A major international jazz festival right now in Washington D.C.? How odd: Is it the End of Times? Are we fiddlin’ while Rome burns? Or could it be a new beginning?
More likely it’s a coincidence (sort of) that a golden opportunity to hear meaningful, spirited contemporary improvisational music in our nation’s typically jazz-challenged capital arrives during a week of such tumult. The diverse and compelling nature of the bookings — whether DC’s dominant political culture can be drawn away from its usual duties/obsessions to notice or not — is much to the credit of artistic director/NEA Jazz Master/Guggenheim composition fellow/2008 Grammy winner/reedist extraordinaire Paquito D’Rivera, who emigrated from Cuba almost 30 years ago already a virtuoso and has consistently extended his accomplishments.