If age is one of Mose Allison’s lyrical preoccupations, it’s also one of his distinctions. The 80-year-old singer/pianist was born in Mississippi at a time when jazz and blues were more or less interchangeable—and in his music, they still are, along with R&B and even postwar pop crooning. Though Allison says his genre-blurring has made it difficult to maintain a steady audience, those who’ve remained loyal include Van Morrison, Bonnie Raitt, Leon Russell, and The Who—all of whom have recorded some of Allison’s stellar compositions. But good as those covers are, Allison’s songwriting is best experienced through the filter of the maestro’s furiously rhythmic, greased-lightning piano technique and his wise but youthful voice. He makes the advancing years seem all but irrelevant. Allison performs with his trio at 8 and 10 PM at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $25.
As jazz edges ever further from the mainstream, keyboardist Erik Deutsch continues to assimilate sounds from the pop charts—-of the 1970s, that is. His second album, Hush Money, draws from the prog-rock and singer-songwriter movements, edgy funk, Afro-soul, and especially album-oriented jazz fusion like Steely Dan. But Deutsch’s current musical trajectory is more audacious than it sounds: He marries jazz improvisation to introspective, sometimes folkish melodies and sonic textures (spun with analog synthesizers) that seem as epxerimental today as in 1972. It’s music that demands attention from the postrock universe—-and promises even bolder surprises to come. Deutsch performs at 9 PM at the Velvet Lounge, 915 U Street NW. $10.
There are simply not enough jazz flutists in the world. The instrument’s versatility, long melodic range, and soft, swooping voice conspire to make it a natural choice for jazz, yet its history and tradition in the music remains surprisingly thin. Still, one of the ax’s most reliable practitioners in the straightahead world is Connecticuter Ali Ryerson. Though she has a strong background in classical music (once even serving as first-chair flute for the Monterey Bay Symphony Orchestra), Ryerson’s most impassioned and adventurous work has been with icons such as Dr. Billy Taylor, Kenny Barron, and Roy Haynes. Hear her fly at 9 and 11 PM at Twins Jazz, 1344 U Street NW. $15.
France has an unusually strong jazz tradition, and one of the young musicians advancing it into the new century is 35-year-old pianist Baptiste Trotignon. The grand prize winner of the 2002 Martial Solal International Jazz Competition has a hugely creative mind, but a sensitive touch that fits his bold harmonic statements into tender, lyrical passages. He’s attracted the greatest players in Europe to his side (and he to theirs), as well as a tour last year with an American quintet featuring trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, saxophonist Mark Turner, and drummer Eric Harland. Trotignon is also racking up an impressive recording career, with his latest album, Share, only the latest to garner tremendous praise. The young phenomenon performs with an American trio (bassist Matt Penman and drummer Gregory Hutchinson) at the Embassy of France, 4101 Reservoir Rd. NW. Free (but reservation required).