Jazz in DC Series at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage

Billy Taylor, right, with Duke Ellington in 1972, is among the musicians to perform as part of the Kennedy Center's Jazz in DC series.
Billy Taylor, right, with Duke Ellington in 1972, is among the musicians to perform as part of the Kennedy Center's Jazz in DC series. (Kennedy Center)
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Friday, November 21, 2008

Since the early 1900s, Washington has had a significant influence on the world of jazz. Besides one of the city's best-known residents, Duke Ellington, the city's clubs have long been a place where jazz evolved.

The Kennedy Center is celebrating the District's rich jazz heritage with Jazz in DC, nine days of concerts, films and talks. There is also an offering for everyone, with the Millennium Stage presenting free shows that chronicle the history of jazz in Washington.

All shows are at the Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW (Metro: Foggy Bottom-GWU, with free shuttles). For tickets and more information, call 202-467-4600 or 800-444-1324 or visit http://www.kennedy-center.org.

"JELLY ROLL IN DC: FROM THE JUNGLE INN TO THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS" Today at 6. Pianist Aaron Diehl plays his interpretations of works by Scott Joplin and Jelly Roll Morton. Morton's local connection includes performances at the Jungle Inn in Shaw and a series of interviews at the Library of Congress in 1938. Millennium Stage. Free

"LIVING IN JAZZ DC WITH DR. BILLY TAYLOR AND FRANK WESS" Saturday at 4. Pianist Billy Taylor and saxophonist and flutist Frank Wess discuss what it was like growing up locally, their musical coming of age and the people and places linked to the jazz community. Terrace Gallery. $15.

"FROM TRUE REFORMER HALL TO THE COTTON CLUB: ELLINGTON'S FORMATIVE YEARS" Saturday at 6. Saxophonist Davey Yarborough leads the New Washingtonians, an 18-piece band, and vocalist Esther Williams in a performance of works by Ellington. Millennium Stage. Free

NNENNA FREELON AND HAROLYN BLACKWELL Saturday at 7:30. The two present "Ellington Voices: Classical to Jazz," a showcase that explains how Ellington's compositions blended European classical traditions, ragtime, African American work songs, blues and spiritual tunes to form the sound he was known for. Terrace Theater. $45.

"DUKE ELLINGTON'S WASHINGTON" DOCUMENTARY Sunday at 4. Hedrick Smith and Stanley Nelson's cinematic blending of music, pictures of the young Duke and the town that nurtured him, and the oral histories of people who knew him. Terrace Gallery. $15.

"DR. BILLY TAYLOR'S BIG BAND BOOK" Sunday at 6. The 10-piece ensemble JAM on U All-Stars and Howard University's a cappella jazz ensemble, Afro Blue, perform popular big-band music. Millennium Stage. Free

"THE HOWARD THEATRE: WASHINGTON'S GREAT BLACK WAY" Monday at 6. Bobby Felder's Capitol All-Stars Jazz Ensemble with Dick Smith, the Legendary Orioles and the Jewels perform a musical history of the theater. Millennium Stage. Free

"THE LAST NIGHT AT THE LINCOLN COLONNADE" Tuesday at 6. the Howard University Jazz Ensemble and vocalist Sharon Clark perform selections from Count Basie, whose band performed at the Lincoln Colonnade. Millennium Stage. Free

"OFFBEAT/LITTLE HARLEM: BEBOP TAUGHT HERE (SEVENTH AND T NW)" Wednesday at 6. Saxophonists George Botts, Paul Carr and Fred Foss, pianist Bob Butta, bass player James King and drummer Winard Harper perform bebop that used to be heard in area clubs including Little Harlem on Seventh Street. Millennium Stage. Free

"ABARTS/THE HOLLYWOOD: HARD BOP HEAVEN (NINTH STREET NW)" Thursday at 6. The Larry Willis Trio and guest saxophonist Buck Hill perform the kind of music that used to be heard in the '50s and '60s in the Ninth and U streets NW area. Millennium Stage. Free

THE JAZZ AMBASSADORS OF THE U.S. ARMY FIELD BAND WITH THE NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA POPS Nov. 28 at 1:30 and 8 and Nov. 29 at 8. The group will perform music by three area jazz legends: Ellington, ragtime composer James Reese Europe and Billy Taylor. Concert Hall. $20-$85.

"BOHEMIAN CAVERNS: FROM THE JFK QUINTET TO THE IN CROWD (U ST. NW)" Nov. 28 at 6. The Young Lions ensemble performs and demonstrates U Street's revitalized club scene. Millennium Stage. Free

"THE SHOWBOAT: CHARLIE BYRD'S CLASSICAL CHAMBER HOT" Nov. 29 at 6. Saxophonist Buck Hill, trombonist Bobby Felder, pianist Dick Morgan, bass player Carroll Dashiell, drummer Tony Martucci and guitarist Nate Najar perform works reminiscent of those played by guitarist Charlie Byrd at the old D.C. Showboat Lounge. Millennium Stage. Free

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