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Thursday, June 25 I’ve sung the praises of bassist Nicole Saphos more than once in these virtual pages; she’s a steady, well-nigh unshakeable presence on the bandstand with a palpable touch. She sings, too. And if her presence this week at Dukem Jazz is any indication, she also has a penchant for unusual instrumentation in her ensembles. This one features trumpeter Luke Brandon, guitarist Samir Moulay, and drummer Ele Rubenstein. Ever noticed how rare a trumpet quartet seems to be? A trumpet and guitar quartet is rarer still. And of course, traditionally, the second set develops into a jam session. The Nicole Saphos Quartet performs at 9 and 10:30 p.m. at Dukem, 1118 U Street NW. Free.
Saturday, June 27 The Nordic Jazz Fest, like any good jazz fest in D.C., knows that you have to host at least one gig in the District’s gorgeous outdoor cityscapes. Hence, it is to everyone’s benefit that Saturday afternoon brings a double-header of Swedish jazz groups out into the open air. There’s the Splendor, a melodically and harmonically rich quartet featuring a bass clarinet/tenor saxophone (Lisen Rylander Love), piano (Fabian Kallerdahl), bass (Josef Kallerdahl), and drums (Lars Kallfelt). “Dramatic” is the word that first comes to mind in listening to their paradoxically full-yet-spare sound. But they’re probably the wrong band of the double-header to apply that word to, considering that the other, Nils Berg Cinemascope, is a quartet that considers a film projector to be its fourth member. The other three—basisst Kallerdahl, reed player Berg, and drummer Christopher Cantillo—perform together constantly, but each tune uses footage of a different person to fill out the quartet. The Splendor and Nils Berg Cinemascope perform at 1 p.m. at Dupont Circle, which has no street address except “Dupont Circle.” Free.
Monday, June 29 Give thanks, for Rodney Richardson has returned! The guitarist and his bluesy, smoky sound were once the most in-demand on the D.C. scene. In 2012, however, Richardson went off to Chicago, leaving us weeping for his homecoming. After three years in the Windy City, Richardson has heard our cries. Not only that, but he’s got a new recording to unleash upon us. 3:45 is an EP that he wrote and performed while living in Chicago, and it features a Chicago guitar-organ-drums trio: Richardson, Dan Pierson on organ, and Peter Manheim on drums. But down in D.C. we’ve got a serious set of chops on our musicians, too, and Richardson is employing some of them for 3:45‘s release concert: Benjie Porecki takes the organ seat, and Mark Prince the drums. They perform at 8 and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Avenue NW. $20.
Tuesday, June 30 D.C., you do not know what you have in Christie Dashiell. You may have seen her on The Sing-Off a couple years back, and you may have seen her as a side musician, but until you’ve seen her as a leader you can’t comprehend how good she really is. We are talking about a phenomenally talented vocalist here, with skills to match and impeccable taste. This week at her Bohemian Caverns residency, she performed two songs by Stevie Wonder (“I Can Only Be Me” and “Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You)”), a standard or two, and originals by her and the evening’s accompanist, Allyn Johnson. Those last two composers are important to remember here, for, although she’s mainly been working in a quartet formation this month with her two brothers Christian and C.V. on bass and drums respectively, her closing show of June will be a much more intimate setting: herself and Johnson, who regard each other as family even without sharing a name, working together on piano and vocals. It’s wonderful on its face. They perform at 7:30 and 9:30 at Bohemian Caverns, 2001 Eleventh Street NW. $10.