5 Jazz Concerts You Must See in September

I’ve been doing local gigs for publications through the DMV for almost eight years, so trust me when I say this is one of the best months for live music and jazz in the district. There’s almost too much going on to capture it all, but here are five highlights of our region’s best and best from the musical period.


Nassar Abadey
Drummer Nasar Abadey is a veteran kit master and bandleader in the region. Whether he performs his original and deeply spiritual music or plays jazz standards, there is a certain uplifting energy that emanates from him. He leads a group of some of DC’s finest classic jazz players like saxophonist Lyle Link and bassist Herman Burney, at Westminster Presbyterian Church’s Friday Night Jazz Concert Series, go hard for 23 years now. $10, free for children 16 and under. 6 p.m. Westminster Presbyterian Church: 400 I St. SW., DC; westminsterdc.org/jazz-night-in-dc-schedule

9.3 – 9.4

DC Jazz Fest at the dock
Two days of music in the waning summer heat of the Wharf – what could be better? There’s a huge range here, from the Afrobeat fusion of Vox Sambou and the old-school New York mambo dance big band of the Mambo Legends Orchestra to local luminaries like jazz fusion/go-go pianist Marc Cary and storyteller radiant Heidi Martin. But don’t forget to catch legendary bassist Ron Carter – one of the most prolific sidemen in jazz history – with his trio and modern jazz stalwart Christian McBride’s band Inside Straight (featuring Warren Wolf of Baltimore on vibraphone!). Free – $199. All day. District and transit wharf at The Wharf: 760 Maine Ave SW., DC; dcjazzfest.org // @dcjazzfest


Todd Marcus – Sean Jones Quartet
Here are two of Baltimore’s finest musicians – truly two of the finest musicians on their respective instruments – joining forces for a night of powerful and surely swinging performances. Todd Marcus is the hottest bass clarinetist in jazz today and he can make that rare horn sing softly or pour a torrent of notes into your ears. Sean Jones directs the jazz program at the Peabody Conservatory and plays like one of the masters. $15+. 7 p.m. Takoma Station Tavern: 6914 4th St. NW., DC; takomastation.com // @takomastationtavern


Ambroise Akinmusire
Ambrose Akinmusire is quite simply one of the most famous, beloved and prominent trumpeters in jazz today. The 40-year-old Oakland native performs some of the most beautiful, haunting and thought-provoking music from the jazz mainstream and he frequently moves on to other projects towards the avant-garde world. His music and his presence are still magnetic: listen to his 2011 album When the heart emerges sparkling and you’ll start getting the picture. $25+. 8 p.m. City vineyard: 1350 Okie St. NE. CC ; citywinery.com // @citywinerydc


Kahil El’Zabar & Isaiah Collier: Trane Duo Tribute
All of percussionist Kahil El’Zabar’s music is inspired by a deep sense of spiritual purpose, a mission to uplift and unite human beings. It draws inspiration from the kinds of records – filled with wailing horns, chiming pianos, bells, shakers, chimes and more – that followed John Coltane. supreme love; music with a mystical and religious feeling. Live, El’Zabar is a master percussionist, able to play up to three to four instruments at once. He teams up with Isaiah Collier, a 24-year-old saxophonist who does the same cosmic music, to pay tribute to the feverish music of Coltrane and his drummer Elven Jones. The two sets of the evening – at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. – will each cover a different period of Trane’s career, 1961-1963 for the first and 1964-1966 for the second. If you are looking for a religious experience, here is a great source for it. $20+. 7 p.m. Rhizome DC: 6950 Maple St. NW., DC; rhizomedc.org // @rhizome_dc

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Willie J. Johnson