Luke Stewart of Ancestral Duo
Luke Stewart of Ancestral Duo Credit: Darrow Montgomery

Thursday, April 6

There is a fine line to be held in singing Brazilian jazz, even more than there is in playing it. The singers by and large are expected to hold a dulcet tone, carefully and precisely enunciated diction, as though being judged in a public speaking competition… but at the same time, to negotiate some of the most complex, deceptively subtle rhythmic matrices in the musical kingdom. Astrud Gilberto was the gold standard for this kind of vocalizing; Luciana Souza and Gilberto’s daughter Bebel are heiresses to it. And so, we must acknowledge, is Eliane EliasShe’s got a somewhat lower, darker voice than the aforementioned singers, and perhaps surpasses all of them in her wielding of breath as a singing device. And if the music itself is deceptively subtle, than so, surely, is Elias. She performs at 7:30 p.m. at The Hamilton, 14th and F Streets NW. $30-$60. 

Friday, April 7 

Each year for three weeks, the SFJAZZ Collective pulls in a membership of eight musicians from the national jazz scene, and they serve as both a community outreach musical organization and as an in-house performance collective. During that three weeks they conceive, rehearse, and perform a 16-song repertoire—eight tunes by an iconic jazz composer, eight tunes by the ensemble (one per member). By those means, SFJAZZ Collective is able to use institutional funding both to foster new music and to celebrate the staples of the jazz repertoire. And when they’ve finished providing this splendor to San Franciscans, they take it on tour. Now let’s fill in the blanks. This year’s SFJAZZ lineup includes Sean Jones (trumpet), Robin Eubanks (trombone), Miguel Zenon (alto saxophone), David Sanchez (tenor saxophone), Warren Wolf (vibraphone), Edward Simon (piano), Matt Penman (bass), and Obed Calvaire (drums). The composer on display is the legendary Miles DavisSFJAZZ Collective performs at 8 and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $45. 

Saturday, April 8 

Upon a careful listen to Michael Price at the piano, attempting to decipher his particular style on the instrument, I came away with a new understanding: Price is a chameleon. He’s got an enormous arsenal of techniques—in conversation with me, he referred to it as “a myriad of possibly unjustifiable harmony.” But that’s not so much the point. It’s how he deploys them, which is in a surprisingly diverse and assimilative fashion. Each song gets treated exactly according to its own needs, in terms of the composition, arrangement, the choices made in the moment by the ensemble as a whole and the other soloists with whom he shares the stage. Mostly, these are his Good Life band, including saxophonist Michael Brandon, bassist Kris Monson, and drummer Allen Jones. They perform beginning at 5:30 p.m.—dinner/happy hour!—at Sotto, 1610 14th St. NW. Free. 

Sunday, April 9 

Among Luke Stewart’s mountain of musical projects, the Ancestral Duo is one of the smallest—and most fascinating. Stewart and Baltimorean Jamal Moore both serve as multi-instrumentalists, including electronic effects; their main axes, however, are bass and drums/percussion, respectively. The music they make is improvisational, experimental, and… remarkably quiet. It’s introspective, meditative music that can turn entirely on a single extemporaneous detail. (It’s small in sound as well as size, though one shouldn’t confuse smallness with shallowness.) But then, the Duo doesn’t always perform as… a duo. This weekend, for example, they take the stage with a sound artist from Osaka, Japan, by the name of Tatsuya Nakatani. Like Moore, his primary perch is behind a drum kit. Also like Moore, he rarely lets that limit his sonic expeditions—indeed, some of the resourcefulness he demonstrates is almost shocking. The Ancestral Duo and Tatsuya Nakatani perform at 9 p.m. (with Nakatani performing a solo 8 p.m. set) at Anacostia Arts Center, 1231 Good Hope Road SE. $15.