Jazz Setlist, Aug. 11-17: Loco for Local! (And Jerry Gonzalez)
Friday, August 12
Rashaan Carter is burning up New York as a busy freelancer (and regular in Wallace Roney's band) with a meaty but rough-hewn sound. But before that, he was a young jazz musician and student growing up in Washington, D.C., and playing jazz as a family affair. Specifically, he was a member of the Carter Jazz Quartet, a tight, mainstream hard-bop combo led by his father, D.C. saxophonist and educator Russell Carter, Sr., and featuring Rashaan and two of his brothers—pianist Roland and drummer Russell Jr. It is ridiculous under the circumstances to discuss their chemistry, but nevertheless it really was a wonder to hear; the brothers, in particular, had a uniquely confident sense of swing considering their age, and often performed separately as a trio. It's been a while since the family, in trio or quartet format, performed onstage together (at least in town)—but this week, the much-loved Jazz Night in Southwest brings them together for a reunion performance, augmented by local trumpeter Douglas Pierce. They play at 6 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 4th and I streets SW. $5.
Saturday, August 13
At the moment, despite the glut of talented artists here, there is only one jazz act in the District that has released three CDs on a nationally distributed record label—and even with the changing music business, that's saying something. It's not hard to see why: Saltman-Knowles, the eponymous group led by pianist Mark Saltman and pianist William Knowles, is a melody outlet, on a deliberate mission to create and perform memorable, hummable tunes. Singable, even, especially when you factor in the beautiful work of vocalist Lori Williams-Chisholm, whose technical chops are exceeded only by her warmth (even when singing wordlessly, as she most frequently does with the band). In addition to their three excellent discs—It's About the Melody, The Return of the Composer, and Yesterday's Man, you can hear Saltman-Knowles at 9 p.m. at HR-57, 816 H St. NE. $15.
Sunday, August 14
It's hard to describe just what happens when Jerry Gonzalez does his Latin jazz thing. He's not more inclined toward the Latin aspect; nor is he more inclined toward the jazz aspect; nor is he straddling some middle ground between the two. No, trumpeter and conga player Gonzalez is deeply, earthily immersed in both sounds at once, so when he and his Fort Apache Band get going it's like listening to the purest, hardest jazz and the purest, hardest Afro-Cuban music simultaneously. Consider for a second just how rare that combination necessarily is: Two styles melded together without either being diluted. In fact Gonzalez was something like the Wynton Marsalis of Latin jazz: Trumpeter Marsalis revived bebop in 1980s New York, and trumpeter Gonzalez revived Afro-Cuban in the same time and place. And like Marsalis, Gonzalez is in the Dizzy Gillespie-Miles Davis tradition on his horn, a sound made all the more wonderful by the rhythmic alchemy he leads. Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band (featuring Dafnis Prieto, a Cuban drummer who's among the most ingenious and skillful on the planet) performs at 8 and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Avenue NW. $25.
Tuesday, August 16
Look, sometimes what your jazz jones demands is a hard-swinging, hearty bit of straightahead jazz, with plenty of blues and a shitload of groove. When that happens, Lyle Link is your man. Link is a popular tenor saxophonist around town, perhaps because his R&B credentials prevent him from ever neglecting to keep the head nodding and the feet stomping at his shows. You barely need to dance; his sax does the dancing for you. He's also a prolific composer in his own right, but has a firm grip on the jazz standard songbook (he's a member of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra), especially if it's got the blues or gospel as a prominent ingredient. He sounds great and drives hard, and it's just about as simple as that. Currently, he's working with alto saxophonist Marty Nau, holding down the Tuesday night shift at Twins. You can see him there at 8 and 10 PM, 1344 U St. NW. $10.