Get our free newsletter
Thursday, August 11
I’m reasonably confident that D.C. jazz fans have seen and heard Marshall Keys, considering he’ll get up on the bandstand, play songs he wrote 30 years ago, and tell you where in the District he played it the first time. Keys is a real local treasure, an alto saxophonist who first dazzles with his rhythmic talent. He has a curious knack: The ability to play down a line of even eighth notes, playing them evenly, and yet somehow make them sound like propulsive, neck-twisting grooves. Once you settle into that groove and enjoy yourself, that’s when the melodic power hits. Keys uses the jazz language in ways both familiar and unpredictable, starting what seems to be a stock lick and pulling it hard in a direction you weren’t expecting. Keys and his regular quartet (pianist Federico Gonzalez Pena, bassist Michael Bowie, and drummer Mark Prince) perform at 8 p.m. at JoJo Restaurant and Bar, 1518 U St. NW. Free.
Friday, August 12
Cindy Blackman started out drumming with trumpeter Wallace Roney (and occasionally in projects with his saxophonist brother Antoine) as one of the Young Lions of ’80s jazz. That, of course, was a strictly acoustic movement; then she got a gig drumming with Lenny Kravitz, which led to a meeting with Carlos Santana. (She married him in 2010.) Whether it was a coincidence or cause-and-effect, she also started exploring the electric side of jazz. Appropriate that her mentor was Tony Williams, whose work with Miles and in his band Lifetime one of the prime movers in jazz fusion; Blackman Santana recorded a tribute to him, Another Lifetime, in 2010. That’s not the name of the band on the bill in D.C.—it’s just called The Cindy Blackman Santana Group—but the lineup, with Aurelian Budynek on guitar, Zaccai Curtis on piano, and Felix Pastorius on bass, is suspiciously similar. The odds suggest that the music, the dark, stinging stuff of fusion in its groundbreaking days, will be too. The Cindy Blackman Santana Group performs at 8 p.m. at Bethesda Blues & Jazz, 7719 Wisconsin Ave. in Bethesda. $25.
Sunday, August 14
The Young Lions hit the stage at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library downtown this June, and by all accounts they tore the roof off the place. And that’s good news for more than just its own sake: It turns out that the concert that day was a dry run for what will now become a regular monthly series at the library. It’s called “Jazz in the Basement,” and it will take place on the second Sunday of each month beginning this very week. It kicks off, at least as a regular occurrence, featuring a quartet led by bassist Tyrone Allen. The young native of Temple Hills, Md., is a rising senior at Eastman School of Music in New York State; this is his last summer hoorah before he returns to school. He performs in a quartet (with saxophonists Kenny Nunn and Theo Rosenfeld and pianist Joshua Espinoza) at 3 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G St. NW. Free.