We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
It’s jazz-festival season again: If you drive up to the Big Apple between mid-May and mid-June, you’ll witness a flurry of jazz activity as the avant-garde Vision Festival bleeds into the equally adventurous Bell Atlantic New York Jazz Festival. One of the major hothouses in the city is the legendary Knitting Factory, which has grown from a little fire hazard of a club into KnitMedia, an international multimedia institution. As a precursor to the forthcoming meltdown in New York, KnitMedia has tapped into Philadelphia’s, D.C.’s, and Boston’s jazz scenes to string together an extended multicity, multivenue opening act dubbed the Bell Atlantic Jazz Festival. The D.C. festival’s haphazard lineup and lack of thematic unity suggest a big corporate merger rather than big festival, and without a central location or the money-sucking extras of fast food and street vendors, the event many escape the notice of many local jazz fans. But those in the know may decide among pianist McCoy Tyner’s three-night engagement at Blues Alley (at 8 and 10 p.m. Friday, May 14, to Sunday, May 16; $26.75; pictured), D.C.’s own fire-spitting saxophonist Andrew White’s two-night foray at One Step Down (at X p.m. Friday, May 14, and Saturday, May 15; $XX), and vocal sensation Miles Griffith’s two-night appearance at Twins Lounge (at X p.m. Friday, May 14, and Saturday, May 15; $XX). Rounding out the festival with single-night performances are the legendary pianist Dave Brubeck at Lincoln Theatre (at 8 p.m. Friday, May 14; $28-35), the Jazz Poet Society (at 9 p.m. Saturday, May 15; $10) and Bossalingo (at 9 p.m. Sunday, May 16; $10) at State of the Union, Naftule’s Dream at the D.C. Jewish Community Center (at 10 p.m. Saturday, May 15; $12), and saxophonist Joe Lovano at the Kennedy Center’s Grand Foyer (at 6 p.m. Sunday, May 16; free). At Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Rear, (202) 337-4141; One Step Down, 2517 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, (202) 955-7141; Twins Lounge, 5516 Colorado Ave. NW, (202) 882-2523; Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW, (202) 328-6000; State of the Union, 1357 U St. NW, (202) 588-8810; the D.C. Jewish Community Center, 16th & Q Sts. NW, (202) 518-9400; and the Kennedy Center’s Grand Foyer, (202) 467-4600. (John Murph)