In November, the Jazz and Cultural Society announced its presence in an unassuming Brookland storefront. It’s the brainchild of longtime D.C. jazz trumpeter DeAndrey Howard, who envisioned it as a positive, healthy community center for jazz musicians and fans—-in particular, the more seasoned members of that community. “I want to show the city what it’s forgotten,” he said last October. “They’re obsessed out there with young, young, young—but you’ve got to pay your dues. There’s a lot of old cats who are still cookin’, but this city has forgotten about them. And one thing in jazz is, you can’t forget about the people who came before you.” The space will eschew alcohol, serving only juice and coffee, and host early shows (always over by 10 p.m.) for a low admission fee (flat $5).
But that November soft opening was JACS’ only performance for quite a while. The long-dormant storefront had a number of maintenance issues that required attention before it could officially open, and a long, tough winter didn’t help.
Now, it’s ready to go. At 6 p.m. this Wednesday—-Duke Ellington’s birthday, incidentally—-JACS will hold its official grand opening party, and the planned lineup there is a good indication of the sort of musicians Howard has in mind for the venue’s focus: a trio featuring pianist William Knowles, bassist Wes Biles, and drummer Ron Compton; a duo of pianist Ernie Douglas and vocalist Shirleta Settles; and the Crage Brisco Organ Trio with Howard on trumpet and Tracey Cutler on tenor saxophone. And the whole evening is free.