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Tim Warfield has the interesting distinction of being the most important jazz musician in Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna Valley region. But the high-octane tenor saxophonist has also built a sizable following in New York, Philadelphia, and here in D.C. For all his aggressive, sharp-edged playing, however, Warfield has for nearly two years had an album of Christmas music in the works. This weekend, he’ll be presenting some of the material for that record in a sextet featuring the excellent D.C. bassist Eric Wheeler, and special guest Stefon Harris, a vibraphonist who is currently among the most inventive on the national scene. They perform Friday night at Bohemian Caverns, 2001 11th Street NW. $20.
There’s something special about the basic piano trio. The small group and spare sound is charming and intimate at its heart, but also gives the musicians room to stretch out to enormous lengths and maneuver around and within each other’s work. New York’s The Go Trio is a shining example of both a trio’s tightness and its elasticity. It plays acoustic and electric music, classic and contemporary, swing and funk. If it has any one focal point, it’s the American songbook whose definition pianist Sean Gough, bassist Gene Perla, and drummer Joshua Brown are working overtime to broaden. The Go Trio performs at 9 and 11 p.m. at Twins, 1344 U Street NW.
Formerly co-founder of a quintet called Hasidic New Wave, saxophonist Greg Wall serves double duty as an avant-garde jazz musician and an Orthodox rabbi. Accordingly, his music plumbs the depths of traditional Jewish music; that includes klezmer, but is more heavily inclined toward the dark, mysterious sounds of the Hasidic and other cantatorial traditions, even as it spins out into wild freeform. Or, as he explains, it “simultaneously straddles the gates of the ancient and the avant-garde.” It’s strange and murky, but compelling and hauntingly beautiful—a new link in the long chain of jazz spirituality. Wall performs with his quartet at Bossa, 2463 18th Street NW.
A new generation of jazz musicians, and drummers in particular, was raised on hip-hop and has quite naturally blended that influence into their music. Among the most exciting is Cameron Outlaw, a Stafford, Virginia native whose professional debut came when he was 17, at DC’s HR-57. Today Outlaw leads a quintet rightly called The Outlaw Collective, a straightahead combo with subtle hip-hop shadings. Equally ferocious in swing and thudding vamps, the band around Outlaw (tenor saxophonist Jesse Scheinin, guitarist Jeff Miles, pianist Julian Shore, and bassist Dan Carpel) is so in-the-pocket percussive that the richness of the melodies seems that much more astounding. The Outlaw Collective performs at 8 and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Avenue NW. $22.