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Friday, Feb. 25 Ever since Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines recorded “Weather Bird” in 1928, jazz has had a special reverence for duo performances. Not all of them have been worthy of that reverence, mind you, but not all of them have featured the great pianist Roger Kellaway. A terrifically skilled, criminally underrated player and composer, Kellaway reached the height of his success in the ’70s when he wrote the closing theme to All in the Family and was nominated for an Oscar for scoring A Star Is Born. He has only gotten better since. His duet partner is clarinetist Eddie Daniels, a longtime friend and collaborator who is also an accomplished classical musician, though best known by far as the rarest of rare, hard-bop clarinet. The two released an album together, A Duet of One, two years ago this month; it’s excellent. Seeing them live, though, will be even better. Kellaway and Daniels perform at 8 p.m. at the Library of Congress’ Coolidge Auditorium, First St. and Independence Ave. SE. Free; ticketed required.
Saturday, Feb. 26 William Parker, a staple of the free-jazz underground since the loft-jazz days of the mid-’70s, has projects as a sideman (most notably with David S. Ware); as a duo, in partnership with his wife poet Patricia Nicholson; and as a leader in his own trios, quartets, collectives, and his Little Huey Creative Ensemble (a big band). For all that, though, he’s always got something new and different up his sleeve. His most recent project is actually one that’s been over a decade in the making: an interpretation of the “inside songs” of soul giant Curtis Mayfield, whom Parker regards as one of the most complete and profound musical artists of the era of recorded sound. His band for the performance includes another free jazz legend, pianist Dave Burrell, as well as eminent and controversial poet Amiri Baraka providing spoken-word performance (along with vocalist Leena Conquest) among others. They perform at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. at Bohemian Caverns, 2001 11th Street NW. $30.
Tuesday, March 1 It’s been the subject of some pretty big talk around town already: The Turkish Ambassador’s Residence in Embassy Row will be hosting a series of 6 jazz concerts throughout 2011, in conjunction with Jazz at Lincoln Center. They’re calling it the Ertegun Jazz Series. You see, the founder of Atlantic Records, Ahmet Ertegun, and his brother and partner Nesuhi were the sons of the second Turkish Ambassador to the United States, and regularly invited visiting jazz musicians into the residence for jam sessions in the 1930s and ’40s. The Ertegun series aren’t jam sessions, though—they’re full-on concerts, starting with the sure-fingered and forward-thinking pianist Orrin Evans. They’re also invitation-only. “Cheat!” You cry, but it’s not—there’s a chance you can make it, and for free! The embassy is giving away five passes to fans of its Facebook page. So! Go to Facebook, search for “Embassy of Turkey, Washington D.C.,” fan the page, and drop an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and phone number included for your chance to see the Orrin Evans Trio at the Turkish Ambassador’s residence, 1606 23rd St. NW. Free.
Wednesday, March 2 Last week I told you about the First Annual Washington Women in Jazz Festival, organized by local pianist Amy K. Bormet. It begins this week at Twins. The evening’s first set belongs to Melissa Gardiner, a Julliard-educated trombonist whose sound is, put bluntly, badass. It’s a lyrical phrasing and pacing that could fairly be called “classical,” perhaps even “old school,” delivered with a swagger that all but grins at you and just the hint of a growl. The second set is by Lena Seikaly—one of the contenders for D.C.’s best singer, with a rich voice and precise articulation that belies her enormous creativity on the vocal. There’s a crossover element, too: Seikaly will be in Gardiner’s band, and Gardiner in Seikaly’s. They perform at 8 and 10 p.m. at Twins, 1344 U St. NW. $15.
Orrin Evans photo: Giorgio Ricci
Melissa Gardinder photo: Mat Jodrell
Lena Seikaly photo: Nestor Diaz