Butch Warren‘s death on Saturday at 74, while not unexpected, nonetheless casts a pall over the entire D.C. jazz community. His memorial is still being planned, but his spirit will undoubtedly infiltrate all of the events listed below.
Thursday, October 10 What, you think that just because Wayne Shorter’s birthday has come and gone (and so has Wayne) that D.C. will stop celebrating it? Not a chance. There are too many facets to the saxophonist/composer and his music that remain un- or underexplored. This round involves a sextet, led by trombonist Shannon Gunn, tackling Shorter’s work with trombonist Curtis Fuller. The vast majority of that collaboration occurred within Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, of which they were members together in the early ’60s; that means a program of straightahead, largely accessible and soulful hard bop. That said, Fuller also worked with Shorter on the latter’s 1967 solo album Schizophrenia, a more challenging record whose material could throw a spanner in the works. It should be fun. The Shannon Gunn Sextet’s tribute to Wayne Shorter and Curtis Fuller takes place at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. at Twins Jazz, 1344 U St. NW. $12.
Friday, October 11 The growing jam-session culture—-or perhaps the revival of it—-doesn’t get enough ink in D.C. Especially considering the incredible atmosphere that I saw forming in the packed second-floor bar of U Street’s Ulah Bistro last Friday night. The session was led by a core trio: Todd Simon, the keyboardist who is the session’s weekly organizer; his brother, bassist Shawn Simon; and Quincy Phillips in the drummer’s seat, which rotates weekly. There was also an astonishing percussionist on hand—-I couldn’t find out his name—-and, best of all, an unending line of musicians waiting to sit in, instruments in hand. Some of them were fixtures on the scene, but these were the exception; tenor saxophonist Brian Settles, scanning the room, declared, “I don’t know any of these people.” They all sounded great, though; it could be a garden spot for the D.C. jazz scene to come. Find out this week, with Blake Meister sitting in on bass and Kush Abadey in the drummer’s chair. The U Street Jam Session takes place at 11 p.m. in the upstairs bar at Ulah Bistro, 1214 U St. NW. Free.
Tuesday, October 15 Five years ago, the small jazz label Talking House Records decided to assemble a series of releases by artists of tremendous talent but underrated stature. They called it “Blueprints of Jazz,” and the very first release in the series was led by drummer Mike Clark. Clark is best known for his work in jazz fusion and jazz funk, especially on the mid-’70s albums by Herbie Hancock on which he made his breakthrough. But he’s equally conversant and dexterous in straightahead jazz, as can be heard in his collaboration with soulful pianist Michael Wolff. Indeed, Wolff (a veteran of Cannonball Adderley‘s band, among others) is soulful enough that he gives Clark plenty of context to mix those funk workouts in with more bop-based, swinging grooves. “Grooves” is the key to this formula, of course. The Wolff & Clark Expedition performs at 8 and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $25.