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My sincere apologies, folks. I had intended to write about the Wayne Shorter tribute that had been scheduled for Saturday night at the Strathmore, but that tribute has been canceled. I just found out this afternoon, without enough time to research and write up another show before publication. So here is the shortest ever rendition of The Jazz Setlist.
Thursday, August 1 I assumed that I’d previously given the Setlist treatment to Soul Cycle, the jazz-funk combo led by keyboardist Jesse Fischer. And yet, I never have, and that’s egregious. Soul Cycle is not your meat-and-potatoes, “swing, ballads and blues” jazz band by any means. And why the hell should it be? The music is continually expanding into new horizons, and few are as sumptuous as the one Soul Cycle mines. The heavy (if occasionally jittery) grooves are foundations for lyrical, gorgeous blossoms of melody and sound; Fischer’s Rhodes and Jean Caze‘s languid trumpet and flugelhorn being the most appealing of the lot. But they’re by no means the most soulful; that’s a constant tug of war among the entire seven-piece ensemble. Their 2012 release is called Retro Future, and that’s as good a description for their doings as any. Jesse Fischer & Soul Cycle perform at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. at Bohemian Caverns, 2001 11th St. NW. $10.
Friday, August 2 Alex Snydman plays drums like he’s been working on it since birth. He hasn’t—-in his early thirties now, Snydman started off as a guitarist and switched to the drums only in his senior year of college. The L.A.-based musician has been serious about it, though, pursuing a graduate degree at CalArts and studying with every A-tier drummer he could find. It’s left him with a snappy, rhythmically subtle but stunningly confident touch on the instrument. He’s a joy to listen to, as are the sensitive musicians he brings in to work with him on this summer’s debut recording Fortunate Action. The core of his sound is a piano trio (in this case, with pianist Chris Pattishall and bassist Tyler Heydolph, one where Snydman both makes his indomitable presence known and doesn’t crowd the pianist. No small feat, and one that can only be accomplished by a drummer who’s extremely able—-and knows it. Alex Snydman performs at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Twins Jazz, 1344 U St. NW. $16.