Weekend in Jazz | 12.23-12.25: Christmas weekend

The Young Lions perform at Bohemian Caverns on Friday and Saturday. Courtesy DCist.com

by Giovanni Russonello
Editorial board

Before Christmas arrives on Sunday, you’ll have a chance to check out a handful of exciting shows from rarely seen local talent. Look to Blues Alley’s Christmas Eve gig featuring post-bop dynamic duo Rodney Richardson and Joe Herrera, or Twins Jazz’s show that night highlighting young gun Aaron Seeber. Both Friday and Saturday, the masterful and multifaceted Young Lions play at Bohemian Caverns. Find details on these performances and many more in this week’s edition of “Weekend in Jazz,” a listing of every D.C. jazz show on our radar. Our favorites have a label, and as always, you can read CapitalBop’s full listings directly at our D.C. jazz calendar, if you’d rather. Happy hunting!

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 23

cb picks:

  • Young Lions, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th Street Lounge, 10:30 p.m.

Greg Lamont, Black Fox Lounge, 6 p.m. | Greg Lamont plays piano and sings loungy renditions of jazz standards. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Black Fox profile

Eric Byrd & the Brother Ray Band, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6 p.m. It’s one of Washington’s greatest weekly traditions: Westminster Presbyterian Church’s “Jazz Night.” And this week, as is often the case, an all-star band of local straight-ahead musicians is set to perform. Pianist Eric Byrd leads the so-called Brother Ray Band here in what’s sure to be a soul- and gospel-heavy jazz celebration. The rest of the band includes leading local saxophonists Paul Carr on tenor and Lyle Link on alto, as well as Chris Watling on baritone sax, Brad Clements on trumpet, Frank McCreary on guitar, Bhagwan Khalsa on bass and Alphonso Young, Jr. on drums. $5 cover for adults, no cover for attendees under 16, no minimum. View event on calendar | Westminster Presbyterian Church website

Jolley Brothers, B. Smith’s, 7 p.m. | The Jolley Brothers, Noble on keyboard and Nate on drums, play thrice a weekend at B. Smith’s, the upscale soul-food restaurant in Union Station’s massive East Hall. The Jolleys, who perform with a bassist, comprise one of D.C.’s most exciting and auspicious acts. With roots in gospel, soul and the modal bop of the 1960s, the brothers (who also compose prolifically) bring some of the most creative elements in the African-American music canon forward into the 21st century, all while stamping it with their own distinctive flavoring. But B. Smith’s is a restaurant first, and the music remains in the background – no matter how expertly played. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | B. Smith’s website

Karen Gray Trio, Sala Thai (Bethesda), 7 p.m.| Commanding vocalist Karen Gray sings laid-back renditions of jazz standards in a drumless trio. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

Triple Double Jazz Band, Sala Thai (U St.), 7 p.m. | Consisting of Joey Whitney on tenor sax, Ed Gallagher on guitar, Alan Pachter on bass and Tom Reed on drums, the Triple Double Jazz Band plays straightforward, straight-ahead versions of jazz standards. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

Night & Day Trio, Sala Thai (Petworth), 7 p.m. | The Night & Day Trio plays traditional, swing-oriented jazz, featuring Renée Tannenbaum on vocals, Mike Suser on piano and vocals and Dennis Johnson on saxophone. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Sala Thai website

YahZarah, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | Neosoul singer YahZarah is a classically trained Duke Ellington High School graduate who has performed with the Roots, Erykah Badu and numerous other stars. In music laden with a heavy backbeat, she projects shimmering and earnest vocals. In this performance, a tribute to Prince, she provides us all with a rare and heavenly blessing: something other than Christmas music. Two separate shows at 8 & 10 p.m. $25 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Julie Hall Quartet, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 8 p.m. | Vocalist Julie Hall passionately projects a swirling, blooming tone, and flavors her renditions of jazz standards with a pregnant tremolo. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Mandarin Oriental Hotel website

