Performing since the 1950s, Charlie Haden is a bass-playing icon. He (along with Ornette Coleman, of course) helped develop free jazz in the 1960s and his signature sound is envied by bassists the world over. Friday at the Kennedy Center (202-467-4600), he brings his "Nocturne" project to the Terrace Theater with Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba. "Nocturne" is a sublime exploration of Cuban and Mexican standards. Also Friday, DJ Renegade delivers a spoken word/jazz performance at Borders (202-466-4999) at 18th and L streets NW. On his recent CD, Renegade used jazz players from the local scene to provide musical backing for his words. He was a runner-up at 1997's National Poetry slam, and you may recall seeing him in the film "Slam."

Young Brit jazz singer Julie Dexter wowed an enthusiastic crowd at Blues Alley in July 2001 during her first tour of the States. The show featured mostly her own compositions, though the standards she did were the highlight of the show: a knockout version of "My Favorite Things" and a reggae-tinged "God Bless the Child" that was way cool. You should catch her return engagement at Blues Alley (202-337-4141) Friday and Saturday. Also Friday and Saturday is the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra with its "Portrait of Julian 'Cannonball' Adderley" at Carmichael Auditorium, National Museum of American History (202-357-2700). Adderley's music was always intriguing, so this salute to the great sax man should be a winner.

Son de Azucar, an all-woman salsa band, is at Ooh La La! (202-785-1177) Saturday. They're part of "Rumba Colombiana" along with Orquesta la Romana. Put on your dancing shoes and check them out. And if you prefer a different beat for your dancing, there's the Winter Dance Party Saturday at Half Moon Bar-B-Que (301-585-1290). It's a tribute to Buddy Holly with J.P. McDermott & Western Bop plus a long list of special guests performing Holly's music. Those tentatively expected to make appearances include Ruthie Logsden, Terence McArdle, Jason Hicks, Dagmar and Echo Canyon.

As a staunch fan of Prince, I'm happy to hear that LoveSexyDC has found a steady club home once again. The group of Prince enthusiasts met monthly at Metro Cafe until it regrettably had to close. Since then they've gathered at various locations but, beginning Sunday, they'll party at the Velvet Lounge (202-462-3213) on a regular basis. So if you appreciate one of the most talented artists ever, join them as DJ Dredd spins.

Delbert McClinton hits the Birchmere (703-549-7500) for shows Monday and Tuesday. Two years ago, his "Nothing Personal" was one of the best albums of the year, and he's a passionate singer who blends blues, soul, rock and country with incredible results.

Keyboardist Rachel Z, who recently wrapped up a stint playing in Peter Gabriel's touring band, returns to acoustic jazz with her trio (featuring bassist Matt Garrison and drummer Bobbie Rae) at Blues Alley (202-337-4141) Wednesday. They'll feature music from her recent "Moon at the Window" CD, which gave jazz treatments to the music of Joni Mitchell.

-- Curt Fields