Jazz Setlist, Feb. 13-19: Damn Snow
Damn snow messed up my beautifully organized Setlist this week. Now two of these three shows are in conflict with each other. But I'm going to write about them anyway, and you can choose the one that tickles your fancy.
Sunday, Feb. 16 (moved from tonight)
It's fascinating that David Ornette Cherry plays piano. Trumpeter Don Cherry's son was named, obviously, after Ornette Coleman; those two elders were frontline partners in Coleman's revolutionary quartet, which specifically rejected the piano for its chordal function. Taken at face value, David's instrumental choice seems like a reaction to all of that. But it's no such thing: His music is of a piece with his namesake's harmolodic theory, and his father's "multikulti" concept: composed, often infused with electric instruments, borrowing a great deal from world music traditions (especially African and Afro-Caribbean), but also heavily improvised and utilizing its own idiosyncratic language (hell, sometimes inventing its own language in process). And the piano? At Cherry's hands, it becomes an instrument apart. David Ornette Cherry's Organic Roots performs at 8 p.m. at Union Arts DC, 411 New York Avenue NE. $10.
Saturday, Feb. 15 (moved from Friday)
Yes, it's Valentine's Day! And, why, yes, you do want to take someone special out for an intimate, romantic evening of jazz! And Bohemian Caverns has just the master craftswoman for you. That'd be Akua Allrich, the smart songstress with a bottomless reservoir of soul and blues—very possibly the best vocal talent to have come out of D.C. since Shirley Horn. How are you gonna miss that? Allrich will be performing as part of the Caverns' Valentine's Day package, dinner and a show (actually, you can get in for the show alone, or book both the concert and a three-course menu), making for a beautiful evening of beautiful music in a comfy, intimate setting that just happens to be the premiere jazz destination in the District of Columbia. Now that's romance. Akua Allrich performs at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Bohemian Caverns, 2001 11th St. NW. $30-$70.
Sunday, Feb. 16
Some jazz festivals present the icons, and some festivals become icons. Nowhere is this more true than in Newport, Rhode Island, where in 1954 a couple of wealthy socialites put together a two-day musical event featuring scores of the greats of the day—from Louis Armstrong to Gerry Mulligan—that they promised was "The First Annual American Jazz Festival." They made good on that promise, and this year is the Newport Jazz Festival's 60th anniversary. The festival is celebrating with a touring ensemble that features trumpeter Randy Brecker, clarinetist/saxophonist Anat Cohen, guitarist Mark Whitfield, pianist Peter Martin, bassist Larry Grenadier, drummer Clarence Penn, and singer Karrin Allison. (Talk about an all-star lineup.) They're offering a program that runs through the history of music at the Newport Jazz Festival...which means, of course, the history of jazz in general. "Newport Jazz Festival: Now 60" begins at 7 p.m. at the Strathmore Music Center, 5301 Tuckerman Lane in North Bethesda. $19-$57.