Young Lions, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | Bohemian Caverns is an old haunt for the Young Lions. At this point, both the 85-year-old club and 15-year-old group are D.C. jazz institutions. The Young Lions formed when its three members were college students in D.C., and the band began playing weekly at the now-defunct Café Nema. Along the way, the Lions took up a late-night residency at the Bohemian Caverns and achieved D.C. area-wide acclaim for their groove-laden improvisations that tugged on the chain of the jazz tradition, urging it out of its den and on into the present day. The trio covers a wide range of styles, but is especially gripping when dealing in its distinctive hip-hop-meets-bebop. Bassist Kris Funn is a regular sideman for superstar trumpeter Christian Scott, while pianist Allyn Johnson directs the University of the District of Columbia’s Jazz Studies program. When they come together with drummer and bandleader Quincy Phillips, it’s always a thrill. Two separate sets at 8:30 & 10:30. $18 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

Antonio Parker Quartet, HR-57, 9 p.m. | Alto saxophonist Antonio Parker’s playing is swingin’ and soulful, with a bright, aggressive tone and inclinations that bring neo-soul and R&B influences into his otherwise straight-ahead bebop. Parker often pays tribute to John Coltrane with song dedications and covers, but his style on the horn often nods toward one of his personal favorites, the contemporary master Kenny Garrett. $15 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | HR-57 website

Peter Edelman Trio, Columbia Station, 9 p.m. | The stalwart D.C. piano player Peter Edelman every week leads a rotating cast of musicians that often outgrows the title “trio.” No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Columbia Station profile

Jacob Garbus, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m. | The 18-year-old Jacob Garbus is a promising local talent on the tenor saxophone. He performs here with a quintet featuring fellow rising stars on the D.C. scene: Carson Wahl on trumpet, Charlie Sigler on guitar, Blake Meister on bass and Aaron Seeber on drums. Two separate sets at 9 & 11 p.m. $15 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Twins Jazz profile

Donvonte McCoy, 18th St. Lounge, 10:30 p.m. | Arguably the city’s best jazz trumpeter, Donvonte McCoy plays every Friday and Saturday at the hip 18th St. Lounge. He likes to mix in some funk as well during the lounge gig, and he’s liable to inflect a touch of Chuck Brown-esque groove into his combo’s treatment of classic bop tunes by the likes of Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard. After all, the setting is that of a dance club, not a jazz joint – no tables and chairs or hushed applause after every solo. Cover varies ($5-10), no minimum. View event on calendar | 18th St. Lounge profile

DeAndrey Howard’s Collector’s Edition, Utopia, 11 p.m. | Trumpeter DeAndre Howard’s regular engagements at Utopia bring hordes to the restaurant and bar. He and his small group, Collector’s Edition, play standards with a friendly, inviting touch, and they add to the positive vibes already flowing throughout the room — especially when Howard tosses aside the trumpet to sing a spontaneous blues. no cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendar | Utopia profile

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 24

cb picks:

  • Rodney Richardson & Joe Herrera, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Young Lions, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Aaron Seeber Quartet, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m.

Jam Session with Peter Edelman, Columbia Station, 4 p.m.| Pianist Peter Edelman, a constant presence on the D.C. jazz scene for years now, leads an afternoon jam session every Saturday and Sunday. No cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Columbia Station profile

Jolley Brothers, B. Smith’s, 7 p.m. | The Jolley Brothers, Noble on keyboard and Nate on drums, play thrice a weekend at B. Smith’s, the upscale soul-food restaurant in Union Station’s massive East Hall. The Jolleys, who perform with a bassist, comprise one of D.C.’s most exciting and auspicious acts. With roots in gospel, soul and the modal bop of the 1960s, the brothers (who also compose prolifically) bring some of the most creative elements in the African-American music canon forward into the 21st century, all while stamping it with their own distinctive flavoring. But B. Smith’s is a restaurant first, and the music remains in the background – no matter how expertly played. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendarB. Smith’s website

Lena Seikaly & Potomac Jazz Project, Extra Virgin Restaurant, 7:30 p.m. | Vocalist Lena Seikaly sings jazz standards with a confident and playful demeanor, displaying a haziness reminiscent of Esperanza Spalding as well as a deference to traditional greats. The Potomac Jazz Project is a quartet that takes on modern and classic jazz tunes (and even some pop covers) with a showmanly flair, as well as skill. It’s led by bassist Stan Hamrick, and its rotating lineup often features some of D.C.’s best musicians. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendarExtra Virgin’s website

