Jazz pianist Tommy Flanagan returns to the Willard Hotel’s Nest Lounge for an extended weekend run. In 1945, Flanagan, only 15, made his professional debut in his native Detroit. Eleven years later, he moved to New York, where his intimidating first gig was subbing for piano legend Bud Powell at Birdland. Word of Flanagan’s musicianship quickly spread, and soon he was recording with Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, and John Coltrane as well releasing as his own albums. In 1968, he began a decade-long stint as Ella Fitzgerald’s accompanist. (The inimitable vocalist found him a constant source of inspiration, observing, “He really started getting me singing what I heard inside and wanted to get out.”) Since 1978, he has toured and recorded with his own trios. On this year’s Grammy-nominated CD Sea Changes, he revisited the repertoire of Overseas, his first album as leader, recorded in Stockholm in 1957. This collection of standards (“I Cover the Waterfront,” “How Deep Is the Ocean”) and originals (“Eclypso,” “Verdandi”) documents the evolution of a gifted musician to a nonpareil artist. Flanagan possesses, in abundance, everything one might hope to find in a jazz improviser—technique, imagination, taste, wit, lyricism, and the ability to swing at all tempos. This weekend, Flanagan will be working with two of D.C.’s finest musicians—bassist Tommy Cecil and drummer Mike Smith. Don’t miss out on perfection at 8:30 & 10:30 Friday-Sunday, April 3-5, at the Willard Hotel’s Nest

Lounge, 1401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. $22. (202) 638-9100. (Joel E. Siegel)