All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Serving jazz worldwide since 1995
All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

District Jazz

October 9, 2013

2013 Thelonious Monk Institute Competition

Read "2013 Thelonious Monk Institute Competition"

By FRANZ A. MATZNER

The saxophone is the most iconic of jazz instruments. Its image is all that is needed to invoke the music's essence, its history intimately entangled with the cultural arc of American music and urban culture. Its masters are the most recognized outside jazz circles and its sound most closely identified with the art form. To many, jazz is defined by the sax and the sax defined by jazz. For that reason, it was fitting that this year's Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Saxophone Competition divested itself of much of its hallmark pageantry, opting instead for a paired back ...

Read More
July 8, 2013

2013 DC Jazz Festival: Washington, DC, June 5-15, 2013

Read "2013 DC Jazz Festival: Washington, DC, June 5-15, 2013"

By FRANZ A. MATZNER

2013 DC Jazz FestivalWashington, DCJune 5-15, 2013Every summer, the DC Jazz Festival shines a spotlight on Washington, D.C.'s expanding music scene, having grown in parallel with the increased number of jazz clubs, venues, and musicians the nation's capital now harbors. The relationship has been mutually reinforcing. The festival created a national brand and, especially in its early years, harnessed the support of major sponsors and city officials behind the mission of celebrating D.C's jazz legacy. In turn, the clubs' bookings and ties to local musicians kept the festival's lineup full and energized.Now ...

Read More
June 27, 2013

Washington, D.C. Reclaims its Role as a Jazz Destination

Read "Washington, D.C. Reclaims its Role as a Jazz Destination"

By PAULA PHILLIPS

"Music is a powerful thing...fresh air for your life. You need jazz to breathe. It's just like oxygen." --Jimmy “Junebug" Jackson Oxygen for the Ears: Living JazzOxygen for the Ears is a 2012 award-winning documentary film depicting the vibrancy of the jazz scene in the nation's capital. Made in three years by German-born astrophysicist Stefan Immler, the 94-minute documentary shows the city's key role in the past, present and future of jazz and is gaining attention for the filmmaker and his adopted city.The film was selected for 16 film festivals in the ...

Read More
February 19, 2013

Akua Allrich at the Howard Theater

Read "Akua Allrich at the Howard Theater"

By FRANZ A. MATZNER

Local star Akua Allrich continued her rapid rise this month performing music from her latest album Uniquely Standard (Self Produced, 2012) at the historic Howard Theater on Washington, DC's U Street.An accomplished vocalist whose vibrant performances and inviting stage presence have built a loyal following and propelled her to the forefront of Washington, DC's main jazz venues, Allrich's rise in many ways parallels the resurgence of Washington, DC as a major jazz city, making her debut at the recently reopened Howard Theater both a fitting and symbolically resonant accomplishment.Just five years ago, Allrich was only beginning ...

Read More
November 6, 2012

Anat Cohen at Kennedy Center Jazz Club

Read "Anat Cohen at Kennedy Center Jazz Club"

By FRANZ A. MATZNER

Anat Cohen has received no shortage of accolades of late and her rise is a testament to her stunning capacities on clarinet and saxophone. She is no stranger to Washington, DC audiences either, packing clubs and concert halls from Bohemian Caverns to the Sixth and I Synagogue. Most recently, Cohen filled the Kennedy Center's Jazz Club, where she helped highlight the modernistic trajectory that pianist Jason Moran is charting for the Center's jazz program as its new artistic director.Featuring works from her latest release, Claroscuro (Anzic, 2012), Cohen's performance was no less superb than previous outings, compelling both ...

Read More
October 23, 2012

2012 Thelonious Monk International Drums Competition

By FRANZ A. MATZNER

It can never be said that the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz does anything halfway. Held annually at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, this year's competition and gala concert was ambitious and extravagant--equal parts a celebration of jazz drumming, a salute to women's past and present contributions to the art form, and a promotion for the Institute's many programs.Lasting well over two hours, the event unfolded like a beautifully orchestrated tapas banquet. The feast covered not only a wide range of musical styles, but also explored, through the speeches and awards, the Monk Institute's multifaceted programs and ...

Read More
July 22, 2012

DC Jazz Festival 2012: In Memoriam Chuck Brown

By FRANZ A. MATZNER

DC Jazz Festival, Washington, DC June 1-10, 2012With the summer heat descending on the nation's capital, the city transforms, its southern personality asserting itself. Ties loosen, linen suits make their first appearance, people mosey instead of dash, and the beats of jazz reverberate from venue after venue as the city welcomes the annual DC Jazz Festival with open arms.Celebrating the vibrant past, present, and future of DC's music scene, the 2012 festival once again put forth an expansive array of music, including everything from big-name vocalists, to big bands, to the more obscure avant-garde. Now in ...

