Jazz Avenues

Trumpet maestro and bandleader Thad Wilson has several appearances in December including leading a tribute show and presentation on Miles Davis, Dec. 16 and 17, at Westminster Presbyterian Church. Photo: Thad Wilson

Merry, Merry Jazz for All, All Over

Merry, merry musical treats featuring an all-star group of entertainers highlight offerings for December in all sections of the city, from the cozy Jazz and Cultural Society in Northeast to Westminster Presbyterian Church in Southwest, and to The Brixton and the Kennedy Center, Blues Alley, and Twins Jazz in Northwest.

One vintage act to catch is the inimitable Freddy Cole, vocalist and master pianist, at Blues Alley, Dec. 15-18. Trumpeter Thad Wilson has a couple of notable appearances, including leading a tribute to Miles Davis at Westminster on Dec. 16. The next day, for the “Thinking About Jazz/Miles Davis: Enigmatic Visionary” event at Westminster, Wilson makes a presentation onDavis. “The shy son of an Illinois dentist, Miles Dewey Davis III would undergo several transformations before becoming the image of the cool,” says the Westminster information. “Change was the driving force in his life and music … Musical genius, visionary artist, enigma, at his peak he withdrew, becoming a recluse yet still looms large as a cultural icon.” 

Jazz and Cultural Society performances this month include Ron Pender on Dec. 14, Connaitre Miller, Chris Grasso, and Bruce Williams on Dec. 18, and a Holiday Jam Session on Dec. 28.

A special show with Sherrie Maricle & The Diva Jazz Orchestra honors Ella Fitzgerald, Dec. 16-17, at the Kennedy Center.The shows highlight “the centenary of late Kennedy Center Honoree and NEA Jazz Master Ella Fitzgerald,” with Maricle and friends performing selections from Fitzgerald's “Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas” and other big band tunes.

The fiery sax player Tedd Baker leads the DC Jazz Jam at The Brixton on Dec. 18. Notable Blues Alley performers include the sultry vocalist Jane Monheit, Dec. 22-23, and the masterful Cyrus Chestnut, Dec. 26-31.

Bobby Hill Now at WOWD-LP

Bobby Hill tells us he has “transitioned” from WPFW-FM 89.3, his longtime home (a big loss for them) to the new WOWD-LP, the Takoma Park startup playing many types of alternative music including several jazz programs. Hill’s email alert: “Did you hear? After 3-decades plus, Bobby Hill has transitioned from WPFW to WOWD. WOWD is Takoma Park’s NEW! FM (94.3FM) & streaming (takomaradio.org) radio station. Bobby brings and shares: ‘This! Music’ – free, improvised and other creative forms of jazz-based music. No standards. No standard repertoire. Saturdays 10AM-1PM.”

InReview ... Christie Dashiell, ‘Time All Mine’

A songbird known for her many flights of uplifting vocals with Howard University’s award-winning Afro Blue group and recordings by Reginald Cyntje and Sine Qua Non in particular, Christie Dashiell, a semifinalist in last year’s Thelonious Monk vocalist competition, has stepped out with a formidable debut CD, “Time All Mine,” on the House Studio Records label.

Highlights include the title tune, with Dashiell’s elegant vocals embellishing “time” in the stirring choruses, as well as “Dreamland,” an enchanting, catchy melody ride, “Dynasty,” featuring Dashiell’s seamless, quicksilver scats, and “Oh,” a true gem for its emotive and rhythmic simplicity and urgent and soaring Dashiell wordful and wordless phrasings. The true standout is “How to Love,” with Dashiell’s frank, open and pure storytelling delivery in a song, and song in a story interplay, in a dramatic delivery that climbs the staircase of emotions. For more information see www.christiedashiell.com.

December highlights: … Fred Foss/Charlie Young, Alto Gladness, Dec. 9, Westminster Presbyterian Church … Michael Thomas Quintet, Dec. 9-10, Twins Jazz … DeAndrey Howard’s Collector’s Edition, Dec. 10, Jazz and Cultural Society … NPR’s A Jazz Piano Christmas, Dec. 10, Kennedy Center … Thad Wilson, Dec. 11, Jazz and Cultural Society … Herb Scott, Dec. 11, DC Jazz Jam/The Brixton … Eric Felten Jazz Orchestra, Dec. 13-14, Blues Alley … Ron Pender, Dec. 14, Jazz and Cultural Society … Freddy Cole, Dec. 15-18, Blues Alley … Thad Wilson/Tribute to Miles Davis, Dec. 16, Westminster Presbyterian Church … Tony Martucci, Dec. 16-17, Twins Jazz … Sherrie Maricle & The DIVA Jazz Orchestra, Dec, 16-17, Kennedy Center … Thinking About Jazz/Miles Davis: Enigmatic Visionary, Dec. 17, Westminster Presbyterian Church … Connaitre Miller/Chris Grasso/Bruce Williams, Dec. 18, Jazz and Cultural Society … Nicole Saphos Quartet, Dec. 18, Twins Jazz … Tedd Baker, Dec. 18, DC Jazz Jam/The Brixton … Benji Porecki, Dec. 20, Blues Alley … William Knowles/Mark Saltman Group, Dec. 21, Jazz and Cultural Society … Twins Jazz Orchestra, Dec. 22, Twins Jazz … Jane Monheit, Dec. 22-23, Blues Alley … Elijah Cole, Dec. 23, Twins Jazz … Fred Hughes Christmas Special, Dec. 23, Westminster Presbyterian Church … Cyrus Chestnut Trio, Dec. 26-31, Blues Alley … Holiday Jam Session, Dec. 28, Jazz and Cultural Society …

December birthdays: Wynton Kelly 2; Jim Hall 4; Dave Brubeck, Frankie Dunlop 5; Jimmy Smith 8; Donald Byrd 9; Ray Nance 10; McCoy Tyner 11; Tony Williams 12; Clark Terry, Cecil Payne 14; Sy Oliver 17; Fletcher Henderson 18; Chet Baker 23; Baby Dodds 24; Cab Calloway, Don Pullen 25; Earl Hines 28.

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

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