Arts Desk

DC Jazz Festival: Sax at the Hamilton

Antonio Hart and Jimmy Heath

The lineup tonight at the DC Jazz Festival's downtown hub The Hamilton offers an interesting profile of a particular stylistic approach to the saxophone. Yes, Antonio Hart is an alto player, and Jimmy Heath is a tenor man. But both come from similar backgrounds: They grew up in Baltimore and Philadelphia (i.e., worn-down, industrial mid-Atlantic cities with inviting nicknames and goofy accents). Perhaps it's as a result of that that they share a propulsive, brute-strength sax sound with a hint of grit on the bottom. Hart's is the more aggressive of the two, mind you. He's a soul shouter, with a vinegary tone that yowls mightily and practically throws itself out of the bell of his horn. Heath, on the other hand, has a dry, tart sound that emerges with staccato pops but stays focused on melodic licks (Heath being an accomplished and important composer). But the bedrock of their sounds is the same: You might call it "the swagger of the street." Antonio Hart's Organ Trio (which is actually a quartet—go figure) and the Jimmy Heath Quintet perform at 7:30 p.m. at The Hamilton, 14th and F Streets NW. $27.50-$38.

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