Jazz Setlist, June 5-11: 3/4 Caverns
Thursday, June 5
How many times have you sat here hoping for the best of Brazil's jazz musicians to someday forge an onstage alliance with the best of D.C.'s jazz musicians? Not many, I'll wager; you probably don't spend a lot of time pitting a city against a whole country of distinct culture and constituent parts. But hey, it's gonna happen anyway! Romero Lubambo, one of the world's greatest guitarists, and Duduka da Fonseca, a dazzling percussionist (the two are partners in the great group Trio Da Paz), are really the headliners on this adventure. It's just that they're working here with the exemplary bassist Tommy Cecil, a master of gorgeous melody on his axe, and vibraphonist Chuck Redd, a master of superb rhythm. Both, of course, are Washingtonians through and through. But don't look for an equal marriage of D.C. and Rio de Janeiro; it's going to be Brazilian jazz, samba, bossa nova, and related sounds, and it's going to be thoroughly superb. Take heed. Romero Lubambo and Duduka da Fonseca perform at 9:30 p.m. at The Mansion at Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike in North Bethesda. $35.
Friday, June 6
The U Street Jazz Jam has been a bit of a nomad recently, but it seems to have found a new and permanent home as of last week. Where? Why, at Bohemian Caverns, which just can't help but get continually more awesome for D.C. jazz. By now, the Friday night jam is surely crystallized as being a fantastic piece of the Washington scene; every week it packs the house wherever it goes, often with young kids you've never heard of who all want to develop some serious chops (and, from the sound of things, are doing quite the job at that). By all reports, the kickoff that was held last week was a tremendous celebration of jazz and the District—and there's more to come. This week, the jam session will be led by a smash D.C. trio of pianist Mark Meadows (a veritable pianist-on-the-rise in our fair city), bassist Ameen Saleem, and drummer Quincy Phillips. It begins at 11:30 p.m. at Bohemian Caverns, 2001 Eleventh Street NW. Free.
Sunday, June 8
Once upon a time, Adegoke Steve and Iqua Colson were scheduled to perform an October 2013 show at Bohemian Caverns. Then, oops! A car crashed through the kitchen of the U Street club, and the show was rescheduled for this weekend. It's as worthy now as it was then. Both members of the fabled Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians avant-garde collective, Steve Colson is a piano player whose music might at first throw you, because it often doesn't sound avant-garde at all, but quite tonal and straight-ahead. Then he'll take a complete curveball trajectory and push into uncompletely unknown sonic territory. (He made his name in David Murray's 1980s octet, which plotted a similar course.) Iqua, his wife, is a vocalist—a unique one, enough so that it's difficult to describe exactly what she does. Suffice to say she is a highly original stylist, and together they are bold musical explorers. To further that point, they've got the powerful backing band of guitarist Kelvyn Bell, bassist Mark Helias, and drummer Pheeroan akLaff. They perform at 7 and 8:30 p.m. at Bohemian Caverns, 2001 Eleventh Street NW. $15 advance, $20 door.
Tuesday, June 10
Allyn Johnson's appearance last month at the CapitalBop DC Jazz Loft was billed as a rare solo appearance; now, it starts to look like the start of a new direction. Johnson has taken over as the artist in residence at Bohemian Caverns for the month of June, and it seems he'll largely be performing solo concerts on those Tuesday night gigs. In fact, says Johnson (the incumbent Artist of the Year in City Paper's prestigious Jazzy Awards), he will be recording his first live, solo piano album there. So if seeing a brilliant pianist, one whose dense playing and lines obviate the need for an ensemble—my latest attempt to describe the sound is "Bud Powell meets Dvorak"—isn't enough to float your boat, then consider going down just to get your applause recorded for posterity. Allyn Johnson performs at 7:30 and 9 p.m. at Bohemian Caverns. $10.