NYU Washington, DC, CapitalBop, and the DC Jazz Festival hosted the closing concert of the 8th consecutive DC Jazz Loft Series at the DC JazzFest on Sunday, June 10.
For three nights during this weekend in June, the DC Jazz Festival returned with a blast of today’s most exciting ensembles, coupling them with a handful of D.C.’s finest musicians.
In 2018, the DC Jazz Festival was proud to present these concerts at three different venues, including NYU Washington, DC, which were all carefully chosen to accentuate the vibe and mood of the music. Things kicked off on Friday, June 8, with the breakout star Jaimie Branch and Fly or Die, alongside the up-and-coming futuristic songstress OG Lullabies. On Saturday the DC Jazz Festival took on historic U Street, where Local 16 opened its doors for an intimate concert with the innovative, widely beloved guitarist Jeff Parker and his heavyweight quartet, featuring drummer Makaya McCraven. The ubiquitous D.C. pianist Hope Udobi presented his new ensemble to open the night. Earlier in the evening there was a chill vibe session hosted by DJ John Murph.
On Sunday here at NYU Washington, DC the legendary Oliver Lake Big Band performed on the timely occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Artists’ Group (BAG) in 1968 in St. Louis. Mr. Lake, among the most prominent alto saxophonists in music since the 1970s, was a founder and seminal member of B.A.G., an influential artist-led organization. Opening was the thrilling D.C. cellist/composer Janel Leppin and her Ensemble Volcanic Ash.
Janel Leppin has come to be known as one of the most exciting performers in the D.C. area, and her group Volcanic Ash is perhaps her boldest expression, an expansion of her starkly affecting music for a large ensemble.
Oliver Lake is one of the most widely respected musicians in the world today. He was a founding member of the influential Black Artists’ Group (BAG) in the late 1960s and early ’70s. Since then he has forged a body of work that firmly cements his legacy as a true master of the music. His remarkable career encompasses a central role in the World Saxophone Quartet, a constant stream of remarkable solo recordings and performances, and continuing explorations as a composer, improviser, poet and visual artist. Probably his most ambitious musical project is his Big Band, featuring a handful of the leading improvisers of our time — including the saxophonist Darius Jones and the trumpeter Josh Evans.