Jazz Setlist, August 29-September 4
Thursday, August 29
If you read Setlist, there's a good chance you also read This Week in Jazz, DCist's rundown written by Sriram Gopal. In which case you may also know that Gopal is a jazz drummer, too, as well as an enthusiastic celebrant of his own Indian heritage. In that spirit, he's the founder of The Fourth Stream, a band that explores the intersection of jazz with the Middle Eastern and Subcontinental musical traditions. Others, too—it's a sound that's constantly in flux, helped by a lineup that is also in flux. Gopal is the sole permanent member, though guitarist Rob Coltun is also a frequent collaborator. And, in the most current iteration, those two are joined by prolific jazz explorers Bobby Muncy (tenor sax) and Kevin Pace (bass) in a free evening of music. The Fourth Stream performs at 6 p.m. at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW. Free.
Friday, August 30
One needn't go to New York or the Caribbean to recruit one of the finest Latin jazz keyboardists in the world. We've got Federico Gonzalez Peña right in our own backyard. Living in Washington for nearly 30 years, Argentinian Peña has done it all: He's worked the go-go scene; traveled the R&B route with Maxwell, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Chaka Khan; played behind singer-songwriter Alana Davis; and jazz players Roy Hargrove, Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, and Miguel Zenon. Obviously, that kind of breadth makes the above characterization of him as a "Latin jazz pianist" unfair: Peña covers the waterfront, and if anything you're most likely to hear him in a funk context. But it's when he's playing Latin rhythms that Peña sounds most gloriously effortless, with slippery, gliding rhythms that ride the tunes like a surfboard at the crest of a wave. Still, you can't be quite sure what you'll hear when Peña performs with his Emergence Quartet (bassist Romeir Mendez, drummer Corey Fonville or Quincy Phillips, and percussionist Alfredo Mojica). The ensemble performs Friday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. at Bohemian Caverns, 2001 11th St. NW. $23.
Saturday, August 31
However much applause Allyn Johnson gets, it's not enough. The D.C. native is a superlative pianist, quite likely the best in town; a dyed-in-the-wool jazz musician who was mentored by the late, great Calvin Jones (and follows in his footsteps as head of the UDC Jazz Studies program). But while Johnson is a tremendous first-call accompanist, his own compositional and bandleading efforts have been less apparent. In 2013, though, he's been doubling down. He's been hard at work on a new recording of his own tunes, with his own trio. And, this weekend, he'll be working on original stuff with a quartet he's taking out for a spin. This includes fellow D.C. jazz stalwarts James King (bass) and Nasar Abadey (drums)—put together these three might be the D.C. rhythm section—and Baltimore alto saxophonist Tim Green, who's making an ever-deepening impression on the national scene. They perform Friday and Saturday nights at Twins, 1344 U St. NW. $15.
Tuesday, September 3
Brad Linde—now here's a man who has his fingers in many pies. He co-directs the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, and plays baritone saxophone in its front lines. He curates jazz programming at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. He's an adjunct professor of music at NOVA. He leads several of his own ensembles, plays as a sideman in several others, and is a collaborator in a number of leaderless, collective projects. Well, add another entry to the list: He's the September artist-in-residence at Bohemian Caverns, where he'll be kicking off with a celebration of his own 34th birthday on Sept. 1. That performance will feature a trio of Linde (playing tenor sax and piano), along with bassist Blake Meister and drummer Tony Martucci. There may, he says, be special guests to boot. Linde performs at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. at Bohemian Caverns. $10.