Get to know D.C. with our daily newsletter
We dive deep on the day’s biggest story and share links to everything you need to know.
Thursday, August 3
Marty Nau had a long weekly residency at Twins, where he still plays regularly; he was (is? It’s complicated) also a longtime member of the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, and led the wind section of the U.S. Navy Commodores. With 37 years of that kind of work in Washington under his belt, I think it’s fair to call him a major part of the D.C. jazz scene. And so it’s good to see him setting up for a gig at one of the city’s most prestigious addresses. Yes, it’s the final installment of this season at Jazz at Jackson Place, the happy hour event on ever-picturesque Lafayette Square that features booze, nibbles, and sweet, sweet music. Nau’s splendid sound is accentuated by those of pianist Robert Redd, bassist Tommy Cecil, and drummer Tony Martucci. They play beginning at 6:30 at Decatur House Museum, 748 Jackson Place NW. $30.Saturday, August 5
Not long ago, alto saxophonist and adventurer Sarah Hughes put on a remarkable performance at Twins Jazz that she called “Calling All Voices.” After a short set of their own, Hughes and her trio invited any interested audience members to join them on stage for a freeform improvisation that ended up featuring a clarinet, trombone, piano, baritone sax, and a Louis Armstrong-impersonating (and -abstracting) vocalist. It was one of the most inspiring evenings of music this critic had seen in quite some time. Well, not long after that, the inspiring auteur of that evening was carjacked in Baltimore, losing, among other things, her saxophone in the process. The D.C. jazz community—a “community” in the truest sense of the word—has of course rallied behind Sarah, organizing a benefit for her at Takoma’s Rhizome. Electronics experimenter Christine Paluch will be on hand (as PraxisCat); so will Trio OOO, the wonderful freeform jazz trio starring Aaron Martin, Luke Stewart, and Sam Lohman; and Hughes herself, in what is being billed as “Calling All Voices, Installation II.” Great music, great ideas, great cause—the triple threat. It begins at 7 p.m. at Rhizome, 6950 Maple St. NW. Pay what you can!
Monday, August 7
It may actually be possible to run out of ways to describe Mr. Dwayne Adell, the jazz piano savant whose abilities are as astonishing as his personality is inscrutable. Adell simply functions on a different plane of thought and existence than most of us do. Consider the liner notes of his 2016 recording The Periodic Table of Tonal Elements, in which, like the title, Adell finds a confluence of physics/chemistry and music (along with some new age concepts); reading them, one may understand that the text is making highly complex connections, but that every single one of them is over your head. Adell is able to make the same connections in playing music—by ear—and yet never lob it over your head. Indeed, his music may be awe-inspiring in its virtuosity and imagination, but it’s absolutely charming and eminently listenable. Dwayne Adell performs at 8 and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $20.
Wednesday, August 9
You might know Joshua Bayer as the director of American University’s Jazz ensemble. You may also know him by his round, oak-y tone on the guitar, his double time runs (with phrases that remind one of fast-talker and ’80s pop-culture footnote John Moschitta), the tender side that comes through when he bends a note. The latter is often heard at the Mid Atlantic Jazz Festival, for starters; this week, it can be heard at Alice’s Jazz and Cultural Society. You might hear some of the songs from last year’s recording Six by Five, since his AJACS gig is with the core of the CD’s band: Paul Carr on tenor saxophone and Harold Summey on drums. (Herman Burney provides bass in place of the album’s Todd Simon on organ, and second saxophonist Peter Fraize is absent entirely.) But you’ll also likely hear some standards and very pretty originals from the guitar man himself. The Joshua Bayer Quartet performs at 6 p.m. at Alice’s Jazz and Cultural Society, 2813 12th St. NE. $5.