Jazz Setlist, October 13-19: Snap-Crackle-Bop
Friday, October 14
They don't call him "Snap-Crackle" 'cause he loves Rice Krispies. Roy Haynes got his nickname for his startlingly sharp attack on the drums, with a special zeal on the snare (snap) and ride cymbal (crackle). The distinctive sound has netted Roy one of the most eye-popping musical resumes you'll ever see. He had extended stays first in Lester Young's band, then Charlie Parker's, Bud Powell's, and Sarah Vaughan's; important freelance dates with Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins in the '50s, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Oliver Nelson, and Andrew Hill in the '60s, and Gary Burton and Chick Corea sporadically from the '70s through the present; and his own bands since 1954. It's no stretch to call him the greatest and most important living drummer. (He is also responsible for what remains the best jazz performance this writer has ever attended.) At 85, though, he's far from content to rest on those laurels. Instead, Haynes has formed a quartet with some much younger musicians, some of the hottest out there: saxophonist Jaleel Shaw, pianist Martin Bejerano, and bassist David Wong. It's the "Fountain of Youth Band." See why. Roy Haynes and the Fountain of Youth Band perform at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater, 2700 F St. NW. $35.
photo: Skip Bolen
Saturday, October 15
Speaking of lively elder statesmen of the drums, D.C.'s got its very own: Jimmy "Junebug" Jackson. You already know about Junebug if you've so much as stepped through the threshold of HR-57 over the past, oh, decade or so; he's the house drummer, the big fellow with a grin at the ready and a bulldozer full of swing at his fingertips. He's also got a truckload of soul—Jackson's No. 1 gig in his career is the two decades he spent supporting the king of jazz organ, Jimmy Smith. It was there, along with his work with players like McCoy Tyner and George Benson, that Jackson crafted his effortless swing, his funk breaks, his signature Latin shuffle, and his winningly imaginative fills for crash cymbal. Along with accompanying just about every band who hits HR's stage, Jackson is the perennial at the club's thrice-weekly jam sessions. But he also leads his own sets there, as he does this weekend. Jackson performs at 9 p.m. at HR-57, 816 H St. NE. $15.
Tuesday, October 18
There remains a stubborn controversy in jazz about the influence of European music—its extremes best exemplified through writers like Stanley Crouch (who thinks the European tradition is anathema to jazz) and Stuart Nicholson (who thinks the creative spirit of jazz has abandoned America for Europe). But the simple fact is that jazz is indeed thriving in Europe, through this or that filter, and almost nobody in America really knows enough about it to form an educated opinion on any part of the Crouch/Nicholson spectrum. That's especially ridiculous when you consider the abundance of great European jazz musicians who have come to the U.S. to build careers...like French pianist Jean-Michel Pilc and bassist Francois Moutin. These are players whose classical and folk groundings are crystalline within their music (Pilc especially), but who continually find new ways to blend those groundings not only with the deepest veins of America and jazz, but with rock, world, avant-garde, and even splashes of hip-hop. Working in a trio with Philadelphian drummer Ari Hoenig, they create an intoxicating matrix of searingly creative, unique jazz—delivered with a soft edge that's almost uncomfortable in its intimacy. This is especially true on their long collective improvisations, which move with seemingly one mind rarely end up anywhere near where they start, but brush as close to you as a lover's whisper. If it's slightly unsettling, it's also devilishly bold and smart music that suggests Europe and America have a lot more to say and do with each other. Pilc-Moutin-Hoenig perform at 8 and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $25.
Wednesday, October 19
Remember playing Mike Tyson's Punch-Out on the original Nintendo system? If you could get to Tyson, there was one basic strategy to beating him: When he punches, just get the hell out of the way. Which is also the best policy to pursue with Greg Boyer's trombone playing. Boyer, who's been the lead trombonist in Prince's New Power Generation as well as a member of Parliament/Funkadelic and the Maceo Parker band, is both as powerful and as deadly with his horn as Tyson is with his fists—the most walloping trombonist this writer has ever encountered. His turns in the rock and R&B worlds are important to note, because his quartet, the Greg Boyer Peloton, focuses in on the repertoires of those genres as much as, if not more than, on the jazz book. In any given set you're likely to hear a majority of songs by Hendrix, Wonder, and even Foreigner, with perhaps a few Monk or Tin Pan Alley staples. And all of it comes courtesy of Boyer's powerhouse lyricism-on-steroids legato. It's hip, it's stunning, and it's unforgettable. The Greg Boyer Peloton performs at 8 p.m. at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. $25.