Jazz Setlist, August 22-28: Tributes, We’ve Got Tributes
Friday, August 23
Regular readers of Setlist will know that much of the year has been devoted to tributes to Wayne Shorter and his forthcoming 80th birthday. Why is this such a big deal? Well, you must understand that while he's not the only jazz titan still alive, Shorter's legacy runs deeper and wider than almost all of them. He's got a body of compositions, stretching back to the late 1950s, that could singlehandedly keep the music afloat for decades as a totemic set of standards. He was a pioneering figure in the expansion of territory that a small acoustic jazz band could explore—a local musician told me not long ago that the greatest jazz quintet album of all time was Shorter's Speak No Evil, which showed him what jazz was capable of—and a key performer in the fusion movement. And on the cusp of turning 80, Shorter is leading a quartet that still incites controversy in its explorations.
Celebrating a milestone for him just seems appropriate given all that. Well, as it happens Shorter's birthday is this Sunday, and some of the area's most powerful musicians—tenor saxophonist Paul Carr, vibraphonist Warren Wolf, pianist Allyn Johnson, bassist Herman Burney Jr., and drummer Harold Summey—tackle his repertoire, with no particular focus on this or that wing of it, just a good mix of everything, for Jazz Night in Southwest. 6 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 4th and I Streets SW. $5.
Saturday, August 24
You've checked out the D.C. Jazz Lofts every month. You dug their programming at the D.C. Jazz Festival. But you've not yet seen CapitalBop kick up their musical presentations to the level they're attempting this weekend. They are joining forces with Art Whino, The Petworth Jazz Project, and Chris4Life Foundation to host D.C.'s first New Vintage Jazz & Wine Festival. It's a big, big shindig. Along with the wine tasting (15 varieties) and live art, you can see up to seven jazz artists performing live for a seven-hour marathon of music: bassist Tarus Mateen, Kris Funn & Corner Store, the Todd Marcus Quartet, the Christie Dashiell Quartet, the Donvonte McCoy Quartet with Heidi Martin, The Funk Ark, and the headliner, Rafiq Bhatia. Bhatia is a New York-based guitarist (acoustic and electric) and sonic sculptor determined to drive jazz and improvised music into the future in ways yet to be dreamed of. The New Vintage Jazz & Wine Festival takes place at 2 p.m. at the D.C. Fairgrounds, 1299 Half Street SE. $30-$110.
Sunday, August 25
Possessing one of the world's most beautiful smiles, Akua Allrich is even better equipped with one of the world's most formidable musical talents. She is a deeply schooled vocalist, with a sound that's rooted primarily in jazz but crosses genres and international boundaries—even languages—in its breadth. African, Afro-Caribbean, European, and all kinds of American sounds all sweep into her palette. It's an influence she credits to the American Nina Simone and South African Miriam Makeba, two departed singers with similar depth and breadth. They were also soulful, with a crushing intensity, one that Allrich shares (and perhaps even bests). As such she makes it a point each year to do a performance in tribute to those great masters, as she does this weekend. 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Sunday at Bohemian Caverns, 2001 11th St. NW. $20.