Thursday, June 22
Ethan Philion, a superlative bassist who came to us a few years ago from Chicago, is getting ready to move back there again to be closer to family. Before he does so, however, Philion has a parting gift—in the form of one last evening as the headliner of the jazz series he founded and curated in Adams Morgan. I speak of The Potter’s House, the community collective and bookstore that has for over a year been hosting jazz nights once a month. Yup, that’s Philion’s doing. And so is the trio that the place is presenting on Thursday night: himself, vibraphonist Chris Barrick, and drummer Eliot Seppa. They are spending the evening focusing on their own writing—some of it original compositions, some original arrangements of existing tunes. We shall miss Philion, but at least he imparts us some top-quality music to help fill the void he’s leaving. The Ethan Philion Trio performs from 7 to 9 p.m. at The Potter’s House, 1658 Columbia Road NW. Free.
Friday, June 23
Bob Murad is a hard-swinging pianist, no doubt about it. His straight-ahead stylings would make a good primer on straight-ahead post-bop jazz piano in the 2010s. But that’s not to say there isn’t nuance in what he does. Murad’s got a finely honed approach to voice leading (playing chords as if they were melodies, not just harmonic foundations), and a fondness in solos for the instrument’s middle register—where he both mainlines the groove and decorates it with calligraphic flourishes. These are characteristics that make Murad a great fit for collaboration with Kenny Rittenhouse, one of the D.C. scene’s most reliable trumpeters. Blessed with a golden virtuoso sound, Rittenhouse can put up tough soul bravado but also has a deep reservoir of tenderness in his playing: hard bop with a soft center. The two share a gift for compositions that prize melody and form but also flirt with challenges to both; it’ll make a hell of a show. The Bob Murad Trio with Kenny Rittenhouse performs at 9 and 11 pm at Twins, 1344 U St. NW. $15.
Sunday, June 24
Regular readers (we have one!) know how we feel about Chicago drummer-percussionist Kahil El’Zabar (briefly: we’re apostles). In the world of the post-1960s avant-garde, much of the jazz world feels the same about David Murray, a tenor saxophone visionary who had a hand in reshaping free jazz from the mid-1970s through the 1980s. Murray has been a frequent guest in our fair city of late; last December he was here with El’Zabar in the latter’s Ritual Trio. Later that winter, he did a rare solo appearance. Equally rare, though, is a David Murray duo—that it’s with El’Zabar only adds to its essential character. Both musicians are incredibly expansive, often incredibly raw players, deeply rooted in the spiritual side of jazz but also proud conduits of its folk music elements. Miss the Second Coming before you miss this show, kids. Kahil El’Zabar and David Murray perform at 9 pm at Rhizome, 6950 Maple St. NW. $20.
Monday, June 26
Chris Potter’s arrival to the jazz world in the 1990s was a major one. Though he made his initial mark as a bebop-heavy saxophonist (his initial breakthrough was as a member of veteran trumpeter Red Rodney’s band) with a distinctive and incisive way of putting together a solo, he was even in his early twenties showing more experimental and omnivorous tendencies. Fast forward twenty years and we find a player who’s used that bop orientation (and, of course, John Coltrane’s concepts) as a basis for building his own language, and who has also developed a bifurcated concept of his own: fascination with driving and often deceptively complex rhythms (in which he has the help of an extraordinary quartet that includes pianist David Virelles, bassist Joe Martin, and drummer Marcus Gilmore), and an immersion in exploring the relationship between texture and atmosphere—it’s no surprise that he’s an ECM recording artist. The Chris Potter Quartet performs at 8 and 10 pm at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $30.