Thursday, Oct. 12
Jaimeo Brown represents jazz’s future—at least, he represents futuristic ways of mining the past. The drummer-composer’s music makes generous use of samples and loops from historical tape archives—on last year’s album Work Songs, that was Alan Lomax’s 1930s field recordings from the rural American south. But they’re just a foundation: Brown blends them beautifully with acoustic improvised jazz, sometimes contemporary interpretations of the folk traditions those tapes represent, and electronic drones and effects that create a dreamy, collage-like tapestry of several temporal lanes coming together. No accident that Brown calls his band Transcendence. It’s a perfect way to acquaint yourself with MilkBoy ArtHouse, a new venue/restaurant/experimental art project just off the University of Maryland campus (a joint venture of UMUC’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and the MilkBoy Recording Studio in Philadelphia). Jaimeo Brown’s Transcendence (whose size varies, but tends toward a sextet) performs at 7 and 9 p.m. at MilkBoy ArtHouse, 7416 Baltimore Ave. in College Park. $10-$30.
In the era of Trump, jazz is becoming one of the hot spots of political commentary—and D.C., by virtue of that context, is among the hottest. Furthermore, the extraordinary pianist, vocalist, and composer Mark G. Meadows is among the most committed to making music of social justice and political import; he wrote and recorded one of the scene’s anthems, “Stay Woke,” last year (on the aptly titled For the People album); he even changed the name of his band from Somethin’ Good to The Movement in order to make his activism crystal clear. Meadows joins forces this week with another D.C.-based force for social justice activism: All Souls Unitarian Church in Columbia Heights. At a concert Meadows is calling “A Chorus of Action,” they will perform “songs of solidarity and unity, and perhaps a few spooky tunes in honor of Friday the 13th.” This writer, personally, is holding out for his favorite, “Once Upon a Purple Night.” Mark G. Meadows and The Movement perform at 7 p.m. at All Souls’ Pierce Hall, 1500 Harvard St. NW. $20 (children free).
Saturday, Oct. 14
Yes, Thelonious Monk’s 100th birthday was this week (October 10). Yes, Dizzy Gillespie’s 100th birthday is next week (Oct. 21). Both are being celebrated with special galas at the Kennedy Center. But because of this, another jazz landmark is in danger of being eclipsed. That would be the birthday of Lee Konitz, who turns 90 years old on Friday. In the era of high bebop—the postwar ‘40s—Konitz did something that almost no other young alto saxophonist did. He crafted a sound that was completely distinct from that of Charlie Parker. And he did it using the same wellspring of inspiration, the almighty Lester Young. Konitz was and is the foremost student of what’s called “the Tristano school,” something between a spinoff and a parallel development to the aforementioned high bebop; as such Konitz was one of the early explorers of both cool jazz (he’s the last surviving member of Miles Davis’s “Birth of the Cool” nonet) and what would become free jazz. That’s a major figure, and there’s no getting around it, even for the titanic likes of Diz and Monk. The Lee Konitz Trio performs at 7 and 9 p.m. at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater, 2700 F St. NW. $25-$39.
Monday, Oct. 16
It has been a long time—nearly 18 months!—since we were able to say this:The Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra has a regular Monday night residency. That’s such a big deal that it merits breaking a Jazz Setlist guideline against two picks in the same venue. Yes, it’s at MilkBoy ArtHouse, the same venue where Jaimeo Brown is playing on Saturday. As it happens, Brad Linde is acting as a curator there, much as he once did at Atlas; how could he do otherwise than to bring the much beloved, once-weekly attraction that he co-leads with Joe Herrera back to its traditional Monday night spot? OK, so it’s only once a month this time. OK, so it’s not actually in the District of Columbia. Are you gonna begrudge the resplendent 17-piece big band a few miles’ drive to the UMUC campus every four weeks? (SPOILER: No.) The Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra (featuring trumpeter/composer Ken Schaphorst) performs at 8 and 10 p.m. at MilkBoy ArtHouse, 7416 Baltimore Ave. in College Park. $15.