Jazz Avenues

Vocalist Kristine Key, who has released her debut CD, “Nice … as Can Be,” appears Oct. 11 at Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Jazz at the Atlas Back with a Bang

One of the more rewarding additions to the jazz scene in recent years has been the seasonal series at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on H Street NE, where curator Brad Linde has fashioned provocative and stimulating treats for music lovers. Now in its third year, jazz at the Atlas pushes the envelope this month, especially with back-to-back performances by homeboy Brian Settles on Oct. 23 and then Wadada Leo Smith on Oct. 25-26.

A graduate of Duke Ellington School of the Arts and Howard University, Settles has become known, according to Atlas information, for “creative risk-taking” and “freely swinging between traditional and unconventional forms of jazz.” He has demonstrated all of that and more in previous appearances at the Atlas, the DC Jazz Festival, Bohemian Caverns, and elsewhere. Settles will be playing with his band, Central Union, featuring Corcoran Holt, bass, Jeremy Carlstedt, drums, Jean Marie Collatin-Faye, percussion, and Neil Podgurski, piano.

Next up is Smith, who “in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington will present his Smith presents Ten Freedom Summers, his tribute to the Civil Rights movement paying homage to heroes including Emmett Till, Rosa Parks, Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King, Jr.,” according to publicity information. More than music, the production features “archival news footage and evocative but abstract cinematic imagery.” The production was inspired conceptually by August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning 10-play “Pittsburgh Cycle,” in which each play chronicles a decade of African-American life in the 20th century. Go to www.atlasarts.org for ticket information and more details.

Kristine Key … Nice

Vocalist Kristine Key, who has shared the stage with such talents as Nancy Wilson and Branford Marsalis, among others, has released her debut CD, “Nice…as Can Be,” and will be appearing on Oct. 11 at Westminster Presbyterian Church. The date also features DeAndrey Howard on trumpet, Vince Smith, keyboard, Blake Meister, bass and Ron Compton, drums. Key, who studied at the Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory, has drawn fine reviews for her CD, which features romantic favorites “I Will Wait for You,” “Let's Fall in Love,” and “I'll Close My Eyes.”

See www.kristinekeymusic.com for more information.

Aldana Wows Judges at T. Monk Competition

Although she was the only woman among the 13 semifinalists in last month's Thelonious Monk Institute saxophone competition at the Kennedy Center, Melissa Aldana said she never felt out of place because of her gender, according to information from www.berklee.edu, the website of her school, the Berklee College of Music. “Even though I know that [my win] is a big deal, because I’m the first one, I never felt different because I’m a female. I felt I was competing with all those great young musicians and I’m just one of them,” said Aldana, of Santiago, Chile, as she became the first woman instrumental winner of the 26-year event.

A statement by the Monk Institute said the competition and gala concert “came to a close with roaring applause as first place winner Melissa Aldana traded choruses with saxophone great Jimmy Heath and joined an all-star cast in a finale featuring Heath’s classic composition ‘Gingerbread Boy.’”

Tivon Pennicott, 27, of Marietta, Ga., and Godwin Louis, 28, of Harlem, N.Y., finished second and third respectively. Aldana won a $25,000 first-place scholarship and a recording contract with Concord Music Group.


October Highlights: Roy Hargrove, Oct. 8-13, Blues Alley ... Wayne Shorter/Curtis Fuller Tribute, Oct. 10, Twins Jazz ... Kristine Key/Collector's Edition, Oct. 11, Westminster Presbyterian Church ... The Mosaic Project, Geri Allen, Terri Lyne Carrington, Esperanza Spalding, Oct. 11, Kennedy Center ... JazzAlive Forum: Willard Jenkins, Keeping Jazz Alive, Oct. 16, University of the District of Columbia Recital Hall 46 … Allison Crockett, Oct. 17, Twins Jazz ... Stanley Clarke, Oct. 17-20, Blues Alley ... Larry Brown Quintet, Oct. 18, Westminster Presbyterian Church ... Winard Harper/The Jeli Posse, Oct. 18, Kennedy Center ... Sharon Clark, Oct. 18, Chez Billy ... Javon Jackson, We Four: Celebrating John Coltrane ... Oct. 19, Kennedy Center ... Ralph Peterson, Oct. 18-20, Bohemian Caverns ... Brian Settles & Central Union, Oct. 23, Atlas Performing Arts Center ... Lena Seikaly, Oct. 25, Chez Billy ... Thad Wilson Quartet, Oct. 25-26, Twins Jazz ...

October Birthdays: Walter Bishop Jr. 4; Jo Jones, Larry Young 7; Pepper Adams 8; Abdullah Ibrahim, Kenny Garrett 9; Thelonius Monk 10; Junior Mance, Harry Edison, Art Blakey 11; Mel Rhyne 12; Art Tatum, Ray Brown, Von Freeman, Lee Konitz, Pharoah Sanders, Johnny Lytle 13; Fela Anikulapo-Kuti 15; Roy Hargrove 16; Cozy Cole 17; Wynton Marsalis 18; Jelly Roll Morton 20; Dizzy Gillespie, Don Byas 21; Ernie Watts 23; Jimmy Heath 25; Milton Nascimenton 26; Zoot Sims 27; Clifford Brown 30; Illinois Jacquet, Booker Irvin 31.