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Perhaps someone got the memo from Warren Wolf that he’d be happy to play even the below-the-radar gigs in the area if he were offered them. Wolf isn’t just one of the hottest vibraphonists, he’s one of the hottest jazz musicians in the country right now, full stop. But he’s also a Baltimore native and resident, with a family to which he always comes home and who he has to feed. In other words, he’s around, and he’ll work, and we’re all the better for it, especially when he’s got Allyn Johnson on piano, Kris Funn on bass, and C.V. Dashiell III on drums—a combination that we can safely call Murderer’s Row D.C. (And in fact, I think I will call it that going forward.) And they’re holding it down at one of the smaller but most important corners in D.C. jazz history, the room in which Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd recorded the seminal Jazz Samba album. That would be Pierce Hall, at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church—1500 Harvard St. NW— where they play at 7:30 p.m. $20.
Saturday, Nov. 19
Angelic Warrior, released in 2012, is Tia Fuller’s fourth and most recent release—the longest gap she’s yet evinced in her musical career. But Angelic Warrior is also the alto saxophonist’s best album, and was in fact the best jazz album of 2012. (This writer, upon its release, described it as “a veritable almanac of the alto saxophone in contemporary mainstream jazz... She has remolded the post-Kenny Garrett alto lineage in her own unique image.”) Not least of its strength lies in the band that Fuller surrounded herself with on the recording: bassist John Patitucci, pianist/sister Shamie Royston, and drummer/brother-in-law Rudy Royston comprise a rhythm section as powerful as any in the music today. (Although Patitucci threatens to cross over into the frontline with his guitar-like improvisational lines.) It’s allowed the recording to cut a formidable enough figure that Fuller has named her quartet after it, and presents them now at D.C.’s temple of the arts. Tia Fuller and the Angelic Warrior Quartet perform at 7 and 9 p.m. at the Kennedy Center’s KC Jazz Club, 2700 F St. NW. $30-$39.
Sunday, Nov. 20
It doesn’t take a deep reading of every week’s Jazz Setlist to know how that Victor Provost is one of its favorite musicians. His wondrous sense of melody, his mastery of Caribbean flavors, and his capacity for generating and sustaining his own stubborn creative path in an improvisation, and, frankly, the very fact of a jazz musician working a steelpan drum all conspire to make him one of the best things about the cultural life of the District of Columbia. Put him, then, into the high-energy context of one of the city’s most bustling and vibrant jam sessions, and you have gold for the ear. Yes, Provost is this week’s guest host for the popular DC Jazz Jam, which also alternates its house bands by the week. That collision of visiting (so to speak) forces means not only that the range of musicians who get to play is a wider one, but that the music is never rote and almost always unpredictable. Just what you wanted in a jam. The DC Jazz Jam with Victor Provost begins at 6:30 p.m. at The Brixton, 901 U St. NW. Free.
Monday, Nov. 21
Tenor saxophonist Elijah Balbed may be one of the most dedicated, deepest, hardest working jazz musicians that ever passed through this fair city of ours. But jazz isn’t the only thing he does—Balbed was also a member of the last edition of The Chuck Brown Band, which not only shows how dedicated he is to music but demonstrates that he’s a dyed-in-the-wool Washingtonian. What, in the end, could be more iconically Washingtonian than winding it up with Chuck? Well, perhaps one thing: merging that go-go sound with the music that was so quintessentially practiced by the other great musical son of Washington: Duke Ellington. Elijah Balbed’s JoGo Project does just that, bringing together veterans of both the jazz and go-go scenes (as if the two didn’t overlap anyway!) to create a genuine, and genuinely local, fusion sound. They perform at 8 and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $20.