Jazz treatments of classical music have been a tradition since the days of Jelly Roll Morton. Still, it’s not so common to see a jazz band headlining a concert of works by the giants of the European conservatory. Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Rachmaninov, and Tchaikovsky all get the swing treatment in “Jazz Meets the Classics,” the keynote performance of this year’s D.C. Jazz Festival (co-produced with the Kennedy Center), and they get it from musicians whose names are nearly as titanic as theirs. Bassist Ron Carter and pianist Kenny Barron co-lead the aptly named Classical Jazz Quartet (alongside vibraphonist Stefon Harris and drummer Lewis Nash, future icons in their own right), splitting the bill with clarinet legend (and DCJF artistic director) Paquito d’Rivera and his band. It’s more than another summit of two traditions; it’s a point where yesterday’s musical marble busts come to mingle with tomorrow’s.
“Jazz Meets the Classics” begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, 2700 F St. NW. $20-$26. kennedy-center.org. (202) 467-4600.