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Monday, September 10
The fantastic Marshall Keys has stories about gigging with Buck Hill, Reuben Brown, Lawrence Wheatley, and who knows how many others in the pantheon of great D.C. jazz musicians. He’s also endearingly modest about the idea—in this writer’s opinion, the fact—that he belongs in that pantheon himself. Alto saxophonist Keys is just happy to have carved out a niche in the musical ecosystem. As it happens, that niche these days includes working with the band that provides gospel-jazz for the Sunday services at Washington National Cathedral. That ensemble also includes such powerhouses as trombonist Reginald Cyntje, keyboardist Federico Gonzalez Peña, bassist Michael Bowie, drummer Mark Prince, vocalists Lena Seikaly and Imani-Grace Cooper, and some musical input and additional keyboard work from the Cathedral’s own Rev. Andrew K. Barnett. Bring your tired, thirsty soul along with you to the show. Marshall Keys and the Soulful Path performs at 8 and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $25.
Wednesday, September 12
It will probably be on Donny McCaslin’s tombstone that his quartet was David Bowie’s backing band on Bowie’s final album, 2016’s Black Star. And if you happen to hear Beyond Now, the first album the saxophonist released after that collaboration, you might think it was clearly informed by his work with Bowie. But if you were to dig a little deeper and listen to prior McCaslin albums like Perpetual Motion (2010), Casting for Gravity (2012), or Fast Future (2015), you’d realize very quickly that you had it backwards. It wasn’t that McCaslin had been checking out Bowie; it was that Bowie had been checking out McCaslin. Thus, if you enjoyed the dark, plugged-in, skating-on-the-edge jazz-rock feel that characterized Bowie’s farewell masterpiece, you really ought to get it from the horse’s mouth. Well, here’s your chance, nestled into the intimate subterranean environs of a new Southwest venue. Donny McCaslin performs at 8 p.m. at Union Stage, 740 Water St. SW. $20–$30.