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Friday, Oct. 9
Yes, Jason Moran and Jeremy Denk have certain similarities: Both play piano and are fairly young but at the top of their respective fields. Both are known for their deep knowledge of musical history, but also for their cheeky subversions of it. Still, jazz artist Moran and classical artist Denk aren’t similar enough that you’d expect to see them in a joint piano recital. Yet that’s exactly what they’re attempting at the Kennedy Center this fall. It will comprise a two-piano setup in the Terrace Theater, each artist approaching the instrument from within his own genre—and, according to the word on the street, without any sheet music. You’re intrigued, aren’t you? Jason Moran and Jeremy Denk perform at 7 p.m. at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater, 2700 F St. NW, part of KenCen’s “Jason+” programming series. $40.
Saturday, Oct. 10
Setlist loves Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes, trombonist Gunn’s all-female big band that draws from some of the finest talent in the D.C. area. (Primarily it performs in Northern Virginia, and draws quite a number of its musicians from there as well.) The band often works in the classic big band milieu defined by, for example, the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra and especially the Count Basie “New Testament” band, who was the subject of the Bullettes’ second album (Bullettes Play Basie). But now they’ve produced a new album called Bullettes and Friends, and they’ve delved into playing original compositions. And some serious, progressive stuff, too—”this is not your Grandma’s jazz!” says Gunn. And if the music is looking to the future, so is the personnel: the “Friends” of the title refers to the local up-and-coming talents who appear as guests on the disc, including the still-in-high-school Caeley Niess on trumpet. Niess will be part of the CD release concert this weekend, along with 13 other musicians that include vocalist Jessica Boykin-Settles, alto saxophonist Halley Shoenberg, and drummer Lydia Lewis. Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes play at 7 p.m. at the Durant Center, 1605 Cameron St. in Alexandria. $19.95-$33.
Tuesday, Oct. 13
This month, Bohemian Caverns’ terrific Artist-in-Residence program is taking a new twist. The artist in question is pianist Federico Gonzalez Peña, a Uruguayan-born and Argentinian-bred player and veteran of Marcus Miller‘s band, as well as the go-go band Rare Essence. He’s one of the finest keyboardists in the District of Columbia, with a dance in his touch that is too broad and thoughtful to be confined into a category of Latin jazz. And perhaps he’ll be talking about that: The twist on his residency is that Peña will be doing a unique combination of performance and discussion. He wants to offer some insight into the craft and the performance of it: What considerations go into composing? Into choosing songs for performance? Into how they’re played, how they’re improvised? The hope is to make more reachable that music that’s been thoroughly stereotyped as unreachable. Federico Gonzalez Peña performs at 7:30 p.m. at Bohemian Caverns, 2001 11th St. NW. $10.