Jazz Avenues

Performers at the Generations Legacy Bands show, after the show at the Atlas, March 2, with bands led by drummer Nasar Abadey (middle, scarf around neck) and, to his left, his son drummer Kush Abadey

It’s Jazz Appreciation Time!

A look at the scheduled offerings for this Jazz Appreciation Month shows a bountiful feast of all-star performers. From Afro Blue and the Howard University Jazztet and Afro Bop Alliance at Blues Alley early in the month, to Lyle Link on Tuesdays at Twins Jazz and fellow saxman Elijah Balbed on Tuesdays at Bohemian Caverns, to Jason Marsalis, Frank Wess, Kenny Barron, and Dave Holland at Kennedy Center dates and the Calvin Jones Big Band at UDC, enjoy!

Meanwhile, the Smithsonian Institution has its JAM activities, and the Jazz Journalists Association has its Jazz April campaign, with the JJA pointing out that “UNESCO, in partnership with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, has declared April 30 to be International Jazz Day … when Herbie Hancock and other jazz luminaries perform in a day-long series of Jazz Day concerts livestreamed from Istanbul, Turkey.” Through Jazz April “the JJA is supporting these efforts by encouraging and helping media makers, musicians, venues, businesses and organizations, as well as individual fans and listeners, to use traditional, online and social media” as well as other means to spread the word that April is Jazz Month. JJA encourages all to help “raise the profile of jazz in their communities.”

So follow @jazzapril and #jazzapril, and go to smithsonianjazz.org and jazzjournalists.org for more information. Above all, ATTEND the events all around you.

 

InPerson … Women in Jazz Fest

Geri Allen, Grammy Award-winner and educator with roots at Howard University, dropped into DC at the Atlas, March 27, to close the Washington Women in Jazz Festival with a solo piano performance. Festival founder Amy K. Bormet had previously informed all that Allen was her mentor and how pleased she was to have such an illustrious performer at her festival.

The high bar of anticipation was actually met if not surpassed when Allen played a set of ever-creative and melodic and lyrical beauty, reaching back to Mary Lou Williams days in New York to a “Tears of a Clown” interpretation to her own signature tunes like “Laila’s House,” to entertain a nearly full house with absorbing symphonies of pianism. The standing ovation at the end was well deserved.

The festival had other high moments, including guitarist Sheryl Bailey with the Bohemian Caverns Orchestra and drummer Kimberly Thompson with the Washington Women in Jazz All-Stars, including Bormet on piano, Karine Chapdelaine on bass, and Sarah Hughes and Leigh Pilzer on saxophones.

 

InPerson … The Abadey Legacy Show

Speaking of fulfilling promise, the long awaited Generations Legacy Bands show featuring groups led by Nasar Abadey and his son Kush Abadey did that and more at the Atlas, March 2. Master percussionist Nasar Abadey on the drums led his group, with Allyn Johnson, piano, James King, bass, Joe Ford, saxophones, John Williams, trumpet, and Jabari Exum, also on percussion, in the first set, with some tunes from his latest CD, “Diamonds in the Rough,” such as “The Covenant” – a multilayered piece arguably becoming his signature composition.  

Then the band, led by drummer Kush Abadey, took over, with percussionist Exum doubling down to shout out some rhythmic rap, and saxophonist Arnold Lee, bassist Michael Bowie, and pianist Eden Ladin providing fine support on often edgy and free but always rhythmic tunes.

 

April Highlights: Afro Blue & The HU Jazztet, April 8, Blues Alley … Afro Bop Alliance, April 9, Blues Alley … Lyle Link, April 9, 16, 23, 30, Twins Jazz … Elijah Balbed, April 9, 16, 23, 30, Bohemian Caverns … UDC Jazz Ensembles, April 9, University of the District of Columbia … Gerald Clayton, April 10, Blues Alley … Jason Marsalis, April 12, Kennedy Center … Howard University Jazz Orchestra, April 12, Westminster Presbyterian Church … Warren Wolf, April 12-13, Bohemian Caverns … Stan Kenton Alumni Band, April 17, Blues Alley … Pepper Adams’ Joy Road/Gary Carner, April 17, University of the District of Columbia … Tim Green, April 19, Westminster Church … Mark Whitfield, April 19-20, Bohemian Caverns … The Flail, April 19-20, Twins Jazz … Ernie Watts, April 23-24, Blues Alley … Karrin Allison, April 25, Blues Alley … Frank Wess, April 26, Kennedy Center … Blues Alley Youth Orchestra, Paul Carr Jazz Academy, April 26, Westminster Church … Tim Green, April 26-27, Twins Jazz … Kenny Barron, Dave Holland, April 27, Kennedy Center … Calvin Jones Big Band Festival, April 29, University of the District of Columbia … Sine Qua Non, April 29, Blues Alley …

 

April Birthdays: Harry Carney 1; Booker Little 2; Jimmy McGriff 3; Stanley Turrentine 5; Randy Weston, Gerry Mulligan 6; Billie Holiday, Freddie Hubbard 7; Carmen McRae 8; Herbie Hancock, Al Jarreau 12; Gene Ammons 14; Richard Davis 15; Bennie Green, Herbie Mann 16; Lionel Hampton, Tito Puente 20; Slide Hampton 21; Charles Mingus 22; Johnny Griffin, Joe Henderson 24; Ella Fitzgerald 25; Teddy Edwards 26; Connie Kay 27; Duke Ellington 29; Percy Heath 30.


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