When Westminster Presbyterian Church was founded in DC in the 19th century to help the marginalized, one of its main causes was jazz music. Though the music was considered profane by the mainstream church community, Westminster made it an important part of day-to-day activities, earning the nickname “the jazz church.” Today, Westminster celebrates its commitment to the form by hosting weekly performances. “We must never underestimate the power of the lively arts in shaping and defining communities; engaging all in dialogue and re-visioning our core values,” its website proclaims. It’s not alone in this commitment to the power of jazz music; read on for details on notable upcoming performances at some of DC’s jazz hotspots.
Westminster Presbyterian Church
400 I St., SW; 202-484-7700
Performances are every Friday evening from 6 to 9. This week’s performance features the Herb Scott Jazz Ensemble; as a bonus, Saturday from noon to 8 is the annual DC Jazz Preservation Festival, with food and plenty of live music.
2001 11th St., NW; 202-299-0800
In business for more than eight decades, this local mainstay has hosted such notables as Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk. Don’t miss the 17-piece Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra’s performances every Monday.
1344 U St., NW; 202-234-0072
This popular performance hall opens its stage to performers of all ages and skill levels, from student musicians to well-regarded out-of-town performers. Don’t miss local jazz trumpet phenom Thad Wilson, who takes the stage Friday and Saturday.
7719 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda; 240-330-4500
Open since 1938, this music and supper club recently underwent an $8 million renovation. Head there Saturday to check out the new digs and see all-female DC band Be’la Don, who describe their sound as “sensual crank.”
1073 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-337-4141
Entry to this Georgetown spot isn’t cheap, but it offers the chance to see some big-name acts. Thursday brings acclaimed jazz vocalist Rachelle Ferrell, who shows off her six-and-change-octave voice and “whistle register.”