Jazz Setlist, March 20-26: Potpourri
Friday, March 21
Legendary guitarist Pat Metheny has said that he is attempting to develop his Unity Band into "a platform that could cover the entire spectrum of things that I've done as a bandleader over the years, under one roof." If you know Metheny's oeuvre, think for a second about what he's saying. The entire spectrum of things he's done includes forays into new age music, hard jazz fusion, avant-garde textural experiments, world music, minimalist classical compositions, and his one-man Orchestrion orchestra, along with absolutely smoking postbop jazz. Can any one quintet reflect all of that, even one with such massive talents as saxophonist Chris Potter, pianist Giulio Carmassi, bassist Ben Williams, and drummer Antonio Sanchez? Well, if their new album Kin (←→) is any indication, they come damn close. The Pat Metheny Unity Band performs at 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. $39-$81.
Saturday, March 22
There's something rather poetic about the way this year's Washington Women in Jazz Festival is concluding. Isabelle De Leon, a 23-year-old drummer, won the WWJF Young Artist Contest last year with an already fully formed (and highly personal) playing style. Perhaps that's why, when asked about this performance, festival boss Amy K. Bormet said, "That was so obvious to everyone who was at the concert last year—that she really had that extra something to make her a compelling voice on stage." She also expressed a desire to have this year's Young Artist contestants (who are competing earlier in the afternoon) catch a glimpse of where they can go from here. (It's surely no coincidence, either, that de Leon's ensemble for the concert includes Integriti Reeves, another great young artist who was this year's opener.) Hence to close with De Leon's trio is to send a message: This is the future of jazz. Isabelle De Leon performs at 6:30 at Wesley United Methodist Church, 5312 Connecticut Ave. NW. $10.
Sunday, March 23
Eri Yamamoto's piano trio sounds like a music box. Not in the sense that it's mechanical or lifeless: What Yamamoto's music has is a kind of carefully calibrated structure, so that even in long lines of melody (solo or improvised) there's the sort of precision—especially in the overall rhythm—that one doesn't expect in a spontaneous musical environment. But as you listen, don't let that seeming perfection obscure the trio's delightful lyricism (which, come to think of it, is so ever-present that it couldn't be obscured if it wanted to), or its unerring blues feel (ditto), even in the darker recesses that they sometimes travel to. And of course there are darker recesses; what else would you expect from a Transparent Productions concert? The Eri Yamamoto Trio performs at 7 and 8:30 p.m. at Bohemian Caverns, 2001 11th St. NW. $15.
Wednesday, March 26
29-year-old bassist Linda Oh has a quality that’s increasingly rare and underrated in young jazz musicians: the confidence to play her bass as though it were a bass. She has a commanding touch and can play her lyrical melodies with the best of them, as witnessed in her work supporting players like Dave Douglas or Fabian Almazan in addition to her burgeoning solo career. But her leadership and musicianship come through best when she’s working the strong supporting lines that her music calls for. Ironically, then, it’s Oh’s willingness to stay in the back of a tune that puts her front and center. That’s the surest sign of a great bassist in the making. The Linda Oh Quartet performs at 7:30 p.m. at Bethesda Blues and Jazz, 7719 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda. $20.