Category Archives: Music

All That Jazz at Alice’s Jazz and Cultural Society

Outdoor murals set the scene for the cool vibes inside.

Alice’s Jazz and Cultural Society, which has its second anniversary this month, certainly isn’t shy about the music it celebrates.

Right from the street, striking murals of jazz musicians lead you toward an unassuming front door. Step through that portal on a typical Wednesday or Sunday evening, and you’ll find yourself in one of Brookland’s coolest little haunts.

Inside, rustic brick and plaster walls are decorated with photographs of jazz musicians, framed prints of jazz-themed artwork, and African masks and artifacts. A collection of tables and chairs line up in front of the main stage, where from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., local and visiting musicians play everything from Cuban jazz to blues to neo-soul.

JACS celebrates jazz musicians of all generations.

Visit midway through a set, as I did several times recently, and you’ll be pleasantly shocked by the blast of trumpet, the cool tinkling of piano keys, the heartbeat thrum of a guitar, the rumble of drums. It’s a unique sensation all the more precious for being right in our own backyard.

While the ambiance is leisurely, it should be noted this isn’t the kind of jazz you zone out too. There’s nothing smooth or quiet about the music here at Alice’s Jazz and Cultural Society. This is jazz that holds your heart in its palms, that excites you, that moves you. It’s impulsive, scattered, free-form.

Artistic director DeAndrey Howard has another, simpler way of putting it. His first words at the start of a recent show say it all: “Jazz, jazz, jazz.”

Jazz, and its historical roots, are everywhere you look.

The brainchild of Howard and Dr. Alice Jameson, Alice’s Jazz and Cultural Society, a 501(c) nonprofit organization, is about more than just great jazz performances. It’s also about jazz education, about sharing the music with different generations of listeners and performers. During two shows I attended, the room was filled with people of all ages and backgrounds, some alone, some in groups, everyone looking straight up at the stage in the dim lights, marveling at these cats working their musical magic.

During breaks in the sets, people chat with one another or with musicians. There’s also time for guests to grab a meal from a local caterer serving dinners on-site. Non-alcoholic beverages and snacks are available throughout the evening.

In addition to serving as a cultural center for jazz, JACS also hosts other events, including lectures, spoken word performances, and writer’s groups. The building itself is available to rent for parties and special events.

A spoken-word performance piece celebrating the spirit of jazz

Coltrane. Ellington. Davis. Titans of jazz music, all of them. And all of them resurrected – along with other voices just waiting to be discovered – twice a week at Alice’s Jazz and Cultural Society.

So the next time you pass by those vibrant jazz murals on 12th Street between Franklin and Girard and you hear that cymbal crash or trumpet call, do yourself a favor: Go inside and listen closer.

Alice’s Jazz and Cultural Society is located at 2813 12th Street NE. Open on Wednesdays and Fridays. For a list of upcoming performances, visit jazzandculturalsociety.com. Cover charge is $5.00 (some events are free).

Meet Force of Habit, A Band Led By Nuns At Catholic University

This story came out a while ago, but we thought readers who missed it would enjoy this lighthearted article from the Washington Post about Force of Habit, a band led by nuns who live and study at Catholic University. Along with religious music the band plays jazz standards. Here is a clip.

From the article:

The sisters, and those who know them, note that the band is part of a larger mission — to be a presence on the campus, connect with other students, and share and demonstrate their faith. It also serves as a reminder of what makes Catholic, the Vatican’s university in the United States, unique.

You can check out another video of a Force of Habit performance here.

Bring Your Vinyl To Saturday’s Farmers Market For Neighborhood Record Day

We thought music loving neighbors would be interested in Neighborhood Record Day coming to this Saturday’s farmer’s market at the Arts Walk. From their Facebook post:

Have some old (or new!) LPs lying around the house? Bring your favorites out to market this weekend – we’ll have a turntable and speakers set up to keep the tunes goin’. If you want to bring out more of the collection – this is a swap too!

