First COVID swept away the venue’s longstanding claim to be “America’s oldest continuously operated jazz supper club.” Then, almost a full year later, it appeared as if Blues Alley was headed toward becoming a pandemic casualty, with reports that the building had been put up for sale after the owner failed to negotiate a new lease with the club’s operators.
Last September, all that became water under a bridge as Blues Alley reopened in its longtime home, a historic former carriage house in Georgetown.
Last week, the club reopened for a second time after a small fire broke out and forced the venue to close for a week.
On the day after Halloween, the local Dave Kline Band rechristened the space by performing with special guests Ken Avis and Lynn Veronneau, a married duo of musicians who also lead the locally based world jazz/cabaret band Veronneau. As it happens, Kline is on tap to perform three more times this month by virtue of a special “November Residency” at the club.
Each concert features different guests, even different musical genres, with a renowned musician yet “to be announced” for Gypsy Jazz Night on Tuesday ,Nov. 22, followed by Emmy-winning pianist D.D. Jackson on Wednesday, Nov. 30.
Next up, however, is next week’s concert, one at which Kline will be joined by the Jenny Langer Blues Band and U.S. Senator Tim Kaine.
In case you had forgotten, the Virginia senator, who was Hillary Clinton’s 2016 running mate as vice president, plays a mean harmonica and is also known as a singer.
He’ll do both at Blues Alley (11/15). It’s worth pointing out here that Kline will return to Blues Alley in December, this time to perform with the full Veronneau band a “mostly holiday-themed show” also doubling as a release party for Live At Blues Alley. That new album from Veronneau was recorded the night the club reopened the first time, last September (12/13).
Additional highlights still to come this month at Blues Alley include Lisa Fischer, one of the six veteran backup singers profiled in the acclaimed 2013 documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, which inspired the vocalist to record and perform her own takes on classic songs (11/13); Bay Area jazz trio Charged Particles accompanied by tenor saxophonist Tod Dickow and special guest trumpeter Randy Brecker, coming together to perform a heartfelt tribute to Randy’s late brother, saxophonist Michael Brecker (11/16); and The Messthetics, an instrumental trio made up of three veterans of D.C.’s punk rock and experimental music scenes, drummer Brendan Canty and bassist Joe Lally of Fugazi and guitarist Anthony Pirog (11/29).
Blues Alley is located at 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Visit www.bluesalley.com or call 202-337-4141.
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