Thursday, June 30
A clarion is a sort of trumpet, and so when we talk metaphorically of a clarion call, that’s the sort of sound we mean. So I’m about to muddle that metaphor here and say that Rick Alberico’s alto saxophone has the starkness, the immediacy, the bluntness that make us think of a clarion call. Like any altoist, Alberico takes Charlie Parker as a starting point, mixes in Cannonball Adderley and Kenny Garrett, and has a distinct, personal lyrical profusion, a mode of transmission where each phrase is offset from every other. It adds to the already profound wallop in his very straight-ahead, very straightforward bop-ballads-and-blues playing. Not sure what the difference might be between straight-ahead and straightforward? Check out The Rick Alberico Project for your answer. They perform at 9 and 11 p.m. at Twins Jazz, 1344 U St. NW. $15.
Tuesday, July 5
You might not know the name Charles Earland today; his profile has faded somewhat since his death in 1999. But during his prime, Earland—an organist—was a huge deal. Cutting his teeth behind soul-jazz giant Lou Donaldson, he led a band with star saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr., had a disco crossover (!!!!) hit in 1978 with “Let the Music Play” on which he played synthesizers, and hit a pocket of groove so deep that he was nicknamed “The Mighty Burner.” Bottom line: If you’ve got any interest in soul or groove jazz, Earland should be on your must-hear list. A good start, however, might be a tribute that Shannon Gunn and her Firebird Organ Trio are putting on this week. Each week at Columbia Station, the trio (which has a rotating organ seat) incorporates the full track listing of a classic jazz album into its set; this week, with D.C. legend Allyn Johnson at the keys, it’s one of Earland’s last recordings, 1999’s Cookin’ with the Mighty Burner. (another veteran D.C. great, Tony Martucci, plays drums.) They begin at 8 p.m. at Columbia Station, 2325 18th St. NW. Free.
Wednesday, July 6
Slowly but surely, JoJo Restaurant and Bar is establishing itself as one of U Street’s go-to jazz destinations. At this writing, they’ve got jazz residencies going four nights a week, and two more are apparently in development. Wednesdays, though, you can drop in and catch the band that anchors this lineup. Trumpeter Joe Brotherton, a longtime member of the D.C. scene, has been leading various ensembles for a few years now; this one in particular finds him a shrewd eye for new young talents. Its members include the extraordinary Elijah Easton on tenor saxophone, Evan Samuels on guitar, Philip Ambuel on bass, and Kelton Norris on drums. The sounds, of course, are as fresh as the faces of the people making them. The Joe Brotherton Quintet begins at 7:30 p.m. at JoJo Restaurant and Bar, 1518 U St. NW. Free.