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Thursday, Jan. 12
Terence Blanchard, the great New Orleansian trumpeter/bandleader/composer, has established a residency this season at the Kennedy Center. Obviously, that’s included performance by his current band project (The E-Collective). But Blanchard (whom you may also know as a prolific composer of film scores, especially the work of Spike Lee) is always up to something interesting—usually several somethings. That includes a brand new commission for a multimedia production at KenCen. It’s directed by Clarke Peters of The Wire and Treme fame; Blanchard has written the music, Obie-winning writer Kirsten Greenidge the book, based on a novel by Christopher Paul Curtis. Yes, you guessed it: it’s Bud, Not Buddy, an acclaimed and beloved book for children about jazz and the Great Depression. Its world premiere run begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater, 2700 F St. NW. $20-$60.
Friday, Jan. 13
He grew up in the D.C. area, moved on to become a protégé of the late great Phil Woods, played in Frank Sinatra’s last East coast band, and is a household name in the world of jazz education. But alto saxophonist Jim Snidero never achieved the profile he deserves among jazz fans. (Musicians, that’s another story.) You can imagine from the profile given above that Snidero is very, very good, and if he’s not quite a star, he’s nonetheless been consistently working for more than 30 years, touring and making recordings. His latest, MD66, is a celebration Miles Davis’s legendary 1960s quintet—but it’s music that Snidero plays with a trumpet-less quartet! It comprises his favorite local talents: pianist Bob Butta, bassist Amy Shook, and drummer Frank Russo. They perform at 9 and 11 p.m. at Twins Jazz, 1344 U St. NW. $15.
Three years ago, trombonist Shannon Gunn teamed with the CapitalBop team to found the Jazz and Freedom Festival for the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. It’s an event that affirms the interrelation of and dedication to both jazz and social justice in D.C. And this year, for reasons that surely need no elucidation, that dual commitment is more important than ever. Hence this year’s Jazz and Freedom Festival comprises five extraordinary performances, the proceeds from which will benefit D.C.’s “jazz and justice” radio station, WPFW. Headliners include MBowie and Blast, the new electric project led by bassist Michael Bowie who recently recorded a cover of a great Stevie Wonder protest song; two mighty vocalists, Akua Allrich (accompanied by bassist Zack Pride and drummer Tyler Leak) and Aaron Myers (who appears with his band, REformance Artists); experimental cellist Janel Leppin; and The Jazz and Freedom Quartet, the house band led by Gunn and featuring alto saxophonist Sarah Hughes, bassist Tarus Mateen, and drummer Allen Jones. The Jazz and Freedom Festival begins at 3 p.m. at Tropicalia, 2001 14th St. NW. $20.
Sunday, Jan. 15
As I predicted at the time, nobody was more surprised than Sriram Gopal at his (tying) win for Album of the Year in last year’s City Paper jazz roundup. But The Fourth Stream, also the name of the band project that Gopal leads (I say “project” here because he is the only permanent member), is an extraordinary cross-section of fusion—all different kinds, featuring all different varieties of musicians in our fair city. Gopal, a drummer, particularly specializes in fusing jazz with the music of the Indian subcontinent, but The Fourth Stream is rarely content to rest on those laurels. And since the release of the album, the explorations have continued with a monthly, steady gig in Adams Morgan. Like the album’s personnel, the gig’s also changes freely and frequently; in this case, Gopal is joined by saxophonist Tedd Baker, guitarist Rob Coltun, keyboardist Gene d’Andrea, and bassist Neel Singh. They begin at 8:30 p.m. at Bossa, 2463 18th St. NW. Free.