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Friday, Sept. 13
If you’re a fan of that hard-swinging, 1950s hard-bop sound, one of your spiritual fathers is likely Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, who would have turned 85 this Sunday. The Tampa-born alto saxophonist is really most famous for his work in the Miles Davis band (the Milestones/Kind of Blue era), when Miles was moving away from that pure hard-bop sound, but Adderley dove right back into it when he left Miles in 1960, digging deep into gospel and even country blues to produce great tunes like his surprise 1966 hit “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!” It’s a sound that continues to be explored in Washington, most notably at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, where the soulful straightahead jazz is accompanied weekly by a fish fry and a passionate crowd. Fitting, then, that this week a quintet (trumpeter Donvonte McCoy, saxophonist Marshall keys, pianist Allyn Johnson, bassist Eric Wheeler, drummer John Lamkin III) celebrates Adderley’s life and music there. They perform at 6 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian, 4th and I streets SW. $5.
Saturday, Sept. 14
We’ve always thought of him as a mainstream, trio-and-swing pianist… so what’s to make of Jacky Terrasson covering Justin Bieber on his most recent album? Well, the truth is that Terrasson has always had a strong playful side and one ear on the popular imagination; performing here a couple years ago, he did a rendition of the theme from the Harry Potter movies. He might go in any direction on the bandstand and on record, and in the 2010s he’s become even more all-embracing. The new Gouache album features rhythmic propulsions like funk and hip-hop (the title track is essentially a small-group arrangement of a New Orleans brass band), standards, French pop, and pieces by John Lennon and Amy Winehouse along with Bieber. And where will Terrasson go next? Hey, I know a way to find out. Jacky Terrasson performs Friday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. at Bohemian Caverns, 2001 11th St. NW. $25.
Sunday, Sept. 15
Speaking of the weekend, the Caverns, and unpredictable artists, Roy Campbell kicks off Transparent Productions’ new season of improvised music. The Transparent aegis tends to suggest that trumpeter Campbell is performing in an avant-garde vein, not an unreasonable suggestion given Campbell’s history on that scene. Likewise, his quartet for the gig is well known for its experimental associations: vibraphonist Bryan Carrott, bassist Hilliard Green, and drummer Michael Wimberly are known for their work with heavy hitters like Muhal Richard Abrams, Cecil Taylor, and William Parker, respectively. If we’re to be honest, though, it’s not such an easy call. Campbell and all of his players have bebop credentials, too, and have been known to dabble in funk and Afro-jazz. Campbell has even performed with indie rockers Yo La Tengo. So while free jazz isn’t a bad bet, you really don’t know where Campbell and company are going until they get there. The Roy Campbell Quartet performs at 7 p.m. and 8:30 at Bohemian Caverns. $25.
Photo: Frank Rubolino
Monday, Sept. 16
Our fair city has the good fortune to be an annual gathering place for up-and-coming jazz talents from around the world. I speak, naturally, of the Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition, this year focusing on the saxophone and 14 outstanding young players thereof. (As it happens, that includes a D.C. native and favorite, altoist Braxton Cook.) The semifinals (held at the Museum of Natural History’s Baird Auditorium) will winnow the field down to three, who will then compete the following evening at the Kennedy Center. And, of course, what’s an international jazz competition without an accompanying all-star jazz gala—-in this case one that pays tribute to one of this year’s judges, Wayne Shorter? The semifinals take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Baird Auditorium for free. The finals take place on Monday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater, 2700 F St. NW. $50-$75.
Due to a reporting error, the original version of this blog post misidentified the time and location of this weekend’s Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition semifinals. The concert takes place Sunday at 1 p.m., not Saturday at noon, at Baird Auditorium.