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Friday, April 10
Never really out of style, the saxophone trio (sax, bass, drums) has nonetheless seen a renaissance in the past five years or so. That doesn’t mean that Bishop/Cleaver/Flood is just one of a multitude, though. It might not even be fair to call them a saxophone trio, since you’re as likely to hear drummer Gerald Cleaver, a nearly unmatched virtuoso, dominate the proceedings as saxophonist Andrew Bishop—or be mesmerized by Tim Flood’s unflappable bass groove. There is no leader, in other words, in the sense of either personality or instrument. Bishop/Cleaver/Flood is a combustible combination of equals, committed to variety and creative liberation. And yet, there’s a remarkable accessibility in the group’s sound, so beholden to groove and melody that you don’t require even passing familiarity with jazz to sink your teeth into it. Even your run-of-the-mill saxophone trios can’t always pull that off. Bishop/Cleaver/Flood performs at 8 p.m. at Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H Street NE. $22-$28.
Saturday, April 11
It would be more than 20 years before a jazz artist hit the Billboard top 5 again after “The In Crowd,” the 1965 crossover hit by Chicago’s Ramsey Lewis trio. It was pop-jazz, lite-jazz, but it was soulful and fun jazz, and it took America by storm. And it was recorded, of course, right here in Washington D.C. Fifty years on, Lewis is back to celebrate with a new trio and some newer material, but in the same old city and focused on the same old song. It’s even called “The In Crowd” at 50 Tour, and this is obviously the tour’s most important stop. It goes on for four nights, in fact, but it begins tonight (Thursday). 8 and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Avenue NW. $60.
Sunday, April 12
Miles Davis in his darkest, most voodoo fusion period achieved a kind of psychedelic jazz sound all his own. But if you want to hear jazz steeped in the kind of tripped-out hippie/krautrock sound that we usually associate with psychedelia—-and you do—-the guys to hear at this very minute are Rob Mazurek‘s Black Cube SP. Mazurek is a cornetist, harmonium player, and electronics experimenter on the fabulously rich Chicago jazz scene. He’s got band projects out the ying-yang, but this one may be the most interesting—-it teams him up with São Paulo musicians Guilherme Granado (keyboards and electronics) and Mauricio Takara (drums, cavaquinho, and electronics), with whom he plays in the smaller São Paulo Underground project, plus multi-instrumentalist Thomas Rohrer. And I can’t possibly describe the music any better than a stoned jazz freakout. It’s glorious. Rob Mazurek’s Black Cube SP performs at 7 and 8:30 p.m. at Bohemian Caverns, 2001 Eleventh Street NW. $15.