July is the slowest month for jazz in D.C., and this year it’s no wonder: Who wants to leave their nice air-conditioned homes? Still, there’s good music to be found.
Kevin Pace will surprise you. He looks like a mild-mannered fellow, gracious and thoughtful—-and he is. But Pace is a crack bassist—-one of the best in a jazz-bass town, with an inventive staccato sound that will make your hair stand on end when you hear it. The even bigger surprise, though, is that he’s a smart and skilled composer, with a knack for boppish melodies and rhythms. Better yet, he works with an exceptional bunch of guys on the D.C. scene; tonight, that includes saxophonist Bobby Muncy, trumpeter “Big” Joe Herrera, pianist Gene D’Andrea, and drummer Andrew Hare. This little enclave promises big things to come in the future. Check them out at the W Hotel’s POV Lounge, 515 15th St. NW. Free. (But plan to sit at the bar if you don’t have reservations.)
Monday, July 12
Baltimore prides itself on the thick gospel strain that runs through its tradition of jazz players, a legacy that goes as far back as ’30s stars Chick Webb and Cab Calloway. Some of those elders attempted to cloak that gospel feel in layers of suave Harlem Renaissance sophistication, but younger players like alto saxophonist Tim Green are completely at home in it. His first album, in fact, was a collection of classic hymns like “Come Thou Fount Of Every blessing” and “Holy, Holy, Holy.” What’s striking about it is the sincerity with which Green imbues every note he plays, and its contagiousness—-even the drums give off earnestness and devotion. That taste of Baltimore comes to Bohemian Caverns, 2001 11th St. NW. $18.
Saturday, July 10
A calm, controlled mezzo-soprano voice emanates from the diminutive figure of Tarea Anderson. Born in D.C., the sultry singer attended Bowie State and Howard University music programs, where she also acquired chops in classical and soul singing that have stood her well in her career. Though she’s worked in soul, neo-soul, R&B and smooth jazz contexts as well, jazz remains her first love. Her sleek renditions of the standard song book suggest that the music loves her back. Nonetheless, she’ll likely mix some of her favorite soul numbers into her performance at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $32.50.