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Thursday, August 30
“Hope you’re ready to dance” is not something you expect to hear from a jazz band—at least not one that isn’t wearing matching suits and ties. But you’ve got to hand it to The Voyage, a quartet based in those hallowed halls at George Mason University in Fairfax and one from whom you might hear that admonition: They’ve got a hell of a funk pocket. Alto saxophonist John Longbottom and guitarist Connor Holdridge make up the impressive front line, but you’re just as likely (if not more so!) to hear satisfying, meaty solos from bassist Ben Rikhoff and drummer Patrick Foit, and likelier indeed to hear and see some inspiring interaction between those two back-line players. It’s a more than worthy pursuit for you, O D.C. jazz lover; they’re not superstars, they’re not (yet) local stars, but they’re fresh and hip and they could very well be the future. The Voyage performs at 8 and 10 p.m. at 1344 U St. NW. $10.
Friday, August 31
Most of us around these parts (and at this point just about everywhere else) are familiar with Warren Wolf, the Baltimorean vibraphonist who is a member of the SFJAZZ Collective and has released a number of beautiful records. But for this local hit, Wolf has issued an important caveat. “If you’re expecting to see me on vibraphone,” he says, “don’t come.” Wolf, as it happens, is also a drummer and keyboardist, and he’ll be leading this band on the latter instrument. He also notes that you shouldn’t look for the traditional swing rhythms in this set—which features a group of Baltimore-based journeymen who are all regulars on the D.C. scene; one of them, drummer Dana Hawkins, actually lives here though he’s a Baltimore native. The others you know too: saxophonist Clarence Ward III, bassist Corey Baker, and vocalist Micah Smith. They perform at 8 p.m. at Sotto, 1610 14th Street NW (downstairs). $15.
Tuesday, September 4
So the thing about Dwayne Adell is that his name on a marquee (or on a website) could easily mean he’s playing solo, or with a trio. (At his last D.C. headline gig, in March, he had Mikel Combs on bass and Lee Pearson on drums.) It doesn’t matter which: What you’ll hear out of him is fierce swing and virtuosity that will make your hair stand on end. And yet the surprise still has value. He is full of surprises, too, apart from the configuration in which he plays. Will he dig into his repertoire of magnificent original compositions, or give you something from his book of favorite standards? Will he talk to the audience about some of the abstruse concepts running around his head, or keep his head down and communicate solely through his music? Will the people of Washington, D.C. finally appreciate the stunning genius who lives and plays in their midst, or will he play to yet another half-full house? The latter is something you can—and should—do something about. Dwayne Adell plays at 8 and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $22.
Wednesday, September 5
The name of Steve Wilson’s Analog Band is more significant than it seems on the surface. Jazz is awfully analog by nature; seeing the stellar alto saxophonist and flutist Wilson with bassist Ben Williams and drummer Willie Jones III, non-digital music would be more or less expected, even if Williams is on the electric bass. The fourth member of the band, however, is keyboardist Raymond Angry—a high-stakes player in the decidedly non-analogue world of 21st century pop music. He’s written for, played with, and produced the likes of Christina Aguilera, The Roots, Dionne Warwick, and Joss Stone, along with Dianne Reeves and Esperanza Spalding in our little corner of the musical universe. Those situations often required him to play some intensive synthesizers, and a little bit of Hammond B-3 and piano. The name of the band tells us that it’s a pretty high chance that we’ll hear the latter instruments or relatives thereof… but it’s a supposition, because this writer hasn’t yet heard the band. They’ve recorded once, an expensive vinyl-only slate entitled Sit Back Relax & Unwind. Why not test-drive them in concert first? Steve Wilson’s Analog Band performs at 8 and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley. $25.