City Paper is not for tourists
Thursday, July 12
The “neighborhood,” such as it were, around Lafayette Square has lost some luster in recent months. But the structures and houses themselves are still picturesque, comfortable, and appreciable, especially if you happen to be in a courtyard surrounded by walls that will keep you from getting an unhappy glance at certain nearby residences. Yes, this all has to do with another season of Jazz on Jackson Place, the summer concert series that happens at the northwestern corner of the park. If the setting is nice in spite of itself, the music is nice in spite of everything else. Especially if it’s bassist Adi Meyerson, performing a CD release concert in support of her wonderful new recording, Where We Stand. As it happens, she is also employing a group of local jazz luminaries to join her on the gig: tenor saxophonist Elijah Balbed, pianist Chris Ziemba (whom we have not much discussed in Setlist, though you may know him from the band Cowboys and Frenchmen), and drummer Tyler Leak. The show begins at 6:30 at Decatur House, 748 Jackson Place NW. $35.
Friday, July 13
During a concert at the DC Jazz Festival this year, a friend of a friend asked “When was the last time a musical performance really moved you?” My gut instinct was to reply, “was the last time I saw Akua Allrich?” Allrich’s artistry is as rich and wondrous as her smile. It is difficult to comprehend whereher vast and bottomless well of soul lies; it must follow her around everywhere because she is never in short supply. None of this is news; Setlist has sung Allrich’s praises as many times as Allrich has sung Nina Simone’s and Miriam Makeba’s music, both of whom are her greatest inspirations. But this is a special performance, because it marks another trip around the sun for Allrich. It may not be a birthday show per se, but we should regard it as one anyway, so says I. Akua Allrich and the Tribe perform at 8 p.m. at Sotto, 1610 14th St. NW. $15.
Saturday, July 14
The photograph of Kuumba Frank Lacy on the Twins website this week shows him playing the trumpet. Lacy is actually best known as a trombonist, though he plays euphonium, tuba, and, yes, trumpet as well. He is a gigantic talent, in other words, and also a big dude with a big brain of astonishing capacity. (In addition to all that musical mastery, he also holds a master’s degree in physics.) His skills with the horns he plays are similarly large. His trombone work remains the most impressive; Lacy handles it with the ease and aplomb of someone born with the bulky instrument in his hands. Where he will take it on this weekend gig is pure speculation: Lacy is one of those players who is equally conversant in the straight-ahead and avant-garde realms, and is not shy about mixing the two in casual musical conversation on the bandstand. Kuumba Frank Lacy performs at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. at Twins Jazz, 1344 U St. NW. $15.
Monday, July 16
Setlist loves trombonist and innovative bandleader Shannon Gunn, and is especially enthusiastic about her efforts to intensify the spotlight on female musicians. Even as the number of women in jazz continues to climb, even as names get bigger and the spectrum grows wider, jazz remains a boys club (Setlist pleads guilty to perpetuating it), so finding space in the music and on the bandstand for women remains as important as ever. Gunn accomplishes this not only with her big band, The Bullettes, but by using small group spinoffs of it in other contexts, like this one. Gunn is bringing a sextet to Blues Alley, which is working to establish Monday nights on its calendar as local music nights. Gunn’s group features vocalist Shacara West (no relation), trumpeter Rachel Thierren, bassist Karine Chapdelaine, drummer Angel Bethea, and, by the way, the triumphant D.C. return of Amy K. Bormet, who has finished with her stint in Los Angeles and come back where she belongs, with us! Shannon Gunn & the Bullettes Sextet performs at 8 and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $20.