Washington, D.C., has given much to the musical world beyond its best-known exports Duke Ellington and the punk and go-go scenes. Join musician, broadcaster, and historian Ken Avis as he explores the area’s lesser-known, remarkable, and fascinating musical avenues and why they could only have developed here. Film and recordings bring legendary musicians to life as Avis examines how social change, technological development, and business innovation shaped the sounds that emerged from D.C.—a political town with a serious music habit.
Please Note: Individual sessions are available for individual purchase.
FEB 8 Jazzing the Capital
The Howard Theater and U Street’s Black Broadway were the jewels in the crown of D.C.'s jazz legacy. Explore what made the city a significant jazz mecca and how the music changed over the 20th century. From James Reece Europe in its early years to the remarkable Shirley Horne to some of today's notable musicians and singers, jazz has flowed through the Capital as reliably as the Potomac.
FEB 22 The Country Music Capital
Before the Nashville Sound emerged in the 1960s, the Washington area was a major focus of what was termed "hillbilly" music. In fact, the term "country music" is said to have emerged here, and some of the biggest stars of the genre made greater D.C. their home. Why did it happen in this particular place and time—and what happened next? Explore the under-sung and almost-forgotten history of Washington as the country music capital.
MAR 8 Rocking the Capital
After WWII, music, society, mass media, and technology heralded the emergence of teen power. Once again, Washington reflected and created music for the time. Rhythm and blues, rock and roll, the British invasion, and the "album years" of the singer-songwriters all had their area stars. Avis looks at the development of the Anacostia Delta sound, how punk and go-go made their marks, the big acts of the era, and the top venues where it all happened. From Georgetown to Bladensburg, D.C. was rocking!
Avis is a regular presenter at Strathmore Music Center and the DC Music Salon and performs with the acoustic world-jazz band Veronneau.
Photo caption (upper right): Left to right: The Ellington Apartments on U Street, NW; Howard Theater (Photo: Kevin Rutherford); "The Godfather of Go-Go" Chuck Brown, 2011 (Photo: Mark Taylor); The Stoneman Family band, courtesy of Roni
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