Arts Desk

CapitalBop Jazz Loft Makes Another Move, or Two

This Sunday, the August edition of CapitalBop's excellent Jazz Loft series takes place at its third venue in a year. Hole in the Sky, the Eckington DIY space better known for its rock shows, hosts the concert featuring alto saxophonist Braxton Cook, bassist Steve Synk and his band pH Balance, and free-jazz ensemble 33 1/3. This, however, is a one-off. Starting in September, the Loft moves permanently to Montserrat House at 9th and U streets NW.

Until February, the loft was being held at Columbia Heights arts venue The Dunes. But a misunderstanding about alcohol screwed up that arrangement last month.

The Jazz Loft spent its first 14 months in the Red Door loft space at Mt. Vernon Square's now-defunct Gold Leaf Studios. At those BYOB performances, it was common to see spectators in their seats, or leaning against the back wall, six-packs in their hands. The Dunes, meanwhile has a bar—a small, unobtrusive bar that's tucked into the back of the L-shaped venue and not frequently advertised.

That led to confusion for one unsuspecting attendee, who reportedly walked into early in the July edition of the Jazz Loft carrying a beer. The evening's bartender saw it and, according to attendee and local musician Elijah Balbed, yanked the beer away from the patron. "What do you think this is?" he asked. "Get the fuck out of my bar!" But that wasn't all: He then went to the stage, stopped the music, and announced that the show was over and everyone should leave immediately. (Several patrons have confirmed this sequence of events; The Dunes' owner, Ora Nwabueze, could not be reached for comment.)

After two concertgoers expressed their displeasure on The Dunes' Yelp page, Nwabueze published an apology there (it has since been removed). Nonetheless, with some attendees and even musicians declaring their intention never to return, the event has put the kibosh on the Jazz Loft at The Dunes for good.

Instead, CapitalBop's co-captains, Gio Russonello and Luke Stewart, spent several weeks looking for a new home, and were able to finalize new arrangements last week. Beginning in September, CapitalBop jazz sets up camp in D.C.'s jazz central: the U Street corridor.

August, however, finds them just around the corner from the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station at 2110 5th St. NE. (That address is for your GPS or Google Mapping convenience—the venue is actually accessed through the alley behind the building.)

And yes, the show is BYOB.

UPDATE, 4:31 p.m.: CapitalBop has a full preview of this weekend's Jazz Loft.

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