Tag Archives: Noble Jolley

Photos | Battle of the Saxes ends in a draw at December’s D.C. Jazz Loft

Guitarist Michelle Webb performs at the D.C. Jazz Loft on Dec. 11. Carlyle V. Smith/CapitalBop

by Giovanni Russonello
Editorial board

It was one of the coldest nights of the month, the sort of evening that shakes you by the scruff of your scarf and reminds you that winter just can’t be denied. But a stalwart showing of D.C. Jazz Loft faithful came anyway, and the sounds they heard sent a warm thrill throughout Red Door. First there was Michelle Webb, whose ambient solo guitar set coated the room in an electric gauze, one possessed of the same expansive frequency as an interstellar radio transmitter. Next came the Jolley Brothers, who – as jazz loft die-hards already knew – can swing and rock and groove the pants off of everything from Chick Corea’s classic “Humpty Dumpty” to their own hot-stepping “Two-Fold.” Drummer Nate and pianist Noble Jolley locked into a natural synchronicity as usual, while preeminent bassist Eric Wheeler — just back from a daytime gig alongside greats Tim Warfield and Cyrus Chestnut — laid a flexible foundation.

Finally, the loft concluded with a fiery Battle of the Saxes featuring the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra’s front line: Brent Birckhead, Sarah Hughes, Elijah Jamal Balbed, Charles Phaneuf and Brad Linde. Whether swinging the blues, giving a mid-tempo rendition of “In a Mellow Tone” or playing a laid-back “Stella By Starlight,” the saxophonists all performed at the top of their game, cutting each other one moment and offering amicable background harmonies the next. Everyone was smiling at the end, pride and saxes intact, so the battle was ruled a draw.

Below is a collection of shots by CapitalBop’s staff photographer, Carlyle V. Smith. If you like what you see, don’t forget that Red Door closes at the end of January, and there will be only a couple more opportunities to catch the action at the loft before it’s forced to relocate. See you in the new year! Continue reading

Weekend in Jazz | 8.5-8.7: Musicians young and old strut their stuff

Young alto saxophonist Herb Scott brings his soulful stylings to the WKP Trio's show at Black Fox Lounge on Saturday. Courtesy Julie Turkewitz

by Giovanni Russonello
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Heavyweight musicians both young and old are out in force this weekend — not only is the famous Freddy Cole (younger brother of Nat King Cole) paying Blues Alley a visit, but local icon Jimmy “Junebug” Jackson is headlining at HR-57 , and the Washington Jazz Ensemble, a 1970s hard-bop outfit, is reuniting for its annual show at Westminster Presbyterian. Then there are the young guns: Noble Jolley and Pete Muldoon are each headlining exciting post-bop dates at Bohemian, and the soulful saxophonist Herb Scott will be a special guest at Black Fox Lounge on Saturday. Find details on all of these shows and more in this week’s edition of “Weekend in Jazz,” our 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, AUGUST 5

cb picks:

  • Washington Jazz Ensemble, Westminster Presbyterian, 6 p.m.
  • Freddy Cole, Blues Alley, 8 & 10 p.m.
  • Noble Jolley Quartet, Bohemian Caverns, 8:30 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Jimmy “Junebug” Jackson Quartet, HR-57, 9 p.m.
  • Antonio Parker, Twins Jazz, 9 & 11 p.m.
  • Donvonte McCoy, 18th Street Lounge, 10:30 p.m.

