The 2012 Monk Competition winner Jamison Ross, shown in a separate performance, played recently at the KC Jazz Club. Courtesy hardbopjazzjournal.wordpress.com
Performing with his group Joy Ride, the 26-year-old drummer Jamison Ross told tales through his music, sometimes packing multiple narratives into one song. And even when he talked to the audience, there was always an engaging story. Read more>>
Kennedy Center’s new jazz season includes Muhal Richard Abrams, Cassandra Wilson & more
The SFJAZZ Collective, featuring Miguel Zenón, brings its contemporary sound to the Kennedy Center early in the 2014-15 season. Courtesy Kristophe Diaz/artfuse.com
The Kennedy Center’s newly announced 2014-15 jazz season offers a broad but digestible lineup that mixes performers young and old, avant-garde and traditional, in a range of settings. It also steps into new terrain, with two multimedia presentations that blend jazz with film. Read more>>
Sriram Gopal’s Swing District: Jazz and its many intersections
Mike Ladd, pictured, collaborated with the pianist Vijay Iyer to create Holding It Down: The Veterans Dreams Project. Courtesy Marc Millman
This weekend marks the close of INTERSECTIONS, an annual festival held at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. The event features collaborations that break down boundaries between disparate genres and artistic media; jazz has a long history of such cross-pollinations. Read more>>
Library of Congress’s new Max Roach collection sheds light on a crucial musician & activist
Max Roach’s papers were officially added to the Library of Congress’ archives last week. Courtesy last.fm
The Library of Congress recently unveiled its 100,000-item collection of papers, recordings and more from the legendary drummer, bandleader and activist Max Roach. It’s one of the most revealing collections of its kind. Read more>>
Sriram Gopal: Music schools for the enthusiastic amateur … What are my options?
Jeff Antoniuk leads his master class. Courtesy jazzbandmasterclass.com
There are plenty of passionate artists out there who simply don’t want to wade into the uncertainty that comes with a career in jazz. Fortunately, several programs have been established around the area that give semi-professional musicians and serious amateurs a venue to develop further. Read more>>
DeJohnette, Lovano, Spalding and Genovese are the Spring Quartet, jazz’s newest band-to-beat
The Spring Quartet features Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano, Leo Genovese and Esperanza Spalding (clockwise from upper left). Courtesy sagegateshead.com
Esperanza Spalding, Joe Lovano, Jack DeJohnette and Leo Genovese — four of the most talented jazz musicians in the world — recently played in D.C. They are touring as the Spring Quartet, a newly formed band. CapitalBop spoke to three-quarters of that group in anticipation of the show. Read more>>
Catching up with Christie Dashiell, D.C.’s next-generation jazz diva
Christie Dashiell, who became nationally known during NBC’s The Sing-Off, performed a commissioned work recently at Strathmore. John Sanders/CapitalBop
There’s no mistaking the strong but smooth singing of D.C.-based vocalist Christie Dashiell. She’s one of the most notable rising stars in jazz. We spoke to her in anticipation of a show at Strathmore, where she was completing a stint as artist in residence. Read more>>
Guided by heritage, Todd Marcus crafts spacious sounds (LIVE REVIEW)
Todd Marcus, third from left, led his nine-piece Jazz Orchestra at Bohemian Caverns on Sunday. Dawn Whitmore/CapitalBop
Todd Marcus, the acclaimed bass clarinetist, brought his large ensemble and ambitious compositions to Bohemian Caverns. Drawing on his Egyptian roots and the guiding force of his rhythm section, Marcus’s music felt powerful but wide open. Read more>>
A.B. Spellman and others reflect on the legacy of Amiri Baraka, influential poet and jazz historian
Amiri Baraka has left behind a legacy of eloquent poetry and plainspoken demands for a more equitable future. Courtesy David Sasaki/Wikipedia
The poet, jazz critic, activist and playwright Amiri Baraka was a man of letters — which, for him, meant being a man of action. In these two audio interviews, a handful of poets and Baraka protégés explore his life and legacy. Read more>>
Sriram Gopal’s Swing District: Sounding out the world of jazz podcasts
As terrestrial jazz radio has declined, specialized podcasts are offering a different kind of listening experience. Courtesy us.123rf.com
There’s a wide array of jazz podcasts out there, each examining the music from a distinct and personal perspective. Here’s our columnist’s digest, to help you decide which ones might be worth bringing along on your daily commute, or your next road trip. Read more>>
CapitalBop’s top 5 albums of 2013
At a time when just about every musician seems to be putting out his or her own recording, D.C.’s jazz scene yielded a manageable and strikingly high-quality crop. It’s not just the quality but the variety, in terms of sound and perspective, that grabs your attention about these albums.
