Jazz Setlist, Nov. 4-10: Fin de Cecil
Thursday, Nov. 4
Now, this is something different. D.C. musician Arch Thompson plays the flute, but he's not a flutist—he's a flutologist. And he doesn't do concerts. He does a ministry, Jazz to Mother Earth, whose mission is to educate us about living in harmony with Mother Earth, especially via clean air and water. And he ministers through music, of course! Specifically, his jazz flute sound is a combination of bebop, modal jazz, and Latin, with a hint of funk, and as he plays (with whoever his musical guests might be) nature footage is projected behind him to, in Thompson's words, "allow the audience to visualize the importance of ones connection to every living creature on the planet." Not exactly what you get at your usual jazz gig, but isn't unpredictability part of the point anyway? Arch Thompson ministers "Jazz to Mother Earth" at 9:30 p.m. at Bloombars, 3222 11th St. NW. $10 (suggested donation).
Friday, Nov. 5
Nobody will ever mistake Anat Cohen for any other clarinetist. She's got a full, round tone with a sensitive core that coasts over her accompaniment like a cork bobbing on the waves. Raised in Tel Aviv, Cohen is now the vanguard of a New York-based cluster of Israeli jazz musicians (she owns her own label, Anzic Records), and her home country's mix of European and Middle Eastern folk musics combines with the pan-global fusion that can only come out of The Big Apple to formulate her own eclectic styling, personal to herself and simultaneously a Unified Field Theory of jazz. At present, though, these seasonings are giving flavor to the music of Benny Goodman, whose centennial she celebrates on her recent album Clarinetwork: Live at the Village Vanguard, with performances backed by the all-star ensemble of Mulgrew Miller (piano), Peter Washington (bass), and Lewis Nash (drums). They perform at 7:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater, 2700 F Street NW. $35.
Saturday, Nov. 6
Perhaps you've noticed the recent scarcity on these pages of Setlist favorite Thad Wilson. Well, that's because Wilson's been a fairly scarce figure on the scene recently. The seminal DC trumpeter/bandleader, who has a sweet, sentimental sound that owes a debt to Woody Shaw among others, is a faculty instructor at the GWU Department of Music, for one thing; he's got two small children that need his attention, too. That said, Wilson does play here and there; he's scoring a an old silent film for the Smithsonian (1924's Body and Soul); his big band has shown its face once or twice; and he's popped up leading smaller ensembles at HR-57. That's where he is again, at the head of a quartet that will no doubt shake the walls of the intimate little spot. The Thad Wilson Quartet performs at 9 p.m. at HR-57, 1610 14th St. NW. $15.
Wednesday, Nov. 10
He remains the most controversial jazz musician alive, as even CP commenters suggest: either he's "a godsend" or "sounds like a child set loose on a piano." Both statements are absolutely true. Yet Cecil Taylor, one of the primary architects of avant-garde jazz in the 1950s and '60s, is an absolutely riveting performer. He comes closer to ambushing the keyboard than playing it; he clashes head-on with the eighty-eights with both hands, interspersing it with flank attacks and aerial dive-bombs. (This after the 81-year-old has mellowed with age.) The result is noisy, confrontational, bizarre...and hypnotic. Even people who hate every note of it profess that they're unable to take their eyes off the pianist. Frankly, you may not even be sure that you're experiencing music—and you certainly won't be the first to say so. What you will unquestionably experience, though, is something entirely unique. Cecil Taylor gives a solo performance at 7:30 p.m. the Embassy of France (La Maison Française), 4101 Reservoir Road, NW. $45.