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Thursday, October 2
As I said when naming Leigh Pilzer the city’s Best Baritone Saxophonist in last year’s Jazzies: “This and the two preceding categories [Best Alto and Best Tenor Saxophonist] could be condensed into Best All-Around Saxophonist, and Pilzer would win it. She plays all of them[.]” And indeed, it seems she may just have all of them on hand for the splendid quartet date she’s got planned. Co-leading with Pilzer is a young pianist from Japan, Miki Yamanaka, who’s currently studying at Queens College’s Aaron Copland School of Music. She’s developing a neat, distinctive sound that embraces the higher register of the keyboard, sharp harmonies, and tumbling single-note lines. And the lineup just gets better when bassist Karine Chapdelaine—-a monster—-and drummer Savannah Grace Harris join in. The band performs at 9 and 10:30 p.m. at Dukem, 1114 U Street NW. Free.
Friday, October 3
With all due respect to the late, much accomplished, and much beloved Butch Warren, the one true king of the D.C. bass was Keter Betts, who died in 2005. He was the one who taught that aggressive syncopated bounce to Washington, a tradition that threaded its way from Betts to Warren to Michael Bowie to Ben Williams. Last year, the District lost another great rhythm player: drummer Harold Mann, who, like Betts, was a great mentor and who, like Betts, spent much of his career as an accompanist for a great vocalist. (Betts was a longtime Ella Fitzgerald collaborator; Mann spent many years with D.C.’s own Shirley Horn.) These two ancestors and spiritual fathers of our local music will be saluted at this week’s Jazz Night in Southwest; their successors as deans, bassist James King and drummer Nasar Abadey, are joined by another longtime stalwart, pianist Robert Redd. They perform at 6 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 400 I Street SW. $5.
Tuesday, October 7
Marty Nau has that hard-as-nails alto sax tone that you instantly associate with Charlie Parker. Like most alto saxophonists, Nau takes a lot of cues from Charlie Parker; you might even hear some Bird licks thrown into his solos. Even so, Nau makes that sound his own, partly by streamlining it—-less of the somersaulting melodic flourishes, more deliberate phrasing—-and making novel use of space in his lines. It’s served him in good stead through tenures in the U.S. Navy Band (both the ceremonial band and The Commodores, the Navy jazz band), the Blues Alley Big Band, and currently, both the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra. And on top of all that, Nau has served (at the head of a quartet) one of the longest-running residencies in D.C., long-running enough that Twins (where the residency happens) simply calls it “Tuesdays with Marty Nau.” It takes place at 8 and 10 p.m. at Twins Jazz, 1344 U Street NW. $10.