Monday, August 27, 2012

Jazzing it up in D.C.

Hi everyone,

Whenever Dad comes to visit, we have a list of Possible Things to Do--browse museum exhibits, watch movies, see the Orioles. Going to jazz clubs is always on the list and, this weekend, we heard more than usual by visiting three different venues:
  • Friday night, the Westminster Presbyterian Church  in Southwest, D.C. showcased local talent paying tribute to Sarah Vaughan. Dad and I decided to check it out for the first time: For only a $5 admission, three sets of jazz are played from 6 to 9 p.m. every Friday night. You can also buy dinner there, which is available on the lower level. Dad and I didn't try the food, but the lively social atmosphere, complete with audience members feeling the urge to dance in the aisles, was a one-of-a-kind experience. 
  • Saturday night, our main attraction was Terence Blanchard's appearance at Blues Alley in Georgetown. Dad and I have seen the trumpeter several times, and each time has been special. He has some Grammys (and other awards, I'm sure), but you can really feel the coolness best when you're watching him and his quintet play together from only a few feet away. (It's especially good after a yummy dinner: At Blues Alley, I recommend  Jerry "The Iceman" Butler's baked salmon.) 
  • Sunday night, we planned to visit our favorite jazz joint, Bohemian Caverns, on U Street. But since Sunday's late-night show was cancelled, we ended up a couple blocks away at Twins Jazz, a place we've heard about but hadn't tried yet. Walk up its stairs and you'll find yourself in a tiny haunt bathed in dim lighting. Its red walls are covered in random photos of jazz greats, such as Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, and Thelonious Monk. Cozy square white-cloth-covered tables line the long room, with the bar at the back and the stage at the front. Dad and I enjoyed an Ethiopian dinner there while listening to the Ostle/Parker Quintet. 

Here's a treat from our weekend (sort of): One of the highlights of Saturday night's show was The Terence Blanchard Quintet's performance of the title song from his album, Choices. While the following 12-minute video is a recording of a performance at a New Orleans concert, you'll hear and see what we did--except for the different drummer. (Terence Blanchard's usual drummer was unavailable Saturday night, but we were perfectly happy with his substitute: He learned all the songs that day and--take my word for it--was blissfully in his own world the entire time.) Enjoy!

Video © The Global Salon: New Orleans/The Green Space NY

Good stuff, yes?

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