Jazz Setlist, June 12-18: MARS 4-Tet, Satoko Fujii, and George Colligan
Friday, June 13
Area saxophonist and jazz superman Jeff Antoniuk, the A of the MARS 4-Tet, says that the band formed upon a shared realization. The jazz scene at large tended to build its repertoire, and its compositional concepts, on the mainstream jazz of the 1940s, '50s, and '60s. But so much great music had happened since then, underappreciated and underutilized. So the MARS 4-Tet set out with the music of Keith Jarrett, Pat Metheny, and the Brecker Brothers. That goes for original compositions as well as covers: the band, all of whom compose, simply build on the hallmarks and innovations of latter-day jazz and pop, as in Antoniuk's Police-echoing "The Blind Watchmaker." It's the title tune from an album that also includes performances of pieces by Jarrett and Led Zeppelin, and it's as cool as it sounds. The MARS 4-Tet perform at 8 and 10 p.m. at Twins Jazz, 1344 U Street NW. $16.
Sunday, June 15
I probably have a good 25 Satoko Fujii albums in my collection, stunningly diverse and dense in their scope and ranging from Japanese folk music to "doom jazz" to big band performances. But here's the kicker: That only covers her discography since about 2007. Fujii, a pianist, composer, arranger, and bandleader, is an insanely prolific artist, with solo, duo, trio, quartet, quintet, and big-band projects from here to who knows where. And each of them has its own concept and musical terrain: Japanese folk music, freeform, orchestral textures, lyrical suites. So what can we infer from Fujii's touring with what she calls her "New Trio," with the conventional instrumentation of bass and drums (Todd Nicholson and Yoshi Shutto, respectively)? Or the appearance of trumpeter Kappa Maki as a special guest? Absolutely nothing. Fujii's music is as unpredictable as the weather...and that's the allure of it. The Satoko Fujii New Trio + 1 performs at 7 and 8:30 p.m. at Bohemian Caverns, 2001 Eleventh Street NW. $15 advance, $20 door.
Wednesday, June 18
Pianist George Colligan is one of the great unsung pianists of our day, as far as the world jazz scene is concerned. But here in D.C., where Colligan (a native of Columbia, Md.) got his professional start, he's still a pretty big deal. Former cohorts like Paul Carr, David Jernigan, Allyn Johnson, and Howard "Kingfish" Franklin know perfectly well how gifted Colligan is. And indeed, he also plays organ, drums, and trumpet, the latter on which he's begun to be featured in drummer Jack DeJohnette's band. Colligan is also a fantastic and very smart composer, with beautiful melodies abounding on his newest CD The Endless Mysteries. (There's also a forthcoming CD, Ask Me Tomorrow.) He's an extraordinary musician, in other words, and you shouldn't miss out on a chance to see and hear him perform with a stellar trio (bassist Eric Wheeler and drummer Warren Wolf). George Colligan performs at 8 and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley, 1017 Wisconsin Avenue NW. $22.