Peter Westbrook

Peter Westbrook

It has been an odd few weeks at the Smithsonian Jazz Café. In spite of a succession of fine performances and packed houses, the management has suddenly decided that the venue is not profitable and announced that it may have to close, possibly as soon as September. It is a puzzling development.

The Café opened six years ago, somewhat incongruously perhaps, in the American Museum of Natural History. With the Café already situated in the building next to the Imax Theater whi

Last year, in a concert review on this site, I wrote "Jazz lovers would do well to check out Imani Winds." Their recent concert performances continue to reinforce this idea. I caught them again recently at the University of Baltimore's Student Center. Again, I should emphasize that this is not a jazz ensemble. It is a classic woodwind quintet performing written music. But their approach, their choice of material, their overall mode of presentation, is going a long way to build bridges bet
As another event to compensate for the postponement of this year's East Coast Jazz Festival, the Fish Middleton Jazz Scholarship Fund (FMJS) organized a President's Day open house in co-operation with the Music Center at Strathmore ( A fine arts complex and concert facility located one-half mile outside the Capital Beltway in North Bethesda, Maryland, Strathmore "provides affordable, accessible, multi-disciplinary arts programming in the Mansion at
Dr. Sais Kamalidiin, Assistant Professor of Flute at Howard University and director of the Flutes of Howard University continues to present his ensemble, with a guest artist, in his annual Flute Fete. Since 2001, the event has featured: Yusef Lateef, Sherry Winston, Frank Wess, David "Fathead" Newman, Dave Valentin, and Harold Jones. This year's Fête was rather special, as the guest artist was celebrating a return to performance after a lengthy lay-off.

James Newton remains slig

Having already presented McCoy Tyner's sextet and the Maria Schneider Orchestra, the 2006/7 jazz concert series at the University of Maryland's Clarice Smith Performance Center has focused on a balance between composition and instrumental performance. The Stefon Harris ensemble which appeared February 11th exemplified that balance as well as anyone could. Harris presented sections from recent commissions and his most recent CD, African Tarantella: Dances With Duke. Working with his
The jazz program has been especially rich at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts this season. As befits a national institution, the center aims to honor jazz masters while also supporting younger musicians and new music. A case in point is the flurry of visitors during the last month.

February 9th, for example, saw bassist/composer Dave Holland bring his new sextet to the Terrace Theater. This ensemble is a mixture of old and new for Holland, with Robin Eubanks a holdover

The Fish Middleton Jazz Scholarship Fund (FMJS) is a non-profit organization that was created in memory of Elmore "Fish" Middleton to continue his vision of the perpetuation of jazz and supporting emerging jazz artists. Its major event is the annual East Coast Jazz Festival that I have reported on in previous years ( This year's event has had to be postponed, however, due to construction at the Doubletree (soon to be Hilton) hotel in Rockvill
As another example of how large scale jazz events can work, The Duke Ellington Jazz Festival enjoyed its second year October 4 - 8 with an even more ambitious program than last year, sponsoring activities that seemed to encompass the whole of the District of Columbia. The more than fifty performances were held in major venues such as the Kennedy Center, the Library of Congress, the National Gallery of Art, the Inter-American Development Bank, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Duke El
The name Hariprasad Charasia may not be well known to jazz lovers but he is virtually a household name in India and in Indian classical music circles world wide. He is best known as the premier performer on the bansuri, or bamboo flute, but he has also written the scores of several very popular Bollywood movies. He has also collaborated with jazz musicians in a number of Indo-jazz fusion projects, most notably with guitarist John McLaughlin. He has also worked with San Francisco Bay Area
The jazz program at the University of Maryland continued as it began this season with quality, as the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra followed the McCoy Tyner Septet into the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. The difficulty in describing any performance by this award-winning ensemble comes from finding superlatives that haven't already been used. Perhaps the best compliment to pay Ms. Schneider's work and her ensemble is that it shows how far jazz has come and what its potential is becoming.