The Brooklyn-born pianist Randy Weston was reared in blues and gospel, grew up with some of bebop’s revolutionaries, and as an adult began exploring musical traditions from all across the African continent—from Somalia to Nigeria to Morocco. His vision manages to assimilate all of those sources into an insoluble whole, equally able to interact with a Harlem big band or the Master Musicians of Jajouka. Weston’s music encompasses many musical traditions and also many human experiences: His sound can be dark or joyful, gnarled or straightforward, folksy or erudite—sometimes all at once. The only two things you’re sure to encounter at a Weston concert are the fierce but complex rhythm he generates with his percussive piano style and the profound emotional impact that explodes out of every performance, no matter what he plays. Weston’s African Rhythms Trio performs at 8 P.M. and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $30.
It’s tempting to call Nasar Abadey a “drummer, composer, and mystic”—but the distinction would be false. Certainly Abadey doesn’t recognize it. The District’s dominant jazz drummer, who came of age on the Buffalo jazz scene, calls his music “Multi-D”—meaning that it moves “in multiple directions, and also in and out of multiple dimensions at the same time.” It’s also some of D.C.’s most consistently interesting and proficient jazz, and profoundly spiritual—not bad on the eve of All Souls’ Day. His band, Supernova (a name that extends to formats from trio to big band) makes a rare appearance this weekend at 9 and 11 p.m. Bohemian Caverns, 2001 11th Street NW. $15 advance, $18 door.
The foremost qualities of jazz vocalist Gretchen Parlato’s artistry are her breathy gentleness and sensuality—she doesn’t sing so much as insinuate. Throughout her latest, In a Dream, she exhibits a supple, nuanced airiness that puts the disc leagues ahead of the year’s other vocal jazz recordings. Om fact, Parlato, a past winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, is poised to become a major star – she’s made the first-round voting in three 2009 Grammy categories, including Best New Artist and Album of the Year for In A Dream. See why on Tuesday evening at Blues Alley, with sets at 8 and 10 p.m.
Bossa, in Adams Morgan, has established itself as perhaps the most adventurous music venue in Washington. It’s predisposed towards the various forms of Latin music, but in fact the bar and Italian bistro serves up music of all varieties and all nations: ska, indie rock, avant-garde, house, even exotica. On Wednesday, Bossa hosts an evening of experimental jazz. On the bill are Peeping Tom, a Swedish/French trio who play bebop standards by Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie…without the boundaries; New Loft, a trio from Richmond who proudly include among their instrumentation “PVC tubing” and “things”; and our town’s own DC Improvisers Collective (DCIC), whose completely improvised music incorporates rock and classical in addition to jazz. All this for $7!