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WEDNESDAY

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When 22-year-old saxophonist Teodross Avery made his inaugural appearance here last year, I was barely aware of his recently released debut, In Other Words. I happened to hear an interview and a couple of songs on the radio the day of the show and rushed out to buy the CD. The Middle Eastern drone, “An Ancient Civilization,” clashed with the urgent clang of “Urban Survival” and the pure swing of Wayne Shorter’s “Edda,” making Words the most remarkable debut I had heard in quite a while. And last year’s show was, if I may loosen up my critical vocabulary for a moment, an ass-kicker. Avery’s forceful, immediate playing contrasted with his passive leadership, which allowed pianist Charles Craig to shine. Make that ignite. Craig pounded the piano like it had just stolen his girlfriend. In this age of free agency, I can only hope Avery has been able to retain Craig for tonight’s performance. And I hope that Blues Alley’s piano still philanders. At 8 & 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Rear Wisconsin Ave. NW. $16. (202) 337-4141. CP