Veronneau at Blues Alley
Veronneau plays Blues Alley Sept. 16–19 Credit: Jay Keating

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Blues Alley Reopens With Veronneau

Over the last year, rumors about the future of Blues Alley have circulated. Local media outlets reported on the jazz club’s possible relocation or shuttering. But the buzz around closure has disappeared for now. Still situated in Georgetown, the self-described oldest continuously running jazz supper club in the country opens its doors to in-person performances on Sept. 16, after 18 months of closure. Local jazz ensemble Veronneau has the honor of kickstarting the return of live jazz at Blues Alley. The venue stayed afloat over the pandemic by hosting live-streamed concerts from studios at the National Press Club as well as a live summer jazz series for socially distanced audiences at the same location. Blues Alley’s Executive Director Harry Schnipper used the break to make several improvements to the club–sound and video capabilities have been upgraded, the menu modified, and the Alley restaffed. Starting with seven-time WAMMIE winners Veronneau, Blues Alley will present a local act for four nights over each of the next four weeks. Under the direction of vocalist Lynn Veronneau and her guitarist husband Ken Avis, the band covers the gamut of classic jazz, ranging from bossa nova to jazz manouche. The band’s run features special guest violinist Dave Kline and bassist Karine Chapdelaine. Other performers include Kline’s own band, a quartet featuring local stalwarts Michael Bowie (bass), Marshall Keys (sax), Mark Prince (drums), and Federico Pena (keys), as well as an “All Diva Weekend” over Indigenous People’s Day. The club requires proof of vaccination from all patrons and capacity is limited to 70 customers. In an email to City Paper, Schnipper says, “This strategy will allow Blues Alley to test the waters and to see the willingness of the customers to return to indoor performances.” The jazz club reopens Sept. 16, with 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. sets from Veronneau Sept. 16 through Sept. 19, at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. (202) 337-4141. $12.50–$35.