Washington's newest jazz club, D.C. Creative Space, had its official opening yesterday with a solo piano recital by Muhal Richard Abrams, one of the Chicago avant-grade jazzmen who have moved to New York in recent months.
The second-floor club (formerly a dentist's office) at 443 7th St. NW (7th and E) is small - it holds about 100 persons - and inexpensively decorated - much like the lofts in Lower Manhattan, where much of the new jazz is being played.
D.C. Creative Space will also house an art gallery, featuring prints and paintings; its first-floor restaurant, open since Oct. 3, serves natural foods, soups and salads.
The club also will serve as a forum for seldom-heard young contemporary jazzmen, mostly on a weekend basis, according to Bill Warrell, one of three owners. It was used for several performances during last month's ill-fated "Two Nights of New Music" festival.
"We want to try to bring in people like McCoy (Tyner), because other clubs are featuring him," explained Warrell. "But we like to bring in people like Jackie McLean, who doesn't play D.C. often."
Warrell has already scheduled two trumpet-percussion duet performances - Lester Bowie and Phil Wilson for Dec. 22-23, and Don Cherry and Ed Blackwell for sometime in January.
"One reason we opened this club was that there wasn't much new art in Washington," said Warrell. "If you want to heart or see new art here, you have to buy a record or look in a book."
Warrell, 24, is a painter, as is one of the performers, 25-year-old co-owner Jim Schaeufelle. The third owner, Byron Washington, 24, is a cook.
Warrell said the restaurant does a brisk lunchtime business from nearby offices; evening business, however, is slow, he adds.
Can they make it on lunchtime trade?
"We expect to," replied Warrell. "Once people find out about us, they'll start coming down this way. If people go to the Dubliner at the train station they'll come here. We weren't looking for the Georgetown clientele or the Capitol Hill clientele."