Jazz Avenues

Our queen of song Sharon Clark appears during the DC Jazz Festival, June 12, at The Yards Park in Southeast, and is a regular on Saturday nights at LaPorta’s Restaurant in Alexandria, Va. 

DC Jazz Festival Sparkles East of the River

The DC Jazz Festival is presenting its 11th year of jamming sounds all over the city, June 10-16, with many topnotch performances featured in the East of the River JAZZFest “festival within a festival.”

East of the River Jazz guru Vernard Gray has devoted the last several years to growing jazz audiences, especially east of the Anacostia River, and has been presenting performances since early this year celebrating the centennial of the birth of Billy Strayhorn, a formidable pianist and legendary songwriter and purveyor of music who was also a cohort of Duke Ellington’s.

During the DC Jazz Festival, East of the River JAZZFest performances include the Janelle Gill Ensemble: Exploring Strayhorn, June 12, at the Francis A. Gregory Library; the Strayhorn Jazz Brunch with Karen Lovejoy and The Lovejoy Group, June 13, at the Anacostia Arts Center; Christylez Bacon: Strayhorn from a Hip-Hop Perspective, June 13, at the Francis A. Gregory Library; Reginald Cyntje Ensemble: Strayhorn, Caribbean Interpretations, June 14, at the Honfleur Gallery; and other events. See  HYPERLINK "http://www.eastriverjazz.net" www.eastriverjazz.net for more information. 

Other DC Jazz Festival highlights include the kickoff Jazz ‘n’ Families Fun Days, June 6-7, at the Phillips Collection, and then a potpourri including The Bad Plus Joshua Redman, John Scofield Uberjam Band, Jack DeJohnnette, Paquito D’Rivera, and others at The Hamilton Live downtown; Common, Esperanza Spalding, and others at the DC JazzFest at The Yards; Thundercat, Nicole Mitchell, and more at the CapitalBop Jazz Loft Series, and many other top artists in the Jazz ‘n’ the Hoods venues. 

See www.dcjazzfest.org for complete information.

Congrats to JJA Award Winner Warren Wolf!

Bravo! Baltimore’s multi-talented vibraphonist, pianist, and drummer Warren Wolf has been named the Jazz Journalists Association 2015 Mallets Instrumentalist of the Year. You can catch Wolf with Gary Thomas and The Young Lions in CapitalBop’s Trio of Trios show, June 11, at the Hecht Warehouse (see  HYPERLINK "http://www.capitalbop.com/" \t "_blank" www.capitalbop.com) and June 12 with the Howard Franklin Sextet at Westminster Presbyterian Church. 

And see www.warrenwolfmusic.com for more on the award winner.

Todd Marcus’ “Blues for Tahrir”

Rising musician and composer and bandleader Todd Marcus of Baltimore, though steeped in jazz primarily, says of his Egyptian heritage, first illustrated on his 2012 “Inheritance” album, “As a musician, I found that I really liked the epic compositions and arrangements of Middle Eastern classical music, which tend to have a lot of different movements that take you on a journey.”

Marcus explores more of his nexus of jazz and Middle Eastern music on his latest recording, “Blues for Tahrir.” The HiPNOTIC Records disc features Marcus on bass clarinet and percussion, with fine work from Gregory Tardy, tenor saxophone, Alex Norris, trumpet, Xavier Davis, piano, and Jeff Reed, bass, among others. 

From the opening “Many Moons” intro pieces through “Reflections,” “Protest,” and particularly the incisive and vibrant “Alien,” Marcus melodically achieves his goal of a suite echoing the anguish, frustration, and hope for the future that Egypt has experienced in its Arab Spring upheavals the last several years. And the works, most composed by Marcus, add to his growing stature as an artist and visionary force in the music world.

See www.toddmarcusjazz.com for more information.

June Highlights: … Jazz Meets HipHop/The W.E.S. Group, June 9, THEARC … JAZZForum Muneer Nasser-UpWrite Bass: The Musical Life and Legacy of Jamil Nasser, June 9, University of the District of Columbia … Brad Linde, June 11, Atlas Performing Arts Center … Roberta Gambarini/Cyrus Chestnut, June 11-14, Blues Alley … Janelle Gill Ensemble, June 12, Francis A. Gregory Library … Michael Thomas Quintet, June 12-13, Twins Jazz … Greg Hatza’s Organ Blues Band: Blues – Strayhorn – Blues, June 13, Uniontown Bar and Grill … Herman Burney/Reginald Cyntje: Sunday Morning Strayhorn, June 14, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens … Marty Nau, June 14, Twins Jazz … The Cookers, June 14, Sixth & I Historic Synagogue … AfroHORN, June 14, Bohemian Caverns … Nicolas Payton Trio, June 13-14, Bohemian Caverns …Iva Jean Ambush/Jazz Abuscade: Billy Strayhorn and Lena Horne/They’re Together Again, June 15, Benning Road Library … Bruce Swaim Quartet, June 15, Blues Alley … Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra/Oliver Lake, June 15, Bohemian Caverns … JAZZAlive in the Hood: Bruce Williams with Allyn Johnson and the UDC JAZZtet, June 15, University of the District of Columbia Amphitheatre … Christie Dashiell, June 16, Bohemian Caverns …Terence Blanchard E-Collective, June 16-21, Blues Alley … Gregory Porter, June 17, Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club … Todd Marcus Quartet, June 21, Eubie Blake Cultural Center/Baltimore … Lenny Marcus Trio, June 23, Twins Jazz … Mark Meadows, June 26-27, Twins Jazz …

June Birthdays: Josephine Baker, Dakota Staton 3; Oliver Nelson, Anthony Braxton 4; Monty Alexander 5; Jimmie Lunceford, Grant Green 6; Tal Farlow, Tina Brooks 7; Kenny Barron 9; Chick Corea, Geri Allen 12; Jaki Byard, Erroll Garner 15; Lucky Thompson 16; Eric Dolphy 20; Jamil Nasser 21, Milt Hinton 23; Reggie Workman 26; Andrew Hill 30.


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

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