John Kocur at Blues Alley Monday, January 10

These days, John Kocur’s steadiest gig is not in the clubs but in the classroom, teaching music at Northern Virginia Community College and directing the school’s repertory jazz ensemble. But when he does find time to pick up his alto saxophone and hit the bandstand, Kocur remains one of the D.C. scene’s best musicians. He’s got a big, slippery sound and a love of melody that makes his solos joyous and his compositions smart and exciting. Though Kocur’s educational endeavors occupy most of his time these days, he hasn’t abandoned his writing: He’s got a brand new crop of compositions, and he’s been woodshedding them with his quartet to prep them for performance in the new year. Who says teaching is for those who can’t do?

THE JOHN KOCUR QUARTET PERFORMS AT 8 AND 10 P.M. AT BLUES ALLEY, 1073 WISCONSIN AVE. NW. $20. (202) 337-4141.

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