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Wednesday, June 28
You thought you’d heard jazz fusion. You thought you’d heard Michael Bowie doing jazz fusion. But if you haven’t heard Bowie’s Blast, you might want to rethink those earlier two heard-its. I won’t tell you that it’s some perfect offspring, a third product that is neither jazz nor rock (nor etc.)… but I’ll be damned if you can listen to its heavy rock edge and tell me there’s not a hint of jazz to be found, or hear its funky jazz workouts and be unable to hear the rock/pop/R&B/whatever influences right there on the surface. And Bowie, fitting for the circumstances of the times, has adopted a fiercely social and political attitude in the music. They’ve released a video single, a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “You Haven’t Done Nothin’.” And what they’re doing this evening is what they’re calling a “live video”—a multimedia performance with dancers, musicians, and a live audience. MBowie and the Blast perform at 7:30 p.m. at Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. $28 advance, $32 door.
Thursday, June 29
This writer had never heard of Colonies before their appearance last weekend at the Petworth Jazz Project. It’s a piano trio, using the standard piano-bass-drums instrumentation (though pianist Matt Henderson doubles on electronic keyboards). But the repertoire was surprising—they opened with songs by (bassist) Avishai Cohen and Robert Glasper—and so was the sound. It was both swinging and funky, both protean and steady as a rock, thanks to bassist Mike Okusami and drummer Paul Jung. Henderson displays a beautiful touch as well, with a set of right-hand ornamentations that suggested he’s listened to the classic stride pianists who specialized in that kind of decoration. (Or at least it’s fun to fantasize that he’s following their example.) Well! As it turns out, I hadn’t heard of them because I’d been missing out on ample opportunities. They perform every week on Thursday nights. Like this one, where they’ll begin at 8 p.m. at the Colony Club—3118 Georgia Ave. NW. Free.
Sunday, July 2
William Hooker is a regular visitor to D.C., where he’s put on performances in all varieties of personal projects. He’s a drummer and percussionist, a composer and an improviser, and a conceptualist. And have you seen the stock and quality of the musicians he’s played with? They range from David Murray to David S. Ware, from DJ Spooky to Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore. He doesn’t even need to be an accompanist—or to have accompanists—to say something on his instrument. Hooker can create beautiful, affecting expressions with nothing else but his kit and sticks. At the same time, however, he does amazing work with other musicians, and it’s extra special when his organization de jure comprises some of the finest and most creative of D.C. musicians. People, that is, like guitarist Anthony Pirog, cellist Janel Leppin, and drummer Luke Stewart. This is the crème de la experimental crème. The William Hooker Quartet performs at 8 and 10 p.m. at Twins Jazz, 1344 U St. NW.