Jazz Revue sizzles this summer

Published 12:58 am Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Celebrated hard-bop pianist Cedar Walton is coming to Washington.

The 77-year-old musician’s quartet will play Aug. 26 at the Washington Civic Center.

The concert will be the latest in a series of quarterly events staged by the nonprofit East Coast Jazz Revue.

Cedar Walton

Walton has been prominent on the jazz scene since the mid-1950s.

He has recorded and toured with some of the giants of America’s music. He cut a tune with alto saxophonist John Coltrane, and was an anchor in drummer Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.

The ECJR’s previous two concerts this year featured aggregations led by drummer Roger Humphries. Those occasions unfolded at the Turnage Theater on Main Street.

The Civic Center, located on Gladden Street, was selected as the next venue because its open floor space is large enough for dining-area tables and chairs, explained Larry Turner, ECJR president.

Dinner will be catered by The Meeting Place of Washington, and a cash bar will offer beer and wine.

“The Turnage is an excellent venue for the East Coast Jazz Revue,” Turner said. “We’re looking at continuing our relationship with the Turnage.”

But the buffet-style service, bar and club atmosphere designed for the Walton affair could be conducive to an elegant evening, he indicated.

“People have been talking about wanting to have a regular place to hear jazz,” Turner pointed out. “This way we can get our jazz fix every quarter and survive.”

Accompanying Walton will be bassist Buster Williams, whose jazz vita covers nearly the full range of styles within the genre.

Williams’ website tells the tale: “He has played, recorded and collaborated with jazz giants such as Art Blakey, Betty Carter, Carmen McRae, Chet Baker, Chick Corea, Dexter Gordon, Jimmy Heath, Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, … Dakota Staton, Kenny Dorham, Freddie Hubbard, etc. to name a few.”

Also in the Walton lineup will be saxophonist Vincent Herring and drummer George Fludas.

Turner is planning to organize another of the ECJR’s “master classes” to run before the concert. These free-to-the-public classes allow local youths to receive in-person instruction from visiting jazz musicians.

While in Washington, Walton’s quartet will stay at Pamlico House Bed & Breakfast on Main Street.

Virginia Finnerty, owner of Pamlico House, hosted Humphries and his band while they were in town this past May.

“I’m very excited,” Finnerty said of this next hosting opportunity in August. “It was a pleasure to have Mr. Humphries here, and I’m really looking forward to having (Walton). I’m very excited about that. … It’s a real honor to me to be part of bringing jazz to this area.”