Sign up for our free newsletter
Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.
Repertory jazz is often looked upon with scorn. Jazz is about, like, spontaneous improvisation, man. But orchestral jazz works like Birth of the Cool and Africa/Brass are as much about their written arrangements as their solos. Tonight’s recreation of John Coltrane’s Africa/Brass session features Reggie Workman, whose distinctive bass figures begin the original 1961 album. Coltrane wanted a mellow sound to accompany the dense polyrhythms and varied time signatures he, Eric Dolphy, and McCoy Tyner had conceived for Africa/Brass. So Coltrane gathered 10 low brass instruments, as well as a few reeds and a flute, to augment his quartet. The remarkable results are among the saxophonist’s most beautiful achievements. NPR’s JazzSet with Branford Marsalis will be recording for a later broadcast when Workman, a 19-piece band directed by trumpeter Charles Tolliver, and a full gospel choir kick off District Curator’s Jazz Arts ’98 summer festival at 7 p.m. at All Souls Unitarian Church, 16th & Harvard Sts. NW. $15. (202) 783-0360. (Christopher Porter)