Thursday, Jan. 13
You might know Amy K. Bormet from her weekly role as pianist and backbone of the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra (and perhaps you saw her thoughtful interview on this WTTG tribute to the late Dr. Billy Taylor). But she’s got other tricks up her sleeve. Her 2011 resolution, she recently stated, is “MORE ACCORDION,” and Aqui Oh offers her a chance to get started on that. Aqui Oh is a Brazilian jazz ensemble, the core of which is Bormet and her husband, guitarist Matt Dievendorf—-the former also sings, and the latter plays the miniature Portuguese cavaquinho. Joined by bassist Karine Chapdelaine and percussionists Marc Levine and Chuck Navyac, they perform the Brazilian jazz repertoire as well as their own compositions in the same milieu (which they’ve studied well—-Bormet and Dievendorf’s honeymoon last year was in Bahia). This is the good stuff. Aqui Oh performs at 8 and 10 p.m. at Twins Jazz, 1344 U St. NW. $10.
Saturday, Jan. 15
Boston isn’t on anyone’s list of jazz meccas these days. But it is an academic mecca, and with Berklee and the New England Conservatory among the many institutions, it’s one of the great centers for music training and scholarship. One of its most renowned trainers/scholars is Northeastern University’s Leonard Brown, who studies the music of the African diaspora. He has a particularly deep knowledge of John Coltrane and the strain of “spiritual jazz” that he inspired with his later musical explorations; in fact, Brown’s newest book is John Coltrane and Black America’s Quest for Freedom, Spirituality, and the Music (Oxford University Press), which he’ll be talking about and signing at Bohemian Caverns at 2:30 Saturday afternoon. By night, however, Brown expresses his intellect about spiritual jazz in another way: He’s also an extraordinary tenor and soprano saxophonist, who leads a band appropriately called Joyful Noise featuring a coterie of great D.C. jazz musicians (and fellow spiritual-jazz enthusiasts): pianist Bob Butta, bassist James King, and drummer Nasar Abadey. Interestingly for such an accomplished academic, Brown’s and Joyful Noise’s musical trajectory is aimed at something that all involved would tell you is beyond intellectual understanding. But there’s a distinct historical context to this weekend’s performance: It’s a celebration of Martin Luther King‘s birthday, combining Coltrane’s spiritual jazz with actual African-American spirituals (not the same thing, mind you). It happens at 8:30 and 10:30 at Bohemian Caverns, 2001 11th St. NW. $22.
Tuesday, January 18
Though he lost his most visible gig at Columbia Station last fall, bass legend Butch Warren has kept fairly busy. He still works weekly in Adams Morgan, leading his band the Butch Warren Experience every Tuesday night at Tryst. He performed at Blues Alley in October with the Brad Linde Ensemble. He also made a recent (and as yet unreleased) recording of some of his own original compositions. This week, however, offers a chance to see Warren perform at a D.C. establishment that’s not quite a jazz venue, but edging ever closer to one. The Black Fox Lounge, a sleek bar in Dupont Circle, offers nightly live music of all kinds, but jazz artists are slowly but surely coming to dominate the schedule. One of the regulars is the impressive guitarists Matt Ingeneri, who often duets with bassist Bill “Magic” Lavender Bey; this week, though, Warren will be filling Bey’s spot. They perform at 7 p.m. at the Black Fox Lounge, 1723 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free.