Get to know D.C. with our daily newsletter
We dive deep on the day’s biggest story and share links to everything you need to know.
Thursday, Sept. 17
This year’s Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference coincides with the formal re-establishment of diplomatic relations between U.S. and Cuba. Whether you want to call jazz music a form of diplomacy is up to you (though there’s a pretty good argument that it is). But within jazz, relations between the U.S. and Cuba never went away. Cubans passing through the port city of New Orleans were essential to what Jelly Roll Morton dubbed “the Spanish tinge,” and jazz once formed had a powerful effect on the island nation such that the two countries essentially begat the idea of Latin jazz together. That mutual exchange of influences forms the basis of this year’s ALC Jazz Concert, now commemorating its 30th anniversary. The presentations (such as they are) will be offered in two sets by an American legend, alto saxophonist Gary Bartz and his quintet, and a young Cuban innovator, saxophonist/percussionist Yosvany Terry and his sextet. They seek not so much to bridge the divide as to question the extent to which the divide was ever there. The 30th Annual CBCF ALC Jazz Concert begins at 8 p.m. at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place NW. Free, but registration required.
Friday, Sept. 18
Brad Linde may be in residence at the Caverns this month, but just as he’s not one to limit himself to a single project, no single venue can hold him either. While he’s leading the BLE Ensemble, Dix Out, Team Players, Underwater Ghost, Strange City, and Therapy Band on U Street, the saxophonist has been preparing to introduce a new band, Useless Machines, over on H. To be exact, at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, where Linde curates jazz programming. Personnel and instrumentation from Useless Machines overlaps with the other Linde projects (guitarist Aaron Quinn, pianist Erika Dohi, tubaist Liz Prince, drummer Deric Dickens) but differs in an important respect. The other projects tend to list their inspirations in musical terms, either touching on specific concepts or on specific musicians. Useless Machines is inspired by sculptures—the kind with kinetic, mechanical orientations (hence the band name). How does that translate into jazz? Find out at 8 p.m. at Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. $20-22.
Saturday, Sept. 19
“Stretch music” is the concept that Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah has been working with for a long time now. The idea is for the definition of the word “jazz” to stretch, to incorporate ideas from whatever other cultures and genres will serve the musician’s purpose. (It’s not a new idea with Adjuah, either; it calls to mind that great Dexter Gordon quote, “Jazz is an octopus: It takes what it can use.” But it’s important that he codifies it as central to his style.) This is the first time, however, that he has actually created an album called Stretch Music. And with its two-disc, 23-song length, along with that title, how can it be seen as anything but a manifesto? This is serious ambition, and it’s executed with a band that includes two locals: up-and-comer Braxton Cook on alto saxophone, and the stellar Kris Funn on bass. They perform at 8 and 10 p.m. at Bohemian Caverns, 2001 11th St. NW. $28 advance, $33 door.