Jazz Setlist, Sep. 16-22: Bossa Nova, Bassist Novosel
Thursday, Sep. 16
Even after 50 years, there is still controversy about whether Brazilian bossa nova is really "jazz," per se. But the musicians who developed bossa nova certainly had no problem with the association; they were happy to work with Charlie Byrd, Stan Getz, and Gil Evans, and to market themselves stateside under the jazz umbrella. By virtue of D.C. native Byrd, bossa even has local ties; his and Getz's groundbreaking album Jazz Samba was recorded at All Souls Unitarian Church in Columbia Heights. Why, D.C. even has a club called Bossa! It's where you can see Quatro na Bossa, who are not from D.C. but Richmond. Bassist Rusty Farmer, guitarist Kevin Harding, and whoever happens to be on percussion at the time back singer Laura Ann Singh on the classic bossa nova repertoire as well as some originals; unusual for bossa combos, though, the band emphasizes the rhythmic component, resulting in a zesty and surprisingly danceable version of the bossa nova sound that's intoxicating to listen to. Quatro na Bossa performs at 10 p.m. at Bossa, 2463 18th St. NW. $5.
Friday, Sep. 17
Pennsylvanian-born Steve Novosel was actually a trumpet player before he came to D.C. at 21 to join the U.S. Army Band. That's where he found the bass, on which he spent the next half-century. During that time he played with many of the most important and hardest-swinging musicians in the jazz world (Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins), not to mention a huge swath of its major vocal talents (Billy Eckstine, Shirley Horn), and recording over 60 albums, while at the same time carving out a niche in Washington as one of its most adept and distinctive bassists. If you haven't gotten the message yet, you need to see this guy. A good opportunity arises at the legendary Jazz Night at Westminster Presbyterian Church, where Novosel performs with a band of some of his most reliable associates over the years: Alan Houser (trumpet), Bob Balthus(trombone), Knud Jensen (tenor sax), Cotton Kent (piano), and Howard Chichester drums. Jazz Night begins at 6 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian, 4th and I streets SW. $5.
Wednesday, Sep. 22
There was a time when Stephane Grappelli was considered the only violinist in the world who could (ever) play jazz. History has proven otherwise, with a whole family tree of extremely accomplished jazz violinists (one of whom made what is so far the best album of the year), but Grappelli remains the pillar, the father of them all. And Tim Kliphuis, a Dutch player, knows it well; he's created a unique style, but it draws heavily from the "gypsy" foundation that Grappelli and his cohort Django Reinhardt pioneered in Paris in the 1930s. Indeed, Kliphuis, a young player garnering a bold reputation as one of the most interesting violinists of his generation, is paying tribute to Grappelli on the bandstand at 8 and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $24.