Author Archive for Michael J. West

Jazz Setlist, March 6-12: Go See Lewis Nash

Friday, March 7
Yeah, yeah, I know. Both of the Lewis Nash Quintet's shows at the Kennedy Center are sold out. But you know what? Call and check. Stand in line for cancellations at the box office. Sneak the fuck in. (Errr, no, do not sneak the fuck in.) It would be unconscionable not to recommend the [...]

Kennedy Center’s 2014-2015 Jazz Season: Fresher Than It May Appear

When the Kennedy Center first released its jazz schedule for the 2014-2015 season yesterday, my eye, like WaPo's Chris Richards', was immediately caught by the appearance of Muhal Richard Abrams. Pianist and composer Abrams is one of the most important figures in the history of avant-garde jazz (a co-founder and the first president of Chicago's [...]

Jazz Setlist, February 27-March 5: On Greater U Street

Thursday, February 27
There's a multidimensional aspect to theThe Greater U Street Jazz Collective's name. The quintet, populated by veteran D.C. jazz musicians, looks to remember and uphold the legacy of jazz life and culture, and through it the legacy of African-American life and culture, in D.C. U Street has long been the core of that [...]

What to See at the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival (Which Starts Tonight)

The motto for the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival, “Standing Up for Real Jazz,” smacks of rigid definition—the Jazz-as-Ideology school. And admittedly, that is the modus operandi of festival curator Paul Carr within and without the festival. Yet inside the small maze of rooms on the first floor of the Hilton Rockville Hotel, Carr doesn't just wave [...]

Jazz Setlist, Feb. 13-19: Damn Snow

Damn snow messed up my beautifully organized Setlist this week. Now two of these three shows are in conflict with each other. But I'm going to write about them anyway, and you can choose the one that tickles your fancy.
Sunday, Feb. 16 (moved from tonight)
It's fascinating that David Ornette Cherry plays piano. Trumpeter Don Cherry's [...]

Jazz Setlist: Kahil’s Back

Thursday, Feb. 6
Tim Whalen has been kicking it up lately. Always a popular sideman in town—and for very good reason—Whalen has bands that seem to be increasingly visible on the scene. That's especially true of his septet, but Whalen also leads a trimmed down quartet featuring one horn (tenor saxophonist Tedd Baker) and a rhythm [...]

Jazz Setlist: Lori Williams, Albert “Tootie” Heath, and Helen Sung

Thursday, Jan. 30
The only thing better than Lori Williams' velvet voice, expressive and elastic time, and delectable phrasing is the irrepressible joy she communicates with every syllable. Williams simply loves to sing, and it shows. In that sense she's like Ella Fitzgerald, who was always absolutely delighted to be with you. But only in that [...]

Jazz Setlist, January 23-29: Two Nights in the Caves

Friday, Jan. 24
A year ago this week, the jazz world lost a vastly underappreciated giant. Lawrence "Butch" Morris played trumpet and cornet, but his major contribution to the music was, believe it or not, as a conductor. More precisely, it was as the architect of "conduction." Morris formulated an approach to the leadership of an [...]

DC Jazz Festival 2014 Lineup Announced

As it ages, the 2014 DC Jazz Festival is getting shorter: This year, it will run for six days from June 24 to June 29, down from nine days in 2013 and 10 the year before. But it's making the most of the tighter timeframe, according to the lineup the festival announced today.
Last year's one-night [...]

Jazz Setlist, January 16-22: Anthony Pirog, Westminster’s Jazz Night, RH Factor, and Kenny Rittenhouse

Thursday, Jan. 16
The more you hear Anthony Pirog, the more interesting he gets. Perhaps it's because jazz is only one of many intersecting avenues in the music he plays on guitar. In fact, Pirog to a great degree gets called "jazz" only because it's the closest his improvisational, experimental work gets to a genre of [...]

...