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Thursday, Jan. 26
Pianist Mark G. Meadows and tenor saxophonist Elijah Jamal Balbed represent the rising young generation of jazz musicians in D.C. Both are important players and composers; both have won our “Artist of the Year” honor in the annual Jazzies. (Meadows took it in 2014; Balbed is the current title holder.) And they’ve frequently worked together, meaning they’re familiar with each other’s styles, quirks, and all-around concepts of being a jazz musician. That’s the stuff that makes great context for a duet performance. Which, as it happens, is exactly what Meadows and Balbed are planning to give. They are together kicking off what looks to be a new season of monthly jazz performances (curated by bassist Ethan Philion) at The Potter’s House, the venerable bookstore and community gathering space in Adams Morgan. The show begins at 7 p.m. at The Potter’s House, 1658 Columbia Rd. NW. Free.
Friday, Jan. 27
Like most jazz drummers, Jeff Cosgrove places a lot of the burden of the beat onto his cymbals, and the accents onto his snare. Similiarities may end there. Cosgrove is grounded in jazz, but he’s a versatile and highly experimental player who spends a remarkable amount of his musical imagination on exploring the colors of the kit, with unexpected rumbles, feints, shadows and splashes emerging from deep within his kit. He’s also one of a handful of stick men who embraces the melodic and harmonic possibilities of his instrument. This doesn’t just refer to the architecture of his solos—there are any number of drummers who go there—but to the tuning, the pitches of his drums and their relationship to each other, and to the other instruments in the ensemble. Cosgrove’s trio, with saxophonist Kurtis Adams and drummer Mark Lysher, is second on the bill in a three-act evening of music, theater, and dance that begins at 8 p.m. at Rhizome, 6950 Maple St. NW. $10 (suggested donation).
Saturday, Jan. 28
Bassist, bandleader, composer, and explorer Charles Mingus is one of America’s, if not the world’s, greatest composers. Pianist, bandleader, composer, and explorer Jason Moran‘s “Jason +” series—a special program of the Kennedy Center where the Artistic Director for Jazz juxtaposes himself with other musicians (and artists) in other genres, simply to see what comes of the fusion reaction—is one of America’s, if not the world’s, greatest things. This edition is titled “Muldrow Meets Mingus”; the Muldrow of the title is Georgia Anne Muldrow, whom you may also know as the Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter, and MC Jyoti. Her already genre-bending matrix lends to the performance an air of even greater unpredictability than was already built into the concept. Oh, and by the way: It is a world premiere of a new commission! It takes place at 8 p.m. at the Kennedy Center’s Crossroads Club, 2700 F St.NW. $30.
Sunday, Jan. 29
Whether it’s been said explicitly or not, regular readers (we have one!) have surely sussed out that trombonist Reginald Cyntje is one of Setlist’s favorite artists. Long since established as the city’s premier, first-call trombone player, Cyntje in recent years has staked a claim as one of its premier composers as well. His music, now dispersed over albums of original tunes, both celebrates his Caribbean roots (he is a native of St. Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands) and far transcends them. More to the point, Cyntje’s work soaks itself in his worldview, where spirituality, social justice, and music merge into a single cohesive statement about life and love and the interrelation of all beings. And when he’s backed by a five-piece version of the Reginald Cyntje Group—tenor saxophonist Brian Settles, pianist Hope Udobi, bassist Herman Burney, and drummer Lenny Robinson—Cyntje will no doubt do it again. They perform at 6 p.m. at Alice’s Jazz and Cultural Society, 2813 Franklin Street NE. $5.