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Thursday, August 9
If you’ve been a jazz person in D.C. for the past few years, you surely know the luminous tones and beautiful harmonies of pianist Noble Jolley, a D.C. native and one of its best keyboard exponents. But it’s 2018 now, and your jazz watching now has to go back a few years more for you to also know about Nate Jolley, Noble’s identical twin brother and a fantastic drummer. They are the children of Noble Senior, a guitarist and composer who was beloved around town before his untimely passing 15 years ago, and they have carried forth his legacy ever since. Nate just does so in a little bit different a vehicle: He now lives in Los Angeles, where he works as a producer and promoter. But D.C. is still home, Noble is still his brother and partner in crime—and they are celebrating their birthday. And you are invited to the party. Nate and Noble Jolley perform at 8 p.m. at Sotto, 1610 14th St. NW. $15.
Friday, August 10
Loving jazz flute means not getting many opportunities to write about it. Most of the time it’s a saxophonist’s second (or third) instrument, broken out in a big band to play the Frank Wess part in an old Basie chart and then put away for a few weeks. It’s a shame, because the flute and jazz were made for each other. The flute is incredibly limber, ideally suited for putting a prance to a melody (and don’t underestimate the importance of prancing in either a swing rhythm or a bebop melody) and a remarkably penetrating sound even in its softest, breathiest guise. Exhibit A might be Andrea Brachfeld, already a nearly 30-year veteran of New York jazz when she recorded her debut album in 1999. She found notice and success working in a Latin jazz band (about the only place a jazz flutist can get either) called Charanga ’76, built a career in that department, and developed a brilliant virtuosity that was as suited to the straightahead jazz sound on which she often situates her own recordings—certainly her newest, If Not Now, When? Andrea Brachfeld performs at 5 p.m. at Jazz in the Garden, i.e., the Smithsonian Sculpture Garden, 7th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free.
Saturday, August 11
In June, your humble correspondent went to the Istanbul Jazz Festival, where he fell in with an international consort of jazz presenters, journalists, and critics. In discussing the musicians we found exciting, one name energized everyone involved: Jaimie Branch, the Chicago-based experimental trumpeter. “She makes sounds on the trumpet I’ve never heard before,” said one newfound colleague, and it truly was as simple as that. Now imagine such a voice set in tandem with an already-established experimental trio like the DMV’s own Heart of the Ghost, thus putting Branch alongside saxophonist Jarrett Kilgore, bassist Luke Stewart, and drummer Ian McColm. Now imagine that venturesome quartet as only one half of a double bill! They open for another steadfast sonic explorer, the great soprano saxophonist Sam Newsome, who tends to perform solo, and whose arsenal of sounds and techniques is so wide that any adjective you may choose to describe his work can only possibly describe one small facet of his music. They begin at 8 p.m. at Rhizome, 6950 Maple St. NW. Donation suggested.
Monday, August 13
It almost seems like it came out of nowhere: The city is absolutely bursting with superb jazz vocalists. That’s hyperbole, of course. Nobody who’s been to the Sunday afternoon Vocalist Jam at JoJo, for example—or who’s been to Westminster Presbyterian just about any damn Friday night—can say that it came out of nowhere. Still, our bumper crop does seem to be at a new peak, and one of the greatest reapers is the wonderful Christie Dashiell. The torch bearer (torch singer, anyway) of a talented D.C.-by-way-of-North-Carolina family is known to music lovers for her extraordinary dynamic contour and rhythmic solidity. To musicians, she’s equally known for her precision and limitless harmonic ears. It’s only a matter of time before she’s known to a much larger world, too—lucky for us, she remains devoted to the District’s jazz scene, certainly devoted enough to work with its powerhouse trio of pianist Allyn Johnson, bassist Romeir Mendez, and her drummer brother C.V. Dashiell. Christie Dashiell performs at 8 and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1037 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $22.