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Thursday, Jan. 9
There are often (but not always) two separate audiences for vocal jazz and instrumental jazz, and it may seem as though the newly established Dukem Jazz is aiming for the former. After all, its first month of existence was entirely given over to singers, Akua Allrich and Sharon Clark. Admittedly, both of these singers are incredible, and there’s no excuse for even the instrumental jazz diehards not to fall in love with both voices. But there are some people who just prefer the voices of constructed instruments, come hell or high water… and Dukem’s got something for them, too. In fact, a couple of somethings, put together. The Young Lions, the venturesome, eclectic piano trio that will forever be the face(s) of the D.C. jazz renaissance that we’re still in—-albeit with the great Warren Wolf subbing on piano—-will be joined by Brian Settles, the venturesome tenor saxophonist who in many ways epitomizes the current state of the music in our fair city. You gotta be there for this one, kids. 9 p.m. at Dukem, 1114-1118 U St. NW. Free (with one-drink minimum).
Friday, Jan. 10
You may remember Ralph Peterson from the gig he had to cancel during the unfortunate de-commissioning of Bohemian Caverns in November. That gig was rescheduled for this weekend, and that’s important considering Peterson’s huge importance and relatively low profile. In the ’80s jazz resurgence, Peterson was one of the three drummers (with Jeff “Tain” Watts and Carl Allen) that were at the top of the game. Peterson was the one with the absolutely simmering, singing ride cymbal. He’s also a splendid, prolific composer, and musicians love his tunes (which are, like his playing, highly melodic). On top of all that, Peterson’s numerous bands have been a fertile training ground for great young jazz musicians—-in this case, however, he’s going it one better by playing with some of the area’s finest. That’s trumpeter Tom Williams, saxophonists Antonio Parker and Gary Thomas, bassist Blake Meister, and our new-crowned king, pianist Allyn Johnson. The Ralph Peterson Sextet performs Friday and Saturday nights, 8:30 and 10:30 p.m., at Bohemian Caverns, 2001 11th St. NW. $25.
Sunday, Jan. 12
Bobby Muncy is one of the city’s most well-rounded jazz musicians. He’s a superb saxophonist, one with a fine reputation as a teacher on the instrument. He also works (among other contexts) in a surf-music band, and leads a jazz one that covers Radiohead‘s tunes. But Muncy’s top priority might be original composition: He’s a founding member of the D.C. Jazz Composer’s Collective, which works to promote new, original music by writers in the greater Washington area. The members of the DCJCC are also composers, of course, with beautiful, spellbinding work of their own, and they often support each other on their respective tunes. Well, as it happens, Muncy’s leading a band this weekend that features all three members of the DCJCC: himself, pianist Gene D’Andrea, and bassist Kevin Pace. (There will also be a drummer, still TBD at press time.) The compositions will be the saxophonist’s, but they’ll be played by musicians who both understand the effort and inspiration that go into shaping tunes, and who understand the effort and inspiration of these tunes, having worked with them and their author so often. It’s a wonderful thing to hear. The Bobby Muncy Quartet performs at 8 and 10 p.m. at Twins Jazz, 1344 U St. NW. $10.
Wednesday, Jan. 15
Tenor saxophonist Igor Butman is the Wynton Marsalis of Russian jazz. Strip away all of the controversy and ideological baggage that comes with the latter name, though; Butman is simply the face of the music, his country’s musical ambassador to the world and its most famous practitioner at home. He’s been honored by his government and earned the respect of jazz greats the world over. (And actually, he comes with the Marsalis Seal of Approval, having worked with Wynton since the late ’90s.) And, because it’s what jazz ambassadors do, Butman leads a big band, the 16-piece Moscow Jazz Orchestra. It’s stocked with great players, with a thorough book of the classics done in rich ensemble arrangements. And, in one of Butman’s best tricks, he frequently brings out a soloist to introduce the tunes with an extended showcase, so you get the group sound and the featured solo right at the top. Russian jazz is in good hands. Igor Butman and the Moscow Jazz Orchestra perform at 6 p.m. at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW. Free.