Thursday, Jan. 28
Before there was Busboys & Poets, there was The Potter’s House. It’s Adams Morgan’s long-lived (over fifty years!) bookstore, cafe, and community space, a place that’s seen the neighborhood (and D.C. overall) through a tremendous amount of change and upheaval and has weathered all of it. It’s much like D.C.’s jazz scene in that sense, if one wants to wax poetic (or perhaps prosaic) about it. Suffice to say, however, that The Potter’s House is joining forces with the D.C. jazz community in a new music series that begins this week. “Fourth Thursday Jazz Night” each month presents musicians playing “original compositions and unique arrangements of jazz standards.” So you can add that to the list of functions that the place serves: bookstore, cafe, community space, jazz club. This week it begins with a sextet led by bassist Ethan Philion. 7 p.m. at The Potter’s House, 1658 Columbia Rd. NW. Free.
Friday, Jan. 29
Rene Marie lives in northern Virginia, which makes her sort of local, though she’s certainly got a more national profile. Still, that profile has swelled to a stark degree following the release of her 2013 recording I Wanna Be Evil, a tribute to the great, and criminally underappreciated, Eartha Kitt. There’s a tinge of disappointment that this album was such a breakthrough, and not Rene Marie’s own songwriting; she’s among the best storytellers in song that this writer has ever heard. But I Wanna Be Evil has nonetheless found the singer with an ability use Kitt’s music to reinforce her own storytelling craft. Rene Marie makes the songs her own, with the compelling arcs that her own songs have, along with the ever-present influences of blues, soul, and jazz that are her stock in trade. It certainly seems to have gotten the attention of Jason Moran, the Kennedy Center’s Artistic Director for Jazz. Rene Marie performs at 7 and 9 p.m. at the KC Jazz Club, 2700 F St. NW. $45.
Saturday, Jan. 20
My colleague over at DCist is a man named Sriram Gopal, who is an extraordinarily talented drummer in his own right. He’s an even more extraordinarily knowledgeable one. Gopal draws on a wide-ranging understanding of music from the Middle East, the Asian subcontinent, some African and European influences, as well as electronica, rock, and of course jazz, to explore the possibilities found at the convergence of any or all of those ideas. It’s an ongoing project known as The Fourth Stream, which is not a band so much as a free-floating collective. Sriram Gopal is its sole constant participant, and as such the nerve center, of the entire operation. Given that, it’s astonishing to see how many different directions they can go in. It’s also exciting as hell. Guitarist John Lee will also be a part of the assemblage when The Fourth Stream performs at Bossa Bistro. 8:30 p.m. at Bossa Bistro & Lounge, 2463 18th St. NW. Free.
Wednesday, Feb. 3
Regular readers (do I have any?) will recall my being overjoyed at the reopening of Mr. Henry’s upstairs dining room to music this time last year—and that was before I knew that they were planning to create a weekly Wednesday night jam session/cutting contest there. The Capitol Hill Jazz Jam quickly took on a life of its own, raising the profile of its host (the brilliant alto saxophonist Herb Scott), adopting a quasi-house vocalist (Aaron Myers) and spawning at least two exciting new saxophonists that have since taken the district by storm. (well, maybe that’s an unfair assignment, but it’s the first place that I saw either Lionel Lyles or Jordon Dixon, and they’ve continued wowing me ever since.) This week it marches on a well-deserved first-anniversary victory lap, and you’re invited. 8 p.m. at Mr. Henry’s, 601 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Free.