There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
A highly esteemed contributor to the Washington music scene for over two decades, Baltimore-born bassist Tommy Cecil has performed with a Who’s Who of jazz legends, among them Chet Baker, Benny Carter, Dorothy Donegan, Joe Henderson, Milt Jackson, Anita O’Day, Sonny Stitt, Teddy Wilson, and Phil Woods. Cecil’s command of a wide range of jazz idioms has allowed him to collaborate successfully with artists as disparate as the venerable showman Cab Calloway and the exploratory saxophonist Dewey Redman. Locally, he has enjoyed long, fruitful musical relationships with saxophonist Buck Hill and pianists John Eaton and Louis Scherr. Samba for Felix, Cecil’s new Slider CD, showcases his talent as a composer. He wrote five of the album’s tracks, including the rollicking title piece, dedicated to the memory of Washington jazz disc jockey Felix Grant. On the disc, Cecil’s compositions—supplemented by melodies by Duke Ellington, Ivan Lins, and Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe—are performed by an all-star sextet including pianist Tommy Flanagan, saxophonist Gary Bartz, and guitarist Paul Bollenback. Tonight, Cecil launches his new release by heading an ensemble of top-flight area musicians: saxophonist Bruce Swaim, guitarist Royce Campbell, pianist Robert Redd, drummer Mike Smith, and percussionist Tony Martucci. Join this local hero for an evening of inventive, hard-swinging jazz at 8 and 10 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 8, at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Rear. $14. (202) 337-4141. (Joel E. Siegel)