Jazz Setlist, Sep. 23-29: Fuller Uber Alles
Friday, Sep. 24
It is an objective, undisputable, unbiased fact that Curtis Fuller is the world's greatest living jazz trombonist. A product of the then-thriving jazz scene of postwar Detroit, he belongs to a troika (along with J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding) that managed to make its instruments work in the bebop language, which was thought too unwieldy for trombone. Fuller is the one who brought it into the grittier world of hard bop, working with pioneering ensembles like Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and the Art Farmer-Benny Golson Jazztet, and memorably contributing to John Coltrane's seminal "Blue Train." But he's also been a leader for over 50 years now, mentoring a number of young musicians on his own and tearing jazz apart with his laid-back but breakneck style. Today he's nearly 80 and playing (if possible) stronger and more beautifully than ever. To see him in concert with his band is a spectacular treat. Curtis Fuller performs at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. at Bohemian Caverns, 2001 11th Street NW. $25.
Saturday, Sep. 25
Jazz musicians have been experimenting with Asian music since at least the 1960s, when Joe Harriott created "Indo-Jazz Fusion." Today you'll find a number of players who work with Indian and Middle Eastern/North African sounds—but only one who combines those with jazz and laptop electronics. That's Ravish Momin, a drummer and multipercussionist who leads the Trio Tarana with violinist Skye Steele and cellist Greg Heffernan—all of whom double on electronics. The blend is unique, and despite its unquestionably exotic lineage, it swings like nobody's business. Still, is anyone surprised to learn that this performance is a presentation of Transparent Productions? Ravish Momin's Trio Tarana performs at 8 p.m. at Joe's Movement Emporium, 3309 Bunker Hill Rd. in Mt. Rainier. $15.
Tuesday, Sep. 28
The cast has changed more often than Law & Order, but the Capital Jazz Band makes a point of keeping up with the D.C. scene—meaning the ensemble incorporates the newest and youngest players around to keep its sound fresh and energetic. The mainstays are multi-reedist Sam Glenn and guitarist Pablo Grabiel, who are also the principal composers. Yup, it's a bit of a surprise considering the rotating lineup, but Capital Jazz Band works primarily with original material, no small feat. The current incarnation of the band, the one that recorded the 2010 CD Add A Beat, features both of the Jolley Brothers, Josh Carr, Eric Wheeler, and Lena Seikaly, all major contributors to Washingtonian jazz. In other words, it's a DC supergroup. See them perform at 7 p.m. at Twins Jazz, 1344 U St.NW. $5.
Wednesday, Sep. 29
We mentioned last week the "gypsy jazz" stylings of the swing era, particularly in the work of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. Enter the band Harmonious Wail, a combo out of Madison, Wisc., that's dedicated to exploring the possibilities of gypsy swing where they left off 70 years ago. For starters, leader Sims Delaney-Potthoff plays the mandolin. How many mandolins are there in any kind of jazz, gypsy or otherwise? Yet it's perfect for the twisty melodic lines and danceable rhythms that Django gave the world. Throw in a guitar (Tom Waselchuk), bass (Matt Rodgers), and a singer (Maggie Delaney-Potthoff, Sims' wife) and the sound hearkens back to prewar Eastern Europe, but also unquestionably to the American midwest of today and yesterday: folk, jazz, and Americana. Harmonious Wail performs at 8 p.m. at The Corner Store, 9th Street and South Carolina Avenue SE. $15 (suggested donation).