It was an interesting lineup for the final weekend of DC JazzFest.
Saturday night’s opener at the Anthem was Maceo Parker, the legendary R&B/funk saxophonist for James Brown. Parker, also a sideman with Parliament-Funkadelic and Prince, had the audience cheering after each chart-topper from his own catalog and hits from James Brown, Ray Charles and the Isley Brothers.
Robert Glasper performed with his second “new” supergroup in the past four months, R+R=NOW, a dynamite, cohesive ensemble with arrangements that pay homage to jazz icons such as Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis.
The group’s first selection, a rendition of Hancock’s 1974 composition “Butterfly,” immediately captured the audience’s attention. Trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah was a standout throughout the set. “Collagically Speaking,” the first album from R+R=NOW, was released on June 15.
Headliner Leslie Odom Jr., who won Tony and Grammy awards for his portrayal of Aaron Burr in “Hamilton,” also won accolades from the Anthem audience for his interpretations of classic songs. The Nat King Cole medley was superb and could have lasted longer, but as he acknowledged to the audience, he knew what they wanted to hear. “The Room Where It Happens” from “Hamilton” was the cherry on top of Odom’s set and the crowd was more than satisfied.