Read more at the top albums page>>
Kenny Rittenhouse Septet,
New York Suite
Kenny Rittenhouse has developed a reputation as one of the DMV’s most versatile and virtuosic trumpeters, able to bounce between classical music and various sorts of jazz with the poise of a true master. His sophomore album, New York Suite, further exhibits him as a gifted composer, crafting complex lines and harmonies, all the while making great use of his excellent group. Read Luke Stewart’s review
Siné Qua Non, Simple Pleasures
The first thing to note about the debut album from Siné Qua Non is the instrumentation. A drum set, percussion, steel pan and bass, with winds and frequent vocals on top. Those first three fit within the drum family, so this group’s rhythm section is truly an unfettered interplay between drums and bass. Read Luke Stewart’s review
Reginald Cyntje, Love
The trombonist and composer Reginald Cyntje isn’t against didacticism, and he doesn’t have to be. Music creates rare opportunities to deliver serrated messages with a cushion, and that demands conviction. Cyntje’s blog finds him ministering from the pulpit of life, and he has insight. But you worry about Love, a concept album that’s heavy on vocals and filled with abstract-noun song titles (“Faith,” “Determination,” “Peace”). Read Giovanni Russonello’s review
Brian Settles Trio, Folk
One of the more studied saxophonists of the D.C. area, Brian Settles has released an album that feels like a new start – a new beginning – rather than a follow-up to his debut, 2011?s Secret Handshake. Where the preceding record was a strong exploration of various aesthetic and timbral approaches, the newer Folk presents Settles’ music with much more focus and deliberation. Read Luke Stewart’s review
Allyn Johnson & Sonic Sanctuary, The Truth
If you want to get to know a local jazz scene, or a new strain of thinking in the music, look to its pianists. Eighty-eight keys make up an orchestra unto themselves, percussive and complementary and narrative. Pianists are called “professors” because they lead by example and by diplomacy, even when they’re not bandleaders; other players can relate their own ideas to the keyboard, and a good pianist can relate them to each other. Read Giovanni Russonello’s review
Interview | Jason Moran on the Kennedy Center’s new jazz season
Jason Moran is the Kennedy Center’s jazz adviser. Courtesy mpix46/flickr
Recently named jazz advisor Jason Moran is working to expand the center’s audience. Read more>>
Sriram Gopal’s Swing District | ‘Real’ musicians vs. part-time musicians
Joe Herrera, a full-time musician, says he sometimes feels compelled to consider getting a day job.
In his monthly Swing District column, CapitalBop’s Sriram Gopal confronts the perceived differences between full-time musicians and those with day jobs, and argues that both have to make certain sacrifices. Read more>>
Interview | Steve Coleman: An innovator for the ages
Steve Coleman, left, with Jonathan Finlayson.
In this interview, the saxophonist Steve Coleman discusses his anti-genre approach to music, and much more. Read more>>
Documentary film Oxygen for the Ears tells the story of D.C.’s historic jazz scene.
The Smithsonian is reinvigorating its Take 5! series with a focus on famous composers.
Sriram Gopal’s debut Swing District column: The universal benefits of giving jazz a chance.