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Thursday, July 5 George Colligan is an emphatic pianist: He attacks his instrument with a certain intensity that rings out from the keys. That’s not to say he never plays softly, though, which is one of the delightful mysteries of Colligan’s playing. How does the guy work quiet on the piano and still get that unique oomph out of it? Even he might not know the answer, but it’s a characteristic that makes his playing immediately recognizable. Better yet, it gives his music a natural sense of swing—-he probably wouldn’t even need a rhythm section. That said, he has one, and thank God for it: It sends his already confident groove into hyperdrive. It also happens to be a pair of musicians that anyone who knows D.C. jazz will know is a brilliant combo: Eric Wheeler on bass and Kush Abadey on drums. How can you lose with such a dazzling ensemble? The George Colligan Trio performs at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. at Bohemian Caverns, 2001 11th Street NW. $15.
Friday, July 6 Tony Martucci is a stalwart among the stalwarts, and not in the president-killing sense. Although he’s got a heavy career as a session and touring drummer, and is an adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, he’s been a steady traps man in Washington for more than 20 years now. So solidly does he stand on his own that it’s a little strange that he’d choose to bill himself this week under a more famous musician’s aegis: “Mose Allison‘s Favorite Drummer.” And yet that’s a true statement: Martucci’s been touring and playing in the elder statesman’s band since the ’80s, and knowing that he’s got fans in such high places, who wouldn’t want to go see him? Martucci is leading a quartet of tremendous, powerhouse players (Greg Boyer on trombone, Wade Beach on piano, and James King on bass), plus a wonderful vocalist (Jeannie Marshall), in what he calls “a program of recognizable jazz classics, and timeless standards, with an emphasis on improvisational interpretation.” The goods, in other words. Tony Martucci & Friends perform at 6 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 4th and I streets SW. $5.
Sunday, July 8
Yup, the D.C. Jazz Loft—-that reliable staple of our scene and of Setlist—-returns this weekend. Well, returns in its traditional, one-night format anyway, as opposed to the balls-to-the-wall marathon of programming that CapitalBop put up for the D.C. Jazz Festival. So while this installment represents a return to normalcy, it’s still holding onto its edge with an evening of three local bands that haven’t played Jazz Loft before. Marshall Keys, a longtime D.C. veteran, is an alto saxophonist with a tremendous swing and beautiful melodic flow, and one with as strong a background in fusion as in mainstream jazz. Matt Rippetoe, also a saxophonist (tenor this time), has a similarly unique conception; while popular among straightahead bandleaders, he’s got a reputation for always taking that context onto the frontier of jazz. And, while drummer Ethan Snyder no doubt can work straightahead with ease, he’s far better known for his charged, creative work in Baltimore’s rich avant-garde scene. And, of course, it culminates in the ever-present jam session. The Jazz Loft takes place at 7 p.m. at The Dunes, 1402 Meridian Place NW. $10.