BY SOFIA ARMANDO //
Hello and welcome back my fellow GWU students and music enthusiasts to another entry of DC’s Acoustic Audit, where I explore and review the most popular venues for live performances across DC’s vibrant music scene. After a long and much needed winter break, along with a hectic start to the spring semester, I am so excited to finally be back on the blog, discovering new artists and music. With that being said I will be jumping right into my review of the sensational performances of contemporary jazz artists Michael Lington and Paul Taylor at the Blues Alley Club.
Blues Alley Club, the oldest continuing jazz supper club in the nation, is a true hidden gem of the city that is quite literally hidden down an alley in the Georgetown Neighborhood. After just a few minutes of soaking in the ambiance, I felt as if I had been transported back to a jazz venue in 1950’s-69s Chicago on the historic ‘Record Row’. The venue is compact, but doesn’t feel tight; the small spacing makes for an intimate experience for those sitting together, as well as between the audience and the performer.
Michael Lington, a Danish-American songwriter, producer, recording artist, and kick-ass saxophonist gave one of the most joyful and charismatic performances I’ve ever seen. The happiness on Lington’s face from being on stage was undeniable, just like his talent. His impeccable tonal technique and artistry on the saxophone, paired with an equally amazing and unified performance from the band, (with fantastic improv from their guitarist, Wawa, and bassist, Ricky), made for a sultry, fun, and moving show. It was such a joy to witness how Lington infected the crowd and the band with, not just his musical performance, but with his uplifting, playful energy.
Paul Taylor, a fellow saxophonist from Denver, gave another outstanding, melodic performance that could move any crowd. My favorite part of Taylor’s segment was his performance of the ballad “Awakening”, made up of heart-melting riffs and smooth melodies that will put you in a trance. During this performance, he got off the stage platform and went up to each table, playing for each individual audience member at the venue. He wanted to enjoy the music with the crowd, not just perform it for them. Taylor’s musicianship was uncanny, an undeniable jazz artist down to the core.