Rodney Richardson & Joe Herrera, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m. | D.C.’s Rodney Richardson and Joe Herrera, two friends and bandmates in the stalwart Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, recently called it quits on a weekly series of shows at Twins called the Sunday Jazz Lounge. And that’s too bad for the local scene, since trumpeter Herrera and guitarist Richardson had built a friendly vibe that put a serious but easygoing focus on the bristling music being created on the bandstand. They’re reunited, once again at the helm of a straight-ahead jazz combo, for this Christmas Eve show. The evening is likely to include a mix of swinging holiday tunes, standards and post-bop originals. Two separate shows at 8 & 10 p.m. $18 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendar | Blues Alley profile

Young Lions, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. | Bohemian Caverns is an old haunt for the Young Lions. At this point, both the 85-year-old club and 15-year-old group are D.C. jazz institutions. The Young Lions formed when its three members were college students in D.C., and the band began playing weekly at the now-defunct Café Nema. Along the way, the Lions took up a late-night residency at the Bohemian Caverns and achieved D.C. area-wide acclaim for their groove-laden improvisations that tugged on the chain of the jazz tradition, urging it out of its den and on into the present day. The trio covers a wide range of styles, but is especially gripping when dealing in its distinctive hip-hop-meets-bebop. Bassist Kris Funn is a regular sideman for superstar trumpeter Christian Scott, while pianist Allyn Johnson directs the University of the District of Columbia’s Jazz Studies program. When they come together with drummer and bandleader Quincy Phillips, it’s always a thrill. Two separate sets at 8:30 & 10:30. $18 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

Aaron Seeber Quartet, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m. | Drummer Aaron Seeber is just 18 years old. He may look it, but he sure doesn’t play like it. The hard-swinging drummer is steeped in the straight-ahead jazz tradition, and he knows how to craft a deep, deft pocket; he’s also informed by post-boppers like Tony Williams, and the top drummers of today. This weekend, the dynamic new face on the D.C. scene plays a Christmas Eve gig supported by three strong young players: Braxton Cook on alto saxophone, Charlie Sigler on guitar and Blake Meister on bass. Two separate sets at 9 & 11 p.m. $15 cover, $10 minimum. View event on calendarTwins Jazz profile

Dee Stone, Black Fox Lounge, 9:15 p.m. | Dee Stone sings soul, blues, jazz and rock. The first set of every performance is usually comprised of jazz standards. No cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendarBlack Fox profile

DeAndrey Howard’s Collector’s Edition, Utopia, 11 p.m. | Trumpeter DeAndre Howard’s regular engagements at Utopia bring hordes to the restaurant and bar. He and his small group, Collector’s Edition, play standards with a friendly, inviting touch, and they add to the positive vibes already flowing throughout the room — especially when Howard tosses aside the trumpet to sing a spontaneous blues. no cover, 1-drink minimum. View event on calendarUtopia profile

The Hang, Bohemian Caverns, midnight | Bohemian Caverns’ late-night jam, The Hang, is hosted by a different band every week of the month. The kitchen remains open until 1 a.m., so there’s a chance to get a late bite without having to traipse to Ben’s Chili Bowl. $7 cover, no minimum. View event on calendar | Bohemian Caverns profile

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 25

Christmas Day! 

cb pick:

  • Millennium Stage’s Christmas Day Jazz Jam, Kennedy Center, 6 p.m.

Millennium Stage’s Christmas Day Jazz Jam, Kennedy Center, 6 p.m. | In the 13th annual edition of this Christmas Day mainstay, a host of D.C.’s great jazz elders will host an open jazz jam at the Kennedy Center’s Millenium Stage. The house band includes vibraphonist Chuck Redd, pianist Robert Redd, bassist James King and drummer Lenny Robinson. No cover, no minimum. view event on calendar | Kennedy Center website

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