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Saturday, March 16
Jack DeJohnette is coming off a big year. He turned 70, released a fascinating worldbeat-influenced album (Sound Travels)—and, oh yes, he received the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship, the highest honor that America bestows on its jazz musicians. The latter is especially impressive for the man whose breakthrough came with his work on Bitches Brew, Miles Davis’ 1969 record that much of the jazz world declared blasphemy at the time. But musicians have always understood his greatness, and he progressed from the early days of fusion into work in every jazz aegis, always with his own distinctive language of rhythm and color. As pianist George Colligan recently said, DeJohnette is “the Yo-Yo Ma of jazz drumming.” He’s taken birthday party all the way through 2013: He’s releasing a box set of four classic recordings and taking his show on the road with an aces core quartet (Colligan, guitarist David “Fuze” Fiuczynski, bassist Jerome Harris), which he augments with any number of surprise guests from his illustrious career. Your own birthday party may not run quite so long, or so grandiosely, but at least you’re invited to his. Jack DeJohnette performs at 7:30 and 9:30 at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater, 2700 F St. NW. $35.
Monday, March 18
Rodney Richardson was probably D.C.’s favorite jazz guitarist when he up and moved to Chicago last year. His departure depriving us of the original guitarist for the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra and the muscle of Funk Ark. It also took away half the leadership of the Richardson-Herrera Quartet, a real bummer since he and trumpeter Joe Herrera went together hand-in-glove. Both have a flair for original compositions, for lesser-known lights of the jazz repertoire, and for smart but sensitive approaches to their respective instruments, and to harmony in a general sense. All of which makes Richardson’s visit next week a more-than-welcome one, and thankfully he and Herrera are making the most of the reunion, so to speak. The Richardson-Herrera Quartet performs at 8 and 10 p.m. $18.
Wednesday, March 20
As mentioned last week, March brings in the third year of Amy K. Bormet‘s increasingly ambitious—-and compelling—-Washington Women in Jazz Festival. The opening shot of 2012 built a D.C.-based ensemble around the work of an excellent drummer, area native Allison Miller. This year they run the same trick, but to the beat of a different drummer. Kim Thompson is from St. Louis, an important and oft-overlooked jazz town; she has jazz chops to spare, but is also one of the most in-demand session artists in hip-hop and R&B, including much work with Beyoncé. She’s got a pounding, thudding style that should be an interesting supplement to the hard-edged jazz of our town, made by such gifted women as saxophonists Sarah Hughes and Leigh Pilzer, bassist Karine Chapdelaine, and Bormet herself on piano. Thompson and the WWJF All-Stars perform at 8 p.m. at Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. $25.