Jazz Setlist, November 1-7: De-Election
Thursday, Nov. 1
Singer Roberta Gambarini is a frequent presence around these parts, a regular part of the D.C. Jazz Festival's lineup and an annual performer at Blues Alley, where she returns this weekend. She is always welcome. A native of Torino, Italy, the lovely Gambarini speaks with an Italian accent, but when she sings there's no trace of it—only crisp, precise articulation of the English lyrics. This isn't to say that an Italian inflection would be a problem, of course; it's to show just how strong her control is during her performances. On top of that, she's all warmth and charm, as she effortlessly connects with her audience regardless of how large it, or the room, might be. That's a difficult thing to accomplish, and it puts Gambarini at the top of her game. Roberta Gambarini performs at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $25.
Sunday, Nov. 4
We've compared vocalist Chad Carter to Kenny "Pancho" Hagood with his velvet-coated croon and deep conception of ballads. But Hagood was pretty much exclusively a balladeer: Carter, though he may sound best on the slow stuff–especially with an orchestra, where his voice blends beautifully into the lushness of the ensemble—is not to be trifled with when he swings, either. It's then that you hear his impeccable rhythm, not to mention his boundless energy for the music. It's important not to overlook Carter, considering the dearth of great male vocalists in jazz in general and in D.C. in particular. He is, in fact, just about the only male jazz singer of real prominence in the District. Gender aside, though, he's a great singer, and it's as simple as that. His new album Let Me Love You is available now on sites like CDBaby, and Chad Carter celebrates it with a release party at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. at Bohemian Caverns, 2001 11th St. NW. $18.
Tuesday, Nov. 6
Normally, Setlist wouldn't highlight the same performer two weeks in a row. In this case, however, an exception is necessary. This, is Election Day—and if nerves are frayed around the country based on this year's bare-knuckler, they're absolutely fried in our fair city. D.C., you need a jazz jam session. Well, back comes Kennedy Center jazz curator Jason Moran to lead you in one. Moran and his Bandwagon (Tarus Mateen on bass, Nasheet Waits on drums) will be bringing the music to all comers—right in the Grand Foyer, so it'll be there for you when you hit the door. Great tuneage is a promise, perhaps filtered through Moran's rhythmic edginess and deep knowledge of jazz history, but it'll also have the great mesh of personalities created by whomever joins in the jam session. The Election Night Jazz Jam begins at 6 p.m. at the Kennedy Center's Grand Foyer, 2700 F St. NW. Free.