Jazz Setlist, April 12-18: JAM Jams
That's right, Washington, it's Jazz Appreciation Month! Now get out there and appreciate some jazz!
Thursday, April 12
The first thing you'll likely notice about Hiromi Uehara, who goes by just her first name when performing, is that she upends the ongoing jazz-dress-code debate. But if you're doing it right—you know, listening—the second thing you'll notice is that the 33-year-old piano players has chops to beat all hell. She's not only got high velocity, but more importantly the ability to think at high velocity. It makes fusion, her milieu of choice, a perfect fit for her. And don't be fooled by her use of a trio in the aptly named Hiromi Trio Project: This is high-octane fusion, with Hiromi using a synthesizer along with her baby grand, as well as employing nimble electric bassist Anthony Jackson and propulsive rock drummer Simon Phillips. The music certainly swings, but it also attacks, with the zeal of a Jerry Lee Lewis, and sweeps you off your feet without a chance to return fire. Yowza. The Hiromi Trio Project performs at 8 and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $45.
Friday, April 13
The music Endangered Blood plays is melodic and exclusively, almost emphatically, acoustic. The latter is easy to forget when that music knocks you out of your chair with the force of raw, over-amped rock & roll. Not everything they play is so sabre-rattling, of course; the quartet led by tenor saxophonist Chris Speed and drummer Jim Black (also featuring bassist Trevor Dunn and alto saxophonist/bass clarinetist Oscar Noriega) can do meditative, too, even if Black’s manic, freeform rhythms still ward off outright calm. Running through these contrasting moods, however, is the same pugilistic attitude that you find in punk: An unspoken but unmistakable resolve that just because this music is complex and avant-garde doesn’t mean it won’t smack you in the gut. Wear a chest protector. Endangered Blood performs with Noveller and the DC Improvisers Collective at 8 p.m. at Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. $25
Saturday, April 14
The question is not whether a player is cantankerous; it's whether or not they've earned the right to be. Now, Barry Harris is nothing if not cantankerous. The 82-year-old pianist is a hardliner, a bebop ideologue who dictates a rigid adherence to the tradition delineated by his idols Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, and (his most apparent role model) Bud Powell. As a performer, as a bandleader, as a listener, and even as a teacher, he tolerates nothing else. So has he earned it? Without doubt. Harris practices what he preaches—he is an absolute master of the craft, one of the last survivors of the generation for whom bebop was the be-all and end-all of jazz and music in general, and every note he plays speaks of the devotion of his life to the music he loves. When you embody bebop inside and out, you can say whatever you want about it. The Barry Harris Trio performs at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. at Bohemian Caverns, 2001 11th St. NW. $20.
Photo: Roger Humbert.
Sunday, April 15
Not long ago, Michael Bowie—possibly the finest of DC's many outstanding bass players—found himself on a new creative path. He was writing new music that had traditional jazz elements, but veered away from your typical structures and into the longer, less restrictive forms and shifting moods of classical music (and Spanish guitar music in particular). Seeking a performance outlet for his work, he enlisted steelpan drummer Victor Provost, saxophonist and flutist Lyle Link, drummer Mark Prince, and percussionist Sam Turner. The group's called Sine Qua Non, and Bowie thinks of it as "classical music meets world rhythms." It's a new sonic adventure, one undertaken by five of the best musicians our area has to offer, and it's brimming with creative potential. Sine Qua Non performs at 1 p.m. at Cedar Hill (the Frederick Douglass House), 1411 W St. SE. Free.