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Six shows to see during the D.C. Jazz Festival

Brace yourself for 12 days of funky jam sessions, go-go brass bands and swinging Latin jazz shows: The ninth annual D.C. Jazz Festival returns Wednesday with all of the above, plus the Roots, who will rock Kastles Stadium on the Southwest Waterfront as part of the festivities. Check out some of the shows you shouldn't miss:

June 9: Gerald Cleaver’s Black Host

The New York City quintet blends chaotic guitar riffs, frenetic drumming, scratched strings and freestyle piano into sharp, extended sound collages, occasionally drifting into what sounds like a post-punk take on free jazz. Catch the group as part of CapitalBop's edgy festival lineup. 8:30 p.m. at the Fridge.


The Mallorcan singer Buika is a critical darling, and regularly sells out shows. (Photo by Javi Rojo)

June 13: Buika

One needn't understand Spanish to get lost in songbird Buika's culture-crossing tunes. There are echoes of Nina Simone in the Mallorcan singer's anguished ballads and distinctively gravelly voice, hints of flamenco in her arrangements and, when her torch songs take an upbeat turn, Afro-Latin jazz in her rhythms. 8 p.m. at the Howard Theatre.

June 13: Susana Baca

Since Peruvian folk singer Susana Baca's song "Maria Lando" caught the ear of David Byrne and won her an international following, the singer has served as a kind of ambassador for the African-influenced music of her home nation. Expect to hear many of the Creole folk songs she has helped popularize. 8 p.m. at the Howard Theatre.

June 14: The Brubeck Brothers Quartet: Tribute to Dave Brubeck

Festival organizers say the event wouldn't be complete without a tribute to American jazz pianist Dave Brubeck. Brubeck, a Kennedy Center honoree, died in December at age 91. To honor his prolific career, the festival will feature a night of his music performed by the people who knew him best: his children. The Brubeck Brothers Quartet, featuring sons Chris and Dan Brubeck, headlines this tribute to the inventive composer. 8:30 p.m. at the Hamilton.

June 14: Paquito D'Rivera and the PanAmericana Ensemble

Last year, D'Rivera, D.C. Jazz Festival's co-artistic director, enlisted a small orchestra of jazz musicians to transform the works of Mozart, Bach and other classical composers into brisk, blue-note jazz. The nearly three-hour celebration at the Kennedy Center was so successful that D'Rivera is returning with a tweaked concept. This year, his PanAmericana Ensemble explores what Latin classical music -- created by modern Latin composers including Oscar Stagnaro and Diego Urcola -- might sound like in the nimble hands of a jazzman. 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater.

June 15: The Roots

If the running theme of this year's festival is showcasing the incredible diversity of jazz, no show is more likely to prove it than the sunset blowout on the waterfront by the Roots. Brilliant musicians, the group has infused an undeniable jazziness into hip-hop. Afterward, Questlove hits the Howard Theatre for a DJ set. 6 p.m. at Kastles Stadium.

Follow @goingoutguide on Twitter for details on how to win tickets to see the Roots on June 15. 

Lavanya Ramanathan is a features reporter for Style.
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