We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Thursday, January 22
It was in 1951, at the subterranean U Street club that was then known as Crystal Caverns, that an already well-traveled tenor saxophonist named Ted Efantis celebrated his 21st birthday on the bandstand. That was 64 years ago, and Efantis has seen all of them through in D.C. as a hard-swinging jazz man, holding down a job with the Washington Post in the daytime while he was gigging and jamming his way through the local stages by night. To say that Efantis’ sound has “swagger” in it is an understatement; you wouldn’t want to be within a 5-foot radius of his horn when he gets going. He’s also got a husky tone that cuts deep into the tenor’s lowest register, like it was dredging for blues. But his 85th birthday celebration, back home again at the Caverns, is more than just a showcase for Efantis himself: He’s at the center of a jam session, and everyone’s invited. It begins at 7:30 p.m. at Bohemian Caverns, 2001 Eleventh Street NW. Free.
Sunday, January 25
The DC Jazz Singers Jam is alive and well going into a new year. But it has found new digs, further east of its previous setup at Black Fox Lounge in Dupont Circle. The jam began there last May, a beacon in D.C.’s growing jam session scene (and honestly, one of the few vocalist-focused jam sessions we’ve heard of anywhere). Successful as it’s been in Dupont, however, the Singers Jam has moved eastward, just south of LeDroit Park to the Central European restaurant Bistro Bohem. There, mistress of ceremonies Sharon Clark holds court (along with pianist Mark Meadows, bassist Eliot Seppa, and drummer Ele Rubenstein) and invites all singers, scatters, and other vocal artists to hone their crafts. It begins at 5 p.m. at Bistro Bohem, 600 Florida Avenue NW. Free.
Tuesday, January 27
It will take three beats of a four-beat measure for Myrna Clayton to knock your socks off. When the soprano singer wants to, she can soar with the best of them—-and I do mean soar—-but she can also be so subtle, so exacting, that you can’t imagine her doing that kind of soaring. But Clayton (who is based in Atlanta, and calls herself the Songbird) claims rhythm as her real strength, an uncanny ability to stall and displace accents that will keep listeners on their toes. D.C. jazz fans may know her from her appearance on last year’s sleeper recording, Olayimika Cole‘s L’ife. Here, however, she’s on her own—-unless you count D.C. drummer John Cusick‘s Jazz City Quartet, who will accompany Clayton on a variety of covers (including Cole tunes) and at least one of her own originals. Myrna Clayton and Jazz City perform at 8 and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Avenue NW. $20.