Already boasting an impressive resume on the D.C. jazz scene, tenor saxophonist Elijah Balbed added another major entry in June: artist in residence at Bohemian Caverns. The fourth such artist since club owner/manager Omrao Brown began the residency program last November, Balbed’s monthlong tenure was truncated—-and overshadowed—-by the presence of the DC Jazz Festival at the venerable club early in June. But for his final concert tonight, he’s decided to make up for the missing time by pulling out the stops.
The lineup is a doozy: the core, of course, is an ace quartet featuring pianist Tim Whalen, bassist Tarus Mateen, and drummer Nasar Abadey, all of them among the finest talent the District has to offer. But Balbed has stacked the deck with even more great players, including the acrobatic trumpeter Donvonte McCoy, subtle and sultry young vocalist Integriti Reeves, and uniquely gifted steelpan drummer Victor Provost, who will appear as special guests.They’ll be working out new material for an album Balbed hopes to record this year, as well as favorite tunes and new arrangements by the other musicians.
Stellar as the evening promises to be, though, this one has a more important dimension to it than just a night of great music (important as that is). Balbed’s 15-year-old sister Yaya has recently undergone a major surgical procedure in her back as treatment for her scoliosis. The proceeds from the concert will help with Yaya’s medical bills, recovery costs, and musical training—-Yaya has discovered a passion for singing. Call it an investment in D.C.’s musical future.
Elijah Balbed performs at 8 and 10 p.m. at Bohemian Caverns, 2000 11th St. NW. $7 in advance, $10 at the door.
Photo: Liz Medina Chiomenti.