For those unfamiliar with the venue, it’s reminiscent of Greenwich Village in the 1960s – the era of Mad Men. Walking down a sketchy alley on I St NW between 4th and 5th, you enter through a crudely painted door, revealing nothing but a rickety spiral staircase. You hesitantly ascend the staircase, walk down a dimly-lit grungy hallway following directions found on crumpled fliers stapled to the wall, and…
…you’ve arrived at a secret jazz loft, eclectically decorated with upside-down umbrellas, mannequin torsos, and other fun knick-knacks. A $5 suggested cover that goes solely to the artists. You can bring your own food and drinks.
Walking up the very narrow stairs reveals several old couches accenting the upstairs loft’s clutter. But down below where the action is, the cadre of young hipsters and older jazz-ites pleasantly co-exist in close quarters.
The intimate venue was packed to capacity last night. Given the tarp-laden ceilings and unorthodox dimensions of the room, the acoustics are surprisingly solid. The Brad Linde Quartet kicked off the evening with a rousing set of straight-ahead jazz, highlighted by an impressive Sarah Hughes on alto sax and Tony Martucci on drums. They even did a crowd-pleasing, wholly-improvised composition that garnered rounds of well-deserved applause. A little research finds that the bespectacled Linde is a regular performer at Bohemian Caverns. Highly recommended.
Second on the bill was the D.C. Love Orchestra, featuring poetry excerpts and a more frenetic, experimental sound. Rounding out the evening were the exciting Brian Settles Trio and the U Street All-Stars.
All in all, a fantastic way to wind down a busy weekend. I look forward to future Capital Bop events. Two enthusiastic thumbs up!
Written by guest columnist Joel Church. Read more about Joel.