March 18, 2019

Four Songs That Predict The Future Of D.C. Jazz

By Ruth Tam

Conversations about D.C. jazz are often stuck in the past. We like to name legends who got started here (Duke Ellington! Shirley Horn!), the famous clubs that have closed (Bohemian Caverns, RIP) and the memories people have.

But jazz is alive in D.C., and today’s musicians insist on being heard. We asked local musicians and jazz experts Amy K Bormet and Davey Yarborough what songs represent the future of D.C. jazz, and they delivered. Enjoy!

“Mountains” by Rochelle Rice

“Not only is this a beautiful piece with a gospel jazz vibe, but Rochelle Rice assembled a stellar line up of D.C. musicians to make it happen. The strength of Howard University’s vocal program is on full display here with these killer alumni —Christie Dashiell, Shacara Rogers, Micah Robinson, who all lead their own amazing projects. The music that comes out of D.C. is best when it activates the full community of musicians that live here, and we can all support each other.” – Amy K Bormet

“14 Street Bounce” by Corcoran Hold

“The future jazz in D.C. is probably like anywhere else in the U.S. By that I mean the music is shaped by what is socially relevant. The phrase ‘Art is Life’ pretty much sums it up. There are D.C. musicians contributing insightful works such as Corcoran Holt’s 14 Street Bounce from his release ‘The Mecca.'” – Davey Yarborough

“Gold” by Idol Beings (Akua Allrich and Kris Funn)

“Love this track. It’s a great mix of classic jazz instruments: piano, bass, drumset, vibraphone, voice. The electronics and harmonies are so fresh and have such an undefinable D.C. sound. The whole city is flush with producers that are also fantastic jazz musicians, with both skills influencing each other.” – Amy K Bormet

“At The Jazz Show” by Herb Scott

“These selections were born from D.C. artists but only reflect their artistry. Washington, D.C. is very stylistically diverse when it comes to music. I do not believe I can predict the future of jazz in D.C. but I can predict that jazz has a future in D.C.” – Davey Yarborough


Tune in Monday, March 18 for a conversation about the past, present and future of D.C.’s jazz scene.