By: Michael J. West, Alchemical Records
Friday, April 12
It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly seven years since Brent Birckhead made the plunge. The alto saxophonist and composer is a Baltimore native and was a fixture of the D.C. jazz scene for nearly a decade, studying at Howard University and then building his artistic profile in the clubs and other gigs around town. (He was, among other things, the founding lead alto for the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra.) Birckhead cut quite a figure, winning awards from DownBeat and Washington City Paper with his burning yet lyrical sound and rich harmonies, enough so that his 2012 move to New York was an inevitable action. His hard work since then has paid off in his hard-hitting debut album Birckhead (Revive Music), which dropped in February and infuses straightahead, swinging post-bop jazz with R&B, soul, and a hell of a charge of funk. Birckhead will be the subject of the saxophonist’s CD release concert—and indeed his first performance back home with the words “recording artist” beside his name on the bill. Brent Birckhead performs at 7:30 p.m. at Sotto, 1610 Fourteenth Street NW (Downstairs). $20.