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Posted at 2:14 PM ET, 09/14/2007

Jazz, Family Style

By Fritz Hahn

During yesterday's Got Plans? chat, there were a number of questions I wasn't able to answer because we ran out of time. Here's one from a reader in Arlington:

Gurus, My parents and 18 year old brother are visiting the last weekend in September. My brother is very into Jazz- both the history and the music itself. Where should I take them to show them sights/events that are uniquely DC? Are there any festivals or fairs going on that weekend? Is there any place I can take my brother for live Jazz? If not live jazz, are there places I could take him that are associated w/ Jazz history? Or are there any other live music events for under 21 that weekend?

As a jazz fan myself, I've been on a few of Cultural Tourism D.C.'s guided walking tours. One of the company's most popular is called "Before Harlem There Was U Street," which tells tales of the "Black Broadway" in the 1920s and '30s. Offered every Saturday morning, it takes visitors past the Lincoln and Howard theaters, clubs where Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald played, Ben's Chili Bowl and other local landmarks. The tour guides really know their stuff. There's also a self-guided walking tour through the neighborhood -- check out the markers at the corner of 14th and T with reproductions of flyers advertising appearances of Cab Calloway and other stars at nightspots that vanished long ago.

As far as taking him to shows, Blues Alley, the cozy little Twins Jazz and non-profit HR-57 all allow patrons under 21 if they're accompanied by a parent or guardian. That weekend at Twins features pianist Katy Roberts, a former Berklee College of Music professor who recorded a pretty good live disc at Twins a few years ago and now lives in Paris. Tickets are $15, but assuming your brother has a student ID, he gets in for half-price.

Blues Alley is a pricier choice, but it's one of the best clubs in town for live music. Situated in an atmospheric old carriage house on a back street in Georgetown, it's played host to Dizzy Gillespie, Ramsey Lewis and Wynton Marsalis, who was a regular there before he hit the big time. Ahmad Jamal and Mose Allison stage week-long residencies there every year. It's a great room because everyone is listening, not talking, and you feel like you're right on top of the musicians. Grammy-winning trumpet player Wallace Roney, a protoge of Miles Davis, is in town Sept. 27-30. Tickets are $25, which doesn't include $10-per-person food and drink minimum or the $2.50 ticket surcharge. Like I said, expensive, but completely worth it.

If the family's here on Thursday, I'd also suggest hitting Cafe Nema on U Street to see the Young Lions, who are one of my favorite jazz trios in the city. The group just sets up in the corner of the basement level bar and goes for it. The African food's pretty good, too.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | September 14, 2007; 2:14 PM ET
Categories:  Music  
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Is there any way to get to yesterday's discussion? The link to the archives only has them up through August something.

Posted by: dan | September 14, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I'll take a look at the archives. That's really odd. In the meantime, a link to the most recent discussion is always available in the "From the Gurus" section of the City Guide homepage, along with a link to the next Got Plans? discussion.

Posted by: Fritz | September 14, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

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