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Thursday, July 29 We’ve discussed before the deep vein of gospel that runs through Baltimore jazz. Well, meet the furthest exponent of that style: Cyrus Chestnut. A highly esteemed, technically dazzling mainstream pianist, Chestnut’s inspirational roots couldn’t be suppressed with a steam shovel; the church seems to glow through the tips of his fingers, and you can name that piano player in one note. Chestnut made a splash at this year’s DC Jazz Festival, mostly playing with all-star ensembles. This time around, though, he’s the star of the show. Chestnut performs at 8 and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $25 (plus surcharge and minimum). Friday, July 30 How many times have you gone out to see The Young Lions? Not enough. The trio, which features Quincy Phillips on drums; Kris Funn on bass; and Allyn Johnson, arguably the best and most accomplished pianist in town, has been at the core of the DC jazz scene since 1996. The band does aggressive, straight-ahead jazz, but also goes in exciting directions with funk, hip-hop, and free jazz. Their regular weekly gig is at Cafe Nema, but big things tend to happen when they hit the bandstand at Bohemian Caverns. Specifically, on Friday nights when they’re playing there, the club fills up with every other jazz musician in town and wild jam sessions break out. You’ve got to be there for it. The Young Lions perform at 8:30 and 10:30 at Bohemian Caverns, 2001 11th Street NW. $18.
Tuesday, August 3 The guitarist is lately perhaps the least endangered musician in jazz. Everywhere you’ll find up and coming guitarists and guitar students; a bit rarer, though, is those who want to make their own unique mark in the jazz world, not just sound like Bill Frisell. One of the latter is Peter Wagner—-a young DC native who’s currently a student at Berklee in Boston. His chops as a rhythm guitarist are formidable, as well as his solo flash. At 19, he’s got a hefty resume of gigs under his belt, and this one is a nice entry too: Wagner plays with DC’s great young tenor saxophonist Elijah Balbed, as well as bassist Blake Meister and drummer Ele Rubenstein. Don’t know Peter Wagner’s name? You’re going to start hearing it a lot more often. He performs at 8 and 10 PM at Twins Jazz, 1344 U Street NW. $10.