Smith Public Trust’s ‘Brookland Zoo’ Event Combines Local Brew And Hip Hop

We thought Brookland beer and music lovers would be interested in this event which combines the two, Thursday March 9th from 7 – 11pm at Smith Public Trust. Entry to the event, which features beer from DC Brau, 3 Stars and Atlas Brew Works,  is free with an RSVP.  DJ Jahsonic will be spinning tunes from the  golden-era hip-hop. From the event page:

DJ JAHSONIC
FLASH FREQUENCY
EL LAMBERT
+ THE EXPERIENCE

3 STARS BREWING CO.
ATLAS BREW WORKS
DC BRAU BREWING CO.

THE GOLDEN AGE OF #DCBREWS MEETS THE GOLDEN AGE OF HIP HOP


Smith Public Trust is located at 3514 12th Street NE.

RIA Porchfest Returns – Save The Date And Open Call For Performers

Porch Fest is an annual event organized by the good folks at Rhode Island Ave NE Main Street. The event transforms neighborhood porches and stoops into stages for an afternoon of free performances and community based fun. This year’s Porch Fest will be taking place Saturday April 15 from 2-6 pm . If  you are, or know of any performers, they are currently lining up participants. From the open call page, where performers can find application details:

We are seeking musicians + singers of all genres, dancers, poets + spoken word artists, etc. to perform at this lively, well-attended annual event.

Free CUA Symphony Orchestra Concert Featuring Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto

We thought Brookland music lovers would be interested in this free concert featuring Anthony McGill, principal clarinet New York Philharmonic performing Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto. The concert will take place Monday, February 27 from 7:30 to 10:00 PM at
Ward Recital Hall . The event is free but tickets are required, limit 4 per person. Reserve yours here.

Free Live Music, The Petty Indulgences, Friday At Smith Public Trust

Why not step out and enjoy a free rock show in the neighborhood? The DC-based band The Petty Indulgences will be performing at Smith Public Trust this Friday. From the event page:

You LOVE live music. We KNOW you do.
We MAKE live music. You KNOW we do.
Are we gonna rock Smith Public Trust with live music on Friday, February 17th at 9 pm? YOU KNOW WE WILL!

Smith Public Trust is located at 3514 12th Street NE.

Annual Christmas Concert for Charity This Friday

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception will be having it’s annual Christmas concert for Charity on Friday night December 2nd at 7:30 PM in the Great Upper Church. The concert, a longstanding neighborhood tradition in its 27th year, will feature the Choir of the Basilica and Catholic U’s Benjamin T. Rome School of Music Chorus and Symphony Orchestra. Sounds like a fantastic concert!  Check out more information here. The Basilica is located at Michigan Ave and Harewood Rd. NE.

JACS One Year Anniversary Concert Wednesday

JACSIt’shard to believe Brookland’s Jazz and Cultural Society (JACS) is turning one year old. Recently they were awarded Best New Jazz Venue from the Washington City Paper and have been getting steady great reviews since they opened.  When we  first caught up with JACS owner DeAndrey Howard two summers ago,  as he was making plans to open JACS, we knew it would evolve into a great neighborhood-focused destination. If you haven’t had the chance to check out this neighborhood venue, their One Year Anniversary Concert would be a great time to do so. From the event page:

The Jazz And Cultural Society is happy to celebrate their ONE YEAR Anniversary THIS Wednesday, May 25th 2016.

6 until 9 pm
$5 cover, cash

Please join TEAM JACS for this special celebration commemorating this important milestone of Jazz and culture in the Brookland/Rhode Island Avenue neighborhood.

Wednesday, May 25th
6 until 9 pm
$5 cash, all ages welcome! 12 and under are free! Bring your friends and family to celebrate.

Bob Butta-piano
Herman Burney-bass
Lenny Robinson-drums
& friends!

The Jazz And Cultural Society sells catered meals. Menus and prices vary. Snacks and beverages for $1 a piece. No alcohol allowed. Please support a local catering company and refrain from bringing outside food and drinks into JACS

JACS is located 2813 12th street NE in between Rhode Island Avenue and Brookland Metro Stations, near bus lines and there is street parking.