Jazz Setlist, April 21-27: Natives Only
Thursday, April 21
A month shy of her 24th birthday, DC's Andrea Wood has a smallish, wiry frame that can't possibly contain the robust, supple voice she exhibits on her debut CD, Dhyana. Her range is uncanny: She's got flawless rhythm (in terms of the beat and the Portuguese syllables she enunciates) on the bossa tune "Pra Que Discutir Com Madame," a sweet but precise sotto voce on "Someday My Prince Will Come," and a belting joy (that nonetheless retains a certain coo) on "My Favorite Things." At her core is a certain poised softness that elevates her to a glide over the material, without ever losing contact with it. She's an exceptional new DC talent, in short, and she's having a CD release party. Wood performs at 9:30 PM at Bossa, 2463 18th Street NW. $5.
Friday, April 22
If CapitalBop gets a lot of play in this column, it's because CapitalBop is relentless. Giovanni Russonello and his cohorts are hell-bent on giving a jolt to the ever-more-rich DC jazz scene, and their most powerful (and increasingly frequent) tool for doing so is to provide a live showcase for the city's best and most energetic musicians to show off their abilities before the public. Mount Vernon Square's Red Door loft has been their venue of choice since last fall, but this week finds them branching out to one of the newest jazz spots in town: Bayou, the New Orleans-themed restaurant in Foggy Bottom that's adjacent to the former One Step Down jazz club. Local saxophone dynamo and City Paper favorite Elijah Balbed holds court there every weekend with his quintet; this week, Balbed is a member of the free-floating collective CapitalBop has organized as "The U Street All-Stars," in this case an octet that also features trumpeter Joe Herrera, saxophonist Brent Birckhead, guitarist Rodney Richardson, pianist Noble Jolley, bassist Blake Meister, and drummers Nate Jolley and Allen Jones. They hit at 11 PM at Bayou, 2519 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. $5.
Saturday, April 23
Marc Cary has never been content with the jazz sound of his native DC—or, for that matter, of his native America. In fact, the pianist's not content to even play one tradition of jazz at a time. Cary leads the Focus Trio. His bassist, David Ewell, draws on his Chinese heritage in his spatial and harmonic technique; Sameer Gupta, the drummer, doubles on the tabla and also mixes Indian coloration into his traps (and put out an extraordinary album of his own; and Cary himself makes use of his Native American ancestry as well as African-American traditions in his composing and improvising. The effect isn't some bright-colored explosion of multiethnic jazz, mind you. It's just got some more complex structures and more intricate rhythmic interplay from the musicians than your average piano trio. Cary also loves a groove, and will slip in some go-go when you're not expecting it. Marc Cary's Focus Trio performs at 8:30 and 10:30 PM at Bohemian Caverns, 2001 11th Street NW. $22.
Sunday, April 24
Drummer Alison Miller grew up in the D.C. area, graduating from Sherwood High School in Olney before becoming an extremely prolific and diverse player in New York. Just about the only thing Miller doesn't do, in fact, is play it safe. Case in point, her new project The Honey Ear Trio, in which she collaborates with saxophonist Erik Lawrence and bassist Rene Hart. Saxophone trios are all the rage these days, which means the Honey Ear Trio have to subvert the template: Hart uses electronics to manipulate, loop, and otherwise mess around with the sounds he makes on his bass; it's sort of like a sax trio with a bionic appendage. Not that they'd be a terribly conventional band anyway; the forms of the tunes they create, along with their approach to performing on their individual instruments, are as warped and oblong as a penny smashed on the railroad tracks. But no trainwrecks to be had here. The Honey Ear Trio performs at 8 PM at Bossa. $5.