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Friday, Oct. 26
When the late Dr. Billy Taylor was the Kennedy Center’s Artistic Adviser for Jazz, you’d see him cross the institution’s stages occasionally—-primarily as a guest in other artists’ sets, and increasingly less as he got older. The new artistic adviser, Jason Moran, is considerably younger and more energetic (his fresh perspective helped him land the job, no doubt), and has been quite a fixture on the jazz schedule for his inaugural year: He’s featured in seven more performances between now and the end of the season. He’s practically an artist-in-residence at the performing-arts center. And as a part of that, he and his Bandwagon trio (bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits) work with two extraordinary musicians. Bill Frisell is likely the most influential guitarist currently working in jazz, imbuing the music’s language and improvisational approach with a rugged Americana aesthetic. Alicia Hall Moran is a glorious mezzo-soprano vocalist in opera and other contexts (though the latter usually has elements of the former) and also happens to be Moran’s wife. It’ll be a special performance. Jason Moran’s Bandwagon performs with Bill Frisell and Alicia Hall Moran at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center’s KC Jazz Club, 2700 F St. NW. $26-$30.
Sunday, Oct. 28
Few musicians in town are more distinctive than Lyle Link on the saxophone. He plays both alto and tenor (and soprano, though less frequently), but wields both axes with tremendous power. Like actual axes, even: sharp, direct, visceral tools that cut right into the listener. The alto is especially stunning, since it carries with it all the heft and muscle that one naturally associates with the tenor. Link is a great player, plain and simple, and he’s had ample opportunity to prove it with a Sunday night residency at Twins throughout October. Leading a quartet with pianist Hope Udobi, bassist Eric Harper, and drummer Shareef Taher, Link plays intense renditions of the bebop standards, as well as his own original tunes, with full command of the house. Lyle Link performs at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. at Twins Jazz, 1344 U St. NW. $10.
Tuesday, Oct. 30
Pete Muldoon is tremendously respected among the musicians in this town, and with good reason. When I first heard him play, I thought I might be in for a set of jazz drawn from classical-guitar stylings, with his clean, precisely articulated lines. Then he launched into a devastatingly pure blues, smoky and packed with an emotional punch. To collapse that into a soundbite: Pete Muldoon has something to say and he knows how to say it. It makes him something of a musician’s musician, to be sure, but not because he’s outside the purview of the average listener. Indeed, Muldoon’s guitar is a commanding instrument with all sorts of appeal, not the least of which is the undercurrent of blues that seems to lurk within his phrasing. As such he’s been this month’s artist-in-residence at Bohemian Caverns, where he’s been working Tuesday nights throughout October with a splendid sextet (Allyn Johnson on piano, Elijah Balbed on sax, Reginald Cyntje on trombone, Eliot Seppa on bass, Sam Prather on drums). They play for the final time in their residency on Tuesday. 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. at Bohemian Caverns, 2001 11th St. NW. $15.