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While the Atlas Performing Arts Center is an anchor of the entertainment corridor along H Street NE, its artistic mission “to foster the artistic growth of professional and aspiring performing artists throughout the region” has only sporadically included jazz. That’s about to change.
In September begins the new “Jazz at the Atlas” program, a twice-monthly concert series that will mix established artists with a national reputation with up-and-comers from the local jazz scene. The series is curated by D.C. saxophonist and bandleader Brad Linde.
“We were looking at another aspect of Atlas’s mission—-establishing a new model of collaborative arts in the community,” says Renee Littleton, Atlas’ Director of Public Relations. “So we asked ourselves “What kind of programming, number one, makes sense, and number two, has a void that needs to be filled within the community?” (HR-57, the jazz club that now resides down H Street from the Atlas, also helped fill that void, but is focused on a specific and very small rotation of acts, plus its weekly jam sessions.)
Linde has been a friend of Atlas; if until now their jazz showcases have been occasional, he was a part of nearly all of them. That relationship, and the confidence that his ideas for the program inspired, led to his choice as curator.
Linde has completed the program for Jazz at the Atlas’ fall season. Booking for the spring season is in progress. Though there were other, aesthetic considerations, his goal has been to book musicians that are “creating, developing, and promoting new projects. [That] can include new repertoire, CD releases, or collaborative projects with other musicians,” he says. “These are also performances that are better suited for a venue like the Atlas, as opposed to a nightclub setting.”
Here’s the lineup for the fall:
Sep. 14: Will Vinson Quartet (New York) Sep. 28: Tony Martucci Quintet (D.C.) Oct. 5: Teddy Charles Tentet (Charles is New York-based; his ensemble will likely be filled out by local musicians) Oct. 19: Greg Boyer Peloton (D.C.) Nov. 9: Miguel Zenon Quartet (Puerto Rico/New York) Nov. 16: Brian Settles and Central Union (mix of D.C. and New York players) Dec. 7: Grachan Moncur III (New York) with the Brad Linde Ensemble (D.C.) Dec. 21: Matt Wilson Christmas Tree-O (New York)