by Giovanni Russonello
Last month, during our three shows at the DC Jazz Festival, we heard an array of stirring sounds from around the jazz world — star musicians from Los Angeles, Detroit, New York City and even Germany came to headline our D.C. Jazz Loft Series. And from the looks of it, local audiences fell hard for the many different types of expression, from aggressive to soothing to swinging to head-bobbing. (We’re still at work on big multimedia recaps of those shows; check back soon.)
Thing is, we’ve got that same breadth of musical personalities and aesthetics right here on the D.C. scene. Depending on what club you end up in on a given night, you might hear straight-ahead jazz, or a fusion of classical and jazz, or a handful of jazz players jamming on a funk groove. At this Sunday’s D.C. Jazz Loft, we’re going to be listening to a handful of the best bands in the area — all of them very different and all of them riveting performers. Oh, and if you needed more reason to come out, Sunday is Bastille Day; the loft calls the French restaurant Chez Billy its home, so there’s a great little holiday special for those of you who choose to eat at the show (check it out: deluxe moules mariniere and Kronenbourg 1664 Lager for just $12).
Make sure to come out and hear this month’s three acts: the straight-ahead guitarist Josh Bayer, the vital and versatile trombonist Corey Wallace, and the vocalist Heidi Martin, who’s returning after a killer performance at our DC Jazz Festival series to sing a selection of tunes by the great Abbey Lincoln. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the music will run until 11 p.m. As usual, we recommend a $15 cash donation to the musicians. Chez Billy is located at 3815 Georgia Ave. NW. See you on Sunday!
HEIDI MARTIN W/THE SIMON BROTHERS
performing the music of Abbey Lincoln
No vocalist in the latter half of the 20th century left behind a legacy that was as powerfully understated or cohesive as Abbey Lincoln’s. Her compositions wring an empowered self-reflection out of minor harmony, and turn slow tempos into sturdy meditations on spirituality. As far as vocalist-composers go in the District, nobody beats Heidi Martin, whose influences range from Lincoln to Billie Holiday to Joni Mitchell to Phoebe Snow. Martin’s voice ranges from soulful to brooding, and stays percussive and lustrously switched-on at all times. She hits you hard, but always keeps you leaning in, waiting for the next word or breath to fall. Here she’ll appear in an intimate setting — with the Simon Brothers, Todd on piano and Shawn on bass.
COREY WALLACE GROUP
Corey Wallace is the latest musician to start making an impression as an upstart bandleader on the D.C. scene. This young and gifted trombone player pulls together a dedication to classic, swinging jazz, a love for Caribbean and funk rhythms, and a modern sensibility that places him alongside celebrated young trombone experimenters in New York like Corey King and Dana Leong. His Dubtet band has been getting a lot of attention, and has performed in top venues around Baltimore and D.C. Here he appears with a slightly different band, the Corey Wallace Group, playing originals as well as updates of jazz standards.
JOSHUA BAYER TRIO
The guitarist, bassist and composer Joshua Bayer is a musician in residence at American University, where he leads the student jazz ensemble. He’s also a fleet, creative player who has performed with a number of the area’s star musicians, from Gary Thomas to Chris Vadala. At the loft, Bayer will lead a trio featuring Todd Simon on organ and Greg Holloway on drums.