Thursday, Aug. 17
It’s been too long since you went to see Marshall Keys and his band at JoJo. Far too long. Because Keys is unfortunately all too easy to take for granted; he’s one of the city’s long-serving talents, and when he’s not doing great freelance work as a sideman he’s got a stable, comfortable residency at this U Street basement. The fact, though, is that Keys is an enormously gifted player, one who reminds you of it at every turn, every note he plays on the alto sax (and sometimes soprano, on which he does superb work). Two other fantastic musicians, Federico Pena and Mark Prince, serve as his backup at the gig, with a rotating bassist—and frequently guests. By “guests,” I mean sit-ins, fellow musicians who happen by and are then invited to join the band onstage (or in the window well in the case of JoJo’s).You won’t be disappointed. Marshall Keys performs at 8 p.m. at JoJo, 1518 U St. NW. Free.
Saturday, Aug. 19
CapitalBop’s website quotes Time Out New York in saying that vocalist Fay Victor “manages to deconstruct the tradition of jazz without pretension or tedium,” and if I quote that at length here it’s because it’s hard to come up with a better description of what, precisely, Victor does. It might be best to call her the most cutting-edge free-jazz vocalist, if only one could be absolutely convinced that it was all improvised. Perhaps better to say that it often sounds freely improvised, with words and ideas, syllables and musical phrases fragmented, turned inside out, or simply presented in completely new contexts that defy years of convention in melody and harmony. (Not rhythm, though—Victor is very, very careful and punctilious with rhythm, which is very much why I can’t put hand to God that it’s not premeditated in at least some aspects.) What you hear coming out of her sounds like something between singing, rapping, poetic readings, and highly stylized spoken-word performance. Fay Victor and her ensembleSoundNoiseFunk (with opening act alto saxophonist Sarah Hughes) perform beginning at 8 p.m. at Capital Fringe, 1358 Florida Ave. NE. $15-20.
Sunday, Aug. 20
The Fourth Stream’s mission to fuse jazz with world music influences—particularly those of the Asian subcontinent—has not let it interfere with their other mission. That is, to use the technical term, to swing like a motherfucker. Drummer and leader Sriram Gopal hits hard, with rhythms both complex and highly groove-able, and never seems to fail to light a fire under the feet of his (rotating) cast of collaborators. Most regular among these is probably guitarist Rob Coltun, though keyboardist Geoff Rohrbach and bassist Michael Bowie—members of this week’s Fourth Stream—have also gotten their share of combat points in Gopal’s outfit. But there’s also a newcomer to the fold this time out: trombonist Shannon Gunn, she of The Bullettes, The Firebird Organ Trio, and The Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra. The very idea of adding the adventurous Gunn to the mix is promising enough to make this week’s Setlist. The Fourth Stream performs at 8:30 p.m. at Bossa, 2463 18th St. NW. Free.
Wednesday, Aug. 23
The arrival of a new jam session on the scene is always good news, indeed always exciting news—especially if it’s coming to an area of town that hadn’t previously had much jazz happening. Case in point: upper Petworth, the section of the neighborhood lying north of Grant Circle, where previously the closest (semi-) regular jazz gig was at the Petworth Jazz Project. But now, a restaurant on Georgia Avenue has decided two nights a week to become a jazz venue. It’s a Wednesday and Friday night jam that features a quintet as the house band: Tom Kitchen on guitar, Mike Kunselman on saxophone, Jeffrey Greenberg on piano, Zack Williams on bass, and Ian Dylan on drums. And you. Bring your instrument, have a burger, enjoy the music, and make this a lasting gig. The jazz jam begins at 7 p.m. at Castello’s, 5201 Georgia Ave. NW. Free.