Next Gig: Takoma Park’s Square in the Circle, February 11

square-in-the-circle-2I hope you can join me on Saturday, February 11, from 7:30 to 10 p.m., when I’ll be at Square in the Circle, 6714 Poplar Avenue in Takoma Park, Md. I’m thrilled to be doing it for at least three reasons:

1) Square in the Circle (pictured above) is actually the home of my good friend Alan Kanner, who regularly hosts some of the best independent musicians from across the U.S. It’s a relaxing, intimate setting where the audience can actually touch performers there, but let’s not get carried away with that.

2) Because Square in the Circle typically hosts folk and roots musicians, I’m excited to mix my usual jazz set with equal parts folk, country and blues tunes. It’ll be a night of great American music by the likes of Rodgers & Hammerstein, Elvis Costello (okay, British, but with the heart of an American), Billy Strayhorn, Bob Dylan, Duke Ellington and Tom Waits.

3) I’ll be joined again by two spectacular musicians, who, without me, would be worth your hearing: on piano, Dan Lamaestra, who has recorded extensively and performed around the world and currently holds the prestigious position of pianist with the internationally renowned Navy Commodores Jazz Ensemble; and, on bass, David Jernigan, one of the Washington area’s leading (and busiest) performers of Brazilian and American jazz.

All this for the low, low cover charge of only $10 per person. There will be refreshments there, but you’re welcome to bring your own, if you don’t mind contributing.

Because it’s a house, seating is limited. So if you plan to attend, please send an email to me at weintraubjeff@gmail.  

If I were to tell that this will be a fun night of great song and spirit, is that something you might be interested in?

See you on February 11.

Next Gig: Warming up Mandolin Orange on Oct. 1

There are two reasons why you should go to my friend Alan Kanner‘s for a house concert featuring the traditional acoustic folk/country group Mandolin Orange on Wed., Oct. 1, 7 p.m., at (the quaintly named) “Square in the Circle,” 6714 Poplar Ave., in Takoma Park, Md.

By an order of magnitude, the biggest reason you should go is that Mandolin Orange — the duo of Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz (pictured below) — is extraordinary. As one reviewer put it, “They craft simple songs that go beyond chord progressions and vocal harmonies, leading somehow toward something pure. Using acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin and a hand-me-down fiddle, Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz allure with a heart-worn sensibility. Last year’s Haste Make/ Hard Hearted Stanger combines bluegrass, rock and country for lullabies that swoon.” I’ve listened to all three of their albums and have become a huge fan.

Check out these videos mandolin-ornage2if that’s not enough to convince you.

This is a chance to hear in an intimate venue (about 50 seats) and for the low-low price of only $20 a group that is already on its way to becoming a major force in their genre of music and well beyond. If you don’t know them now, eventually you will — and should.

The second, much less compelling reason for you to go is to hear me. Alan has generously offered me the opportunity to provide a brief warm up to Mandolin Orange, and I’m thrilled and humbled to do it.

This will be pretty far from my usual jazz act. With my guitar, I’ll be singing a few country, folk and blues selections. Though the featured act should be enough reason to go, I’m hoping my playing might push you over the edge and get you there.

If you do plan to go, it’s essential to email Alan at so that he can be sure there’s still room in what is a limited space.

I know it’s a school night, but, really, you owe it to yourself to come hear Mandolin Orange. You will be amazed by them. I hope to see you there.

Jeff Weintraub