A case of the Mondays
Mondays get a bad rap.
Certainly, after all the wild weekends we get in this town, who could blame any of you worn-out high steppers for wanting to chill and zone out to some bad TV like, oh, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, right? Still, it’s nice to know that not everyone shares that prejudice against this most maligned day of the week, and that there are options for the willfully outbound.
The Fox & Goose still hosts its weekly singer-songwriter-friendly open-mic on Mondays, for example. And Kepi has been holding court with his musical pals on Monday nights at the Java Lounge on 16th Street off and on for a while.
And now, Harley White Jr., he of the bass guitar and tuba in a variety of jazz, R&B and rock applications, will be celebrating Black History Month every Monday night at Harlow’s, where he’ll lead a 12-piece band in jazz classics—e.g., works by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Billy Strayhorn, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles and other masters of the swinging baton.
White’s no stranger to the canon; he and I have had some serious talks about jazz over the years, and his understanding of the form is passionate and deep. Plus, he’s got that kind of missionary zeal about introducing jazz to a local audience, so it’s nice that Harlow’s will give him a forum to do precisely that.
The performances will begin at 7 p.m. with a dance contest, and then White and his group—which includes guitarist Arlen Andersen, whom White compares to such luminaries as Charlie Christian—will play from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. The cover is $8, and the event is open to everyone, regardless of age.
Another jazz-related event, albeit on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays instead of Mondays, will be happening as of February 7 at the Three Monkeys Grill, 723 K Street: drummer Mat Marucci and his trio, featuring Eric Tillman on piano and Rob Lemas on bass, with a guest vocalist joining them on Fridays. For more info, the club’s Web site is www.threemonkeysgrill.com.
Now, I realize that Old I has gotten a more-than-decent amount of press in this space recently, and thus I’m loath to mention the Alive & Kicking benefit last Sunday night. But watching reunited lineups of Little Guilt Shrine, Popgun, Phallucy, the Knockoffs, Tattooed Love Dogs, Go National and more, including a solo performance by Jonah Matranga, was pretty damned excellent. LGS’ Dana Gumbiner, who went on to front the late, lamented Deathray, was surprisingly reticent afterward, as in, “Um, we sucked, but glad you liked it.” But the crowd apparently dug the four-song set as much as I did, and who can argue with such stellar pop culture-damaged high-water marks as “Jackie Chan”?
The night was mostly limited to acts that had appeared on the cover of A&K, which meant no reunions for such criminally underrated musical icons as Davis guitar band Thin White Rope. That would be a real godsend. Anyway, if Jerry Perry ever throws himself another rent party, here’s hoping that such omitted bands as Phibes Infernal Machine, Pao, Funky Blue Velvet and Orisha can put something together.