William Hooker performs Sunday at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage.

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Thursday, Feb. 16

Like all of his family, Delfeayo Marsalis is steeped in the history of jazz, especially its New Orleans origins. How could they not be? They hail from the Crescent City, where the family patriarch Ellis Marsalis is a pianist, teacher, and mentor to damn near every jazz player to come out of the city in the last 40 years. Delfeayo, a trombonist, might be the one whose music is most steeped in the New Orleans tradition, loaded with big fours and polyphonics, calls-and-responses and second-line riffs. (Yet he’s certainly not mired in the past: Marsalis’s new record with his Uptown Jazz Orchestra bears the timely title Make America Great Again!) Who better, then, to lead the Mardi Gras gala that serves to kick off this year’s Mid Atlantic Jazz Festival? This they do, with a performance that begins at 8:30 (with the opener, The Jazz Academy of Music band, playing at 7:15) at the Hilton Rockville, 1750 Rockville Pike in guess-which-town. Ticketing structures vary; see here.

Friday, Feb. 17 

The moment you see a band whose name begins “Hot Club of…,” you know most of what you need to. These bands exist as tributes to and logical extensions of the Quintette of the Hot Club of France, the Paris-based quintet founded in 1934 by guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli. Because Reinhardt brought the folk sounds of his Romani upbringing into the band’s sound, we now refer to it as “gypsy jazz.” DC has a Hot Club; San Francisco too. And then there’s the Hot Club of Baltimore, led by the redoubtable guitarist Michael Joseph Harris. Nimble-fingered and with a special hardened twang, Harris is a killer. But let’s not diminish the rest of the band, especially Harris’s foil, violinist Matt AndrewsGo see them! The Hot Club of Baltimore performs at 9 and 11 p.m. at Twins Jazz, 1344 U St. NW. $15. 

Sunday, Feb. 19 

Experimental music is an ivory tower. Its practitioners have gigantic status inside the field, and by and large can’t get arrested outside of it. And that’s just appalling, because William Hooker is the kind of extraordinary talent whose name should be on, at the very least, a university building somewhere. He’s a drummer who made his name in R&B outfits like the Isley Brothers, then moved into the ’70s free-jazz “loft” scene in New York, playing with the likes of  David Murray  and  David S. Ware. He’s also a composer of conceptual, highly narrative works in various contexts; a particular favorite is silent film scores, played as live accompaniment to the films themselves. But he more often writes music that stands alone, as does his new composition At-One-Ment, music and spoken word for a trio that features guitarist Dave Ross and trumpeter Eric Robinson. He performs it at 6 p.m. at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW. Free. 

Monday, Feb. 20

You know Maceo Parker, even if you don’t know that name (which is unlikely, if you’re reading this column). He’s the saxman behind that sly lick on James Brown’s “I Got You,” and behind that funk-defining one on his “Cold Sweat.” You probably also know the sound of the Horny Horns, who accompanied Parliament/Funkadelic on “Flashlight” and “Tear the Roof Off” and all those other signature songs. He’s even done quite a bit of work with PrinceYes, that’s right, he’s a top-tier funk saxophonist. But really… does anyone who plays funk at that level have chops that aren’t sufficient for jazz? Of course not! And Maceo hits some serious soul- and funk-jazz vibes in his career as a solo artist. He’s got hard edges and rhythm out the ying-yang—but he can also swing a blues with the best of them. Maceo Parker performs at 7:30 p.m. at The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave. in Alexandria. $39.50.