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‘Tis a light week for jazz, but with one big name in town:
Friday, August 26 It seems as though Wallace Roney will never escape comparisons to Miles Davis. Miles was the younger trumpeter’s mentor and idol, and Roney stood in for the late giant when Miles’ classic 1960s quintet went on a reunion tour about 15 years ago; his sound is clearly built on the Miles Davis foundation, and even now, over two decades into his career, his new album If Only for One Night can’t escape being held up next to ’80s Miles. But in fact, Roney was already hard at work developing his own music before he ever met Miles, as a teenager at D.C.’s own Duke Ellington School of the Arts. He simply uses Davis’ discoveries as the launchpad from which to make his own, and though he does love the terse lines, his is a more supple and round sound that’s completely his. The If Only for One Night quintet—-including another musician who grew up in D.C., drummer Kush Abadey—-performs with Roney at 8 and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $25. Saturday, August 27 – Part 1 D.C. resident Andrew White‘s greatest commercial success was as an electric bassist: He worked with Stevie Wonder, The Fifth Dimension, and the prime fusion band Weather Report. But he also plays multiple reed instruments, including saxophones and oboe, and is a music publisher and scholar (particularly on all things Coltrane). On top of that, he’s a composer, working in the classical milieu. And next week he is 68 years old. To celebrate, he has written a piece that could best be called “third stream,” the fusion of classical and jazz music, by the name of “Three Jazz Parodies.” Written for alto saxophone and woodwind quintet, it will be performed this weekend at one of the newest library facilities in DC, on Benning Road — one of the most unusual concerts to happen east of the river this year. White’s alto sax will be joined by the Georgetown Quintet at 3 p.m. at Benning Neighborhood Library, 3935 Benning Rd. NE. Free.
Saturday, August 27 – Part 2 It was 1907 when a 6-year-old Louis Armstrong saw a used cornet hanging in a New Orleans shop window, and asked the Karnofskys, the white family for whom he worked, to advance him the money to buy it. It’s a pivotal moment in the history of modern music, and yet it’s rarely been examined outside of Armstrong’s own memoirs. But film director Dan Pritzker investigates that moment, as well as the life, culture, and music of 1907 New Orleans, through the eyes of little Louis in his new silent film called, yes, Louis. Coincidentally, 1907 was also the year that mythical jazz inventor Buddy Bolden was committed to the Louisiana State Insane Asylum for the rest of his life, and the film imagines an intersection of those two torch-passing moments. After that, however, come the anachronisms: It’s a silent film that’s partly in color and rated R, with the music not of the period but written by one of today’s heirs to Armstrong, Wynton Marsalis. The good news is that Marsalis, and a 10-piece band that is drawn from his Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (plus classical pianist Cecile Licad), performs the music live in accompaniment to the movie—-which screens at 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane in Bethesda. $55-$95.