To quote Luke Stewart and Giovanni Russonello, “We run CapitalBop.com, a website dedicated to promoting the city’s jazz scene by providing full-press coverage and by putting on concerts. … Since December 2010, we’ve been organizing D.C. Jazz Loft shows to spotlight this city’s vast and varied jazz talent in low-frills, exciting settings.” With respect to the DC Jazz Loft series, “[W]e’re proud to announce our return to the DC Jazz Festival for the second annual D.C. Jazz Loft Series. At three exciting shows next month, we’ll be presenting a tenacious argument for the relevance and power of contemporary jazz, and we'll be doing it at engaging, community-oriented venues." The shows at this year’s Jazz Loft series are:
June 1 // Todd Marcus Jazz Ensemble with D.C.'s Christie Dashiell Quartet, live at the Dunes. Baltimore’s Todd Marcus is among the few who specialize in the bass clarinet and is scheduled to lead his nine-piece ensemble headlining this show. Capital Bop notes that he leads a nine piece ensemble. “Thankfully, both Marcus’s oddball instrumentalism and his offbeat ensemble are astonishingly strong, modern and infectious. Few people improvise with more fervor or write music better than he does.” Opening will be vocalist Christie Dashiell featuring the former member of Howard University’s famed acapella group Afro-Blue. she’ll she’ll lead her own quartet through a blend of original compositions, and covers of jazz and pop songs.
June 2 // Tarbaby (Orrin Evans, Nasheet Waits and Eric Revis) with D.C.'s Kris Funn & Corner Store, live at the Fridge. Tarbaby is a jazz supergroup on a mission. Featuring pianist Orrin Evans (leader of the acclaimed Captain Black Big Band), bassist Eric Revis (a longtime collaborator with Branford Marsalis and a strong bandleader) and drummer Nasheet Waits (who performs with Jason Moran, among other greats), this band is uncompromisingly experimental and unabashedly outspoken. Opening will be bassist Kris Funn & Corner Store. Funn is currently a member of Christian Scott’s touring band, Corner Store, also features drummer Quincy Phillips of the Roy Hargrove Quintet. The band debuted at a jam-packed D.C. Jazz Loft where they “burned the house down, with Funn’s blues-battered bass lines, rocking originals, and dramatically danceable revisions of John Coltrane and Sam Cooke tunes taking center stage.”
June 9 // Jazz Loft MegaFest, feat. Marc Cary's Cosmic Indigenous with Lenny Robinson's Mad Curious and Elijah Jamal Balbed/Tarus Mateen/Lee Pearson II, live at the loft at 629 New York Ave. NW. “The series will culminate in a daylong Jazz Loft MegaFest on Sat., June 9. This won’t be any old concert: From 3 p.m. till 2 a.m., you’ll be immersed in a marketplace of improvised sound, visual art, quality food, drinks and creativity. We’re converting a gorgeous loft space on New York Avenue ( into a pop-up shop, music venue, art gallery, movie theater, and – with assistance from the foodies at the Taste of DC – an eatery and bar, catered by some of the top restaurants in the District.
With respect to Mark Cary, “His latest project, Cosmic Indigenous, throws everything into a pot and turns up the heat to a boil. The quintet is devastatingly danceable, which distracts you from how much creativity is happening onstage: Cary plays keyboard and laptop music, Malian singer and dancer Awa Sangho croons and yowls, two percussionists interweave (Sameer Gupta on tabla and drums, and Daniel Moreno on Latin percussion) and trumpeter Igmar Thomas brings a punchy rhythmic sensitivity to his melodic improvisations.”
Drummer Lenny Robinson is a DC fixture who plays with precision and grace, even at the swiftest tempos – but he’s also attuned to the malleability of a cymbal, or a snare drum. In his trio, Mad Curious, Robinson is joined by two of the greatest musicians in D.C. jazz, saxophone searcher Brian Settles and star bassist Tarus Mateen.
Tenor saxophonist Elijah Jamal Balbed is a young gun who plays every note like he’s got something crucial to prove. He swings hard, and calls up the memory of his forebears in the music such as John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins. He will be accompanied by two veterans of the DC scene, bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Lee Pearson II.
This is quite a series of concerts and more that I highly recommend. Much of what I have taken is from Capital Bop’s own post on this series of shows, http://www.capitalbop.com/2012/04/25/announcing-this-years-d-c-jazz-loft-series-at-the-dc-jazz-fest-marc-cary-tarbaby-much-more/#ChristieDashiell. They have videos of several of the performers on that page. I am looking forward to attending a good portion of the performances at this year’s series. Tickets for the series can be purchased at the Capital Bop website.
Capital Bop is also engaged in a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to help produce this series. As I type this they still need to raise approximately 40% of their $4000 goal. I am one of those who are financially supporting this Kickstarter campaign and I encourage my fellow jazz lovers in the Washington DC area to show their support for the DC Jazz Loft Series, part of this year’s DC Jazz Festival. The Campaign is scheduled to end on May 31 at 11:00PM. Here is the link to the Kickstarter campaign, http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/capitalbop/capitalbops-dc-jazz-loft-series-at-the-2012-dc-jaz.