Get our free newsletter
Though tonight’s performance at the Millennium Stage is officially listed in the DC Jazz Festival’s program as “German Jazz All-Stars,” that description is only one-third correct. The leader, bassist, and namesake of the Pascal Niggenkemper Trio is the only German in the ensemble. Niggenkemper is a member of the rich music scene of Cologne, and plays with the kind of droning but rhythmically free bass throbs that are associated with fellow Cologne artists Can. He also makes use of liberal borrowings from European classical (in which he is also thoroughly trained) and world-music elements to create a formidable avant-garde music whose density belies its small-group lineup. That small group, by the way, features two cohorts of similarly diverse (and arty) musical interests, the Belgian saxophonist Robin Verheyen and the American drummer Tyshawn Sorey. Difficult music it may be, but it’s nonetheless intoxicating stuff that may lead you to chase down music you never thought you had the slightest interest in. The Pascal Niggenkemper Trio performs at 6:00 PM at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, 2700 F Street NW. Free.