hotel … Swing Shift, July 22, Blues Alley … Jimmy Haslip, MARS 4-Tet, July 22, Bethesda Blues & Jazz … Reginald Cyntje July 25-26, Twins Jazz … Winard Harper, Lori Williams, July 27, Bethesda Blues & Jazz …

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.


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