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DC Jazz Festival and CapitalBop Announce 5th Annual DC Jazz Loft Series, featuring Thundercat, Nicole Mitchell and Warren Wolf

Release Date
Monday, April 27, 2015

WASHINGTON, April 27, 2015 CapitalBop returns this June 11-13 with the fifth annual DC Jazz Loft Series at the DC Jazz Festival® (DCJF), featuring a blaze of innovative programming that captures the “now” in jazz. It's all at the Hecht Warehouse on New York Avenue—a pop-up jazz venue for one weekend only.

Superstar bassist and singer Thundercat—whom Rolling Stone calls “the Jazz-Fusion Genius Behind Kendrick Lamar's 'Butterfly'”—will headline on Friday night. A daylong, 50th-anniversary celebration on Saturday will highlight the past and present developments of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), which celebrates its 50th anniversary as one of the world’s most renowned musicians’ collectives. And a concert featuring three outstanding trios on Thursday night will shine a spotlight on Baltimore’s flourishing jazz scene. 

The DC Jazz Loft Series will take place June 11-13. The first night is focused on three unique trios, all led by world-touring musicians based in Baltimore. Gary Thomas—an eminent tenor saxophonist known for his work with Miles Davis, Jack DeJohnette, Pat Metheney, M-Base Collective, and others—will lead an explorative trio. Baltimore-based vibraphonist and Mack Avenue recording artist Warren Wolf (who tours with Christian McBride) will lead a heavy-swinging trio. The night will finish with The Young Lions, one of D.C.’s most tight-knit groups, featuring the Baltimore native Quincy Phillips on drums, Kris Funn on bass, and Allyn Johnson on piano. 

The series’ centerpiece is Friday, June 12, and features a major concert from breakout star Thundercat. Known worldwide for his work with Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus and Erykah Badu, Thundercat may be the most sought-after bassist of our time. He will deliver a performance of funky, danceable music from his two acclaimed solo albums. Opening for Thundercat is Sam Prather’s Groove Orchestra, a nine-piece band that plays deep grooves, harkening back to Fela Kuti and James Brown while also drawing on modern influences like J Dilla.

On Saturday, June 13, a daylong celebration will highlight the continuing legacy of the AACM, a community-based organization in Chicago. Former AACM president Ernest Khabeer Dawkins will lead his 15-piece orchestra in the D.C. premier of “Memory in the Center: an Afro-Jazz Opera,” his wide-ranging suite in tribute to Nelson Mandela. A trio featuring star flutist Nicole Mitchell (also a past president of the organization), cellist (and DC-native) Tomeka Reid and drummer Mike Reed will also perform. The Organix Trio, led by Baltimore-based multi-instrumentalist Jamal Moore—who studied with AACM co-founder Wadada Leo Smith—will open the show. A series of master classes and panel discussions throughout the afternoon will precede the music.

The DC Jazz Loft Series is part of the DCJF’s Jazz in the ‘Hoods, presented by Events DC. CapitalBop has consistently garnered positive press attention for being on the vanguard of jazz presenting in Washington. The organization runs a jazz information website, as well as a live-presenting wing, and The Washington Post has called its editors “Washington’s fastest-climbing jazz bloggers, promoters, movers, shakers and evangelists.” The Washington City Paper writes that CapitalBop began in summer 2010 “as an online portal to the city's jazz scene; in the winter it expanded its reach to producing its own shows, and quickly became an indispensable part of the scene it wanted to tell people about.”

Giovanni Russonello, the organization’s founder and editor-in-chief, said that this year’s fifth annual series at the DC Jazz Festival marks a milestone. “Never before have we presented such an ambitious program,” he said. “It’s a thrill to be able to bring a big band that’s as innovative and culturally relevant as Ernest Dawkins’, and to be able to present a major star like Thundercat. We expect to bring the music to an audience of thousands this year, which is a big thrill for us.”

Originally inspired by the popular late-night musicians’ hangouts at Manhattan lofts in the bebop and free-jazz eras, CapitalBop’s D.C. Jazz Loft concerts draw diverse audiences and portray the breadth and vivacity of Washington’s expanding jazz scene.

“CapitalBop’s D.C. Jazz Loft Series is an integral component of the DC Jazz Festival,” said Sunny Sumter, DCJF Executive Director. “It’s the late-night hang and a fan favorite.”

Series Lineup:

Thursday, June 11 – Hecht Warehouse (1401 New York Ave, NE)
Doors open at 7:00 PM (tickets)
8:00 PM    Trio of Trios featuring Gary Thomas Trio, Warren Wolf Trio and The Young Lions

Friday, June 12 – Hecht Warehouse (1401 New York Ave, NE)
Doors open at 8:30 PM (tickets)
9:30 PM    Sam Prather’s Groove Orchestra
11:00 PM    Thundercat

Saturday, June 13 – Hecht Warehouse (1401 New York Ave, NE)
Doors open at 7:00 PM (tickets)
8:00 PM    Organix Trio
9:30 PM    Nicole Mitchell, Tomeka Reid and Mike Reed
11:00 PM    Ernest Khabeer Dawkins Orchestra: “Memory in the Center, an Afro-Jazz Opera”

Renaissance Hotels is the official hotel sponsor of the 2015 DCJF. For travel discount information, click here.

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