Alan Wonneberger & co., Jazz in the Garden, 5 p.m. | Alan Wonneberger, a faculty member at the University of Maryland Baltimore College’s music department, will present a double-drummer show. Free. View event on calendar | Jazz in the Garden website

Washington Jazz Ensemble, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6 p.m. | The Washington Jazz Ensemble has been around, in some form or another, since the 1970s. In 1978, the group recorded its only record, an eponymous romp through hard-bop originals and jazz standards that has become something of a lost gem. The group’s membership has changed since then, and the album’s tenor saxophonist Buck Hill, a D.C. legend, won’t be with the band at Westminster Presbyterian tonight. But the group is sure to swing nonetheless, with bandleader Allen Houser on trumpet, Bob Balthus on trombone, Knud Jensen on saxophone, Darius Scott on piano, Paul Hannah on guitar, the great Steve Novosel on bass and Howard Chichester on drums. $5 cover for adults, no cover for attendees under 16, no minimum. View event on calendar | Westminster Presbyterian Church website Continue reading

Musician profile | Jolley Brothers: ‘That ESP thing’

Nate, right, and Noble Jolley, Jr. blend R&B and hip-hop influences into their straight-ahead jazz -- and vise-versa. Kyoko Takenaka/CapitalBop

This is the second of four articles, which will run throughout the next two weeks, profiling the headliners in CapitalBop’s D.C. Jazz Loft Series. The Jolley Brothers will play the series’ second show on Saturday at Red Door in Chinatown.


by Giovanni Russonello and John Cook
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Twin brothers Nate and Noble Jolley, Jr. are known on the D.C. jazz scene as an almost inseparable pair. The two grew up together in the District, then went to college at Baltimore’s Peabody Institute, and now they are one of the most in-demand acts on the local scene. Earlier this year, they released their debut album under the Jolley Brothers moniker, Memoirs Between Brothers.

At the end of the twins’ longest period apart – when Noble, a pianist, studied abroad at the Paris Conservatory in 2007 – Nate came to visit for his brother’s final two weeks there. He arrived at De Gaulle Airport late, having had to unexpectedly switch his connecting flights, and without a working European cell phone. His brother wasn’t at the gate, and he was stranded. So Nate, a drummer, asked himself: “Where would Noble go?” Noble had already posed the same question to himself. Somehow, both of them knew that the other would be not at baggage claim, not at the taxi stand, but by the ticket counters.

“Most people would go to baggage claim, but for some reason I figured Noble wouldn’t,” Nate recalled. The two found each other walking in opposite directions at the ticket area, and cracked up. Noble attributes it to “that ESP thing” that the twins have. Of Nate, he said: “I know how he thinks.”

The same thing happens when they play, the brothers say. “I’ll say to myself, ‘Where do I think Noble’s about to go?’ And we’ll both end up saying, ‘Wow, how did we arrive there?’” Nate said. Continue reading

Album review | The Jolley Brothers’ Memoirs Between Brothers (AUDIO)

The Jolley Brothers have just released a bold debut album. Courtesy Nate Jolley

by Giovanni Russonello
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Things you won’t hear on Memoirs Between Brothers, the refreshing debut album from rising D.C. jazz stars the Jolley Brothers: covers of jazz standards; humorous quoting from famous bebop melodies; and tunes with that old, satisfying hard-bop swing.

What you’ll find instead is a collection of 10 original pieces, nine composed by brothers Nate and Noble Jolley and one by their father, all rooted in jazz’s fundamentals but with various degrees of separation from the bop tradition. As the brothers state in the liner notes, this record was conceived as a way to look back at their first 24 years of life together while paying tribute to their late father, a guitarist who endowed them with a love of music. But it’s ultimately a statement about the need to innovate, to find new meaning in the traditions of the past by seizing and building on what’s valuable in the contemporary. Continue reading

Live review | Jolley Brothers add extra flavor to B. Smith’s

Noble Jolley, right, and Zack Pride play at B. Smith's on Saturday night. Giovanni Russonello/CapitalBop

by Giovanni Russonello
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Jolley Brothers
B. Smith’s
Sat., Nov. 27, 2010

Those who go to B. Smith’s, the upscale eatery in Union Station’s towering East Hall, go to eat. Diners clink away at their plates, converse and treat the place like a glorified family dining room. The soul food is delicious, and it’s the main reason for being there.

So it could just feel like just icing on the cake for there to be a trio of jazz musicians at the front of the room, running through standards with accommodating but commanding aplomb.
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