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Yes, it’s that slow period in August when the jazz scene dries up to a trickle. And yet, every desert has its oases; here are a few of ours.
Friday, August 1 There’s some room for debate on the overlap between jazz and “creative music.” The latter is more of a catch-all term for music that combines premeditated and spontaneous composition, or writing and improvising if you like; even so, it tends to be a term used by musicians that one might easily associate with jazz, and avant-garde jazz in particular. But let’s not get mired down in that debate; we’ll acknowledge it and move on to the fact that followers of either/or can be fulfilled in the show that’s going down on Friday night. Billed as “A Night of New Music: A Trio of Trios,” it does indeed feature three creative trios doing their thing together, on one stage. The most visible of these is probably Trio OOO (Aaron Martin on alto sax, Luke Stewart on bass, and Sam Lohman on drums), whose promised forthcoming CD is one of the great anticipations of the year. Joining them are the Organix Trio (multi-reedist Jamal Moore, bassist Jeron White, drummer Trae Crudup III) and Garrett/Scheible/Tucker Trio, the eponymous trio of electronics wizard Layne Garrett, saxophonist Jenny Moon Tucker, and drummer Nate Scheible. There’s simply no telling from the outset where these musicians will take the music, and frankly it doesn’t matter. It’s going to be scintillating. The Trio of Trios performs at 8:30 p.m. at Union Arts, 411 New York Avenue NE. $4 (suggested donation).
Saturday, August 2 Matvei Sigalov swings on the strings. Primarily (at least from my perspective), he is a jazz violinist; the native of Samara, Russia, has been playing classical violin since he was 6, probably not imagining at that tender age that he would one day be improvising syncopated music through a wah-wah pedal. In short, he’s a fusioneer along with his more straightahead excursions. Which makes it appropriate that he’s equally equipped as a guitarist, one with a full and round tone that contains more than a hint of darkness. And of course, being interested in jazz fusion means incorporating elements of R&B, gospel, pop, soul, Latin, and Brazilian sounds, too. He’s accompanied by a wide-open trio: bassist Michael Bowie, pianist Federico Pena, and the absurdly underappreciated drummer Sean Rickman. There’s no excuse for missing this one. The Matvei Sigalov Quartet performs at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. at Bohemian Caverns, 2001 Eleventh Street NW. $18.
Sunday, August 3 Akua Allrich cannot be ignored. One need not be a connoisseur of jazz in D.C. or anywhere else to have come into contact (and been entranced by) the singer’s incredible reservoir of soul-meets-jazz-meets-West African music. Which makes it almost shocking that she has never before performed at Blues Alley, still the most famous and visible jazz club in our fair city. But that’s an anomaly Allrich is about to fix when she uses the Georgetown spot as the launchpad for her very first tour, the Red Bark Tour. That opening performance will also serve as a preview for Allrich’s new in-the-works third album, which she says will comprise “95 percent original material.” A debut concert on a debut tour that will debut new music—-that’s three debuts in one. We critics like to call that “an ambitious debut.” Akua Allrich performs at 8 and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Avenue NW. $22.