Thursday, April 20
Among the many centennials jazz is celebrating this year is that of Tadd Dameron, who—if Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, and Kenny Clarke were the house band of the bebop revolution—was its house composer and arranger. Any follower of high bebop is familiar with “Hot House,” and perhaps also “Lady Bird.” But he also wrote “Our Delight,” “Good Bait,” and “Fontainebleau,” among others, and had a rich, orchestral ear that was in high demand for arrangement work (with the Gillespie big band, as well as crucial large-ensemble projects by Milt Jackson and Sonny Stitt) right up to his untimely death at 48. The Take 5! Happy hour series at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery celebrates Tadd Dameron this week, with a band led by saxophonist and Dameron biographer Paul Combs. It begins at 5 p.m. at the Portrait Gallery’s Kogod Courtyard, 8th and G Streets NW. Free.
Sunday, April 23
Luke Stewart has been working on a solo project… that is also, in its way, a duo project. Put it this way: The album he’s about to release is called Works for Double Bass and Amplifier. Admittedly, most of the time the amplifier doesn’t take nearly the same level of manipulation as the double bass part does… but it does require some ingenuity on Stewart’s part. And for that matter, if you’re like me you’ll be quite surprised at just how coequal a role the two instruments play in Stewart’s improvisational music. His concert is, not incidentally, associated with an exhibit of Stewart’s photography; collectively, it’s called Live is the Medium. Perhaps it’s an odd name to hang on a concert that’s supporting the release of a recording, but what is art without paradox? Luke Stewart performs at 5 p.m. at Metro Micro Gallery, 3409 Wilson Boulevard in Arlington. Free.
Wednesday, April 26
A pianist with a deserved international reputation, Cyrus Chestnut is nonetheless a native (and current Baltimorean)—with at least one foot planted in Washington as well. He is a professor of piano at Howard University, for example, and has inherited one of the hottest jazz tickets in town as well—the New Year’s stand at Blues Alley. So it’s not so unusual to hear his gorgeous, gospel-seasoned tones or soft-spoken voice around town. But jeez, that doesn’t make it even mildly less worth your time to see him again! His accompaniment at Bethesda Blues & Jazz is not being billed, for whatever reason… but his working trio, featuring Chris Beck on drums and D.C. native Eric Wheeler on bass, is a pretty good guess. Cyrus Chestnut performs at 8 p.m. at Bethesda Blues & Jazz, 7719 Wisconsin Ave. in North Bethesda. $35.