Read More
December 27, 2011

Bohemian Caverns Celebrates 85 Years of Historic Jazz

Read "Bohemian Caverns Celebrates 85 Years of Historic Jazz"

By FRANZ A. MATZNER

Marking its 85th anniversary as a jazz venue, 2011 was a remarkable year for Washington, DC's Bohemian Caverns, solidifying its renewed reputation as DC's premier jazz club and a venue of national significance. The path to this point, however, was neither easy nor guaranteed. The smoky clubs, dark corner joints, impromptu lofts, theaters, noisy dinner clubs, and hidden basement bars of jazz are emblazoned in our collective imagination and provide definition to entire genres of film and literature, conjuring instantly lost eras and evoking a powerful sense of place and meaning for modern audiences to this day. ...

Read More
June 30, 2011

DC Jazz Festival: June 1-13, 2011

Read "DC Jazz Festival: June 1-13, 2011"

By FRANZ A. MATZNER

DC Jazz Festival 2011 Washington, DCJune 1-13, 2011 The DC Jazz Festival's seventh year was defined in equal measure by the event's now distinct combination of local acts and headline guests, spread throughout the city's stages, museums, and local clubs. Unlike many festivals, the DC Jazz Festival has maintained an exclusive focus on jazz music and continues to place a spotlight on the local musicians that now more than ever are converting DC back into a vibrant jazz city. The DC Jazz Festival recipe has come to rely on some stock ingredients--Roy Hargrove and Eddie ...

Read More
June 8, 2011

Pilc-Moutin-Hoenig Trio: Washington, D.C. May 17, 2011

Read "Pilc-Moutin-Hoenig Trio: Washington, D.C. May 17, 2011"

By FRANZ A. MATZNER

Jean-Michel Pilc / Ari Hoenig / François Moutin May 17, 20011 Blues Alley Washington, D.C. Tumultuous, unpredictable, vibrant with variegated rhythms and tempos, shimmering with torrents of sound and spiraling tendrils of color, the Pilc-Moutin-Hoenig Trio's recent performance at Blues Alley proceeded less like an unveiling and more like the exploding of a star--the event emitting a creative shock wave of force, overlapping forms, light, darkness, expanding and contracting space. The resonating artistic experience created by the Pilc-Moutin-Hoenig Trio is not the product of a carefully constructed composition, ...

Read More
May 18, 2011

Vijay Iyer Trio: Washington, DC, April 30, 2011

Read "Vijay Iyer Trio:  Washington, DC, April 30, 2011"

By FRANZ A. MATZNER

Vijay Iyer TrioSixth & I Historic SynagogueWashington, DCApril 30, 2011 Sponsored by the Washington Performing Arts Society, pianist Vijay Iyer's concert placed his innovative trio in the sumptuous setting of Washington, DC's Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. The domed ceilings and intricate décor provided an appropriate backdrop to Iyer's powerfully evocative, enormously creative musical explorations, the serenity and seriousness of the space reflecting the complexity and spiritual clarity of Iyer's music as the repurposing of the building mirrored Iyer's ability to be modern, while maintaining continuity with multiple musical lineages.

Read More
May 2, 2011

Ben Williams: Washington, DC, April 15, 2011

Read "Ben Williams: Washington, DC, April 15, 2011"

By FRANZ A. MATZNER

Ben Williams Quintet Kennedy Center Jazz Club Washington, DC April 15, 2011 Winner of the 2009 Thelonious Monk Competition for bass (the competition focuses on a different instrument each year), innovative young artist Ben Williams brought his quintet to the Kennedy Center Jazz Club for an evening of entertaining, inventive music performed with an infectious sense of fun and youthful exuberance. The concert was all the more appealing for its sense of triumphant homecoming for Williams, a DC native, a feeling reinforced by the band's naturalness and the vocal support from friends and family in ...

Read More
October 29, 2010

New Voices and the American Song Book

Read "New Voices and the American Song Book"

By FRANZ A. MATZNER

Monk Vocal CompetitionKennedy CenterWashington, D.C.October, 2010 One of the premier jazz events of the year, the annual Thelonious Monk competition rarely fails to deliver. Each year the jazz elite gather to celebrate the legacy of Thelonious Monk and to recognize up-and-coming talents of the jazz world via a competition that rotates among instruments. When hosted by the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., an aura of political weight is inevitably added to the evening as Congressmen--and this year, President Barak Obama together with Michelle Obama--affix their names to the list of honoree ...

Read More
June 24, 2010

Mary Lou Williams Festival 2010

By FRANZ A. MATZNER

Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz FestivalKennedy CenterWashington, DCMay 20-22, 2010 In celebration of the 100th anniversary of her birth, this year's Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival was dedicated to the music of its namesake. This focus lent the festival's 15th year at the Kennedy Center a special significance and provided an opportunity to honor the compositions and musical adventurousness of one of jazz's greatest figures, often hailed as the genre's most influential female contributor. Prior to the festival, the Kennedy Center embarked on an ambitious project ...

Read More