Jazz pianist and Flint Hill resident Bill Harris is hoping some of his many Rappahannock fans will take their love of jazz standards — not to mention of his first-class hands and completely simpatico baritone — on a quick commute to Warrenton next Friday night, June 21.
That’s when the Bill Harris Jazz Collective, an ad hoc quartet comprised of Harris and three similarly renowned D.C. and Virginia-based jazz journeymen, performs an 8 p.m. concert at Gloria’s Listening Room.
As worthwhile as Harris’ Collective would be to meet, Gloria’s Listening Room is also worth knowing — particularly for jazz fans this far south of the D.C. scene. Gloria’s is an acoustically fulfilling, 125-seat venue devoted to Americana, jazz, blues and bluegrass that opened earlier this year on Warrenton’s Main Street as part of a new community center/performing and visual arts space operated by the nonprofit Gloria Faye Dingus Music Alliance.
The Music Alliance is named for Dingus, who passed away in 2012, and who co-founded and ran Warrenton’s venerable Drum & Strum Music Center with her son, Tim Dingus. Tim helped create the nonprofit to continue his mother’s legacy of bringing music to all — including instruments, lessons and performing opportunities to many local youngsters since Drum & Strum opened in 1990.
“We’re basically continuing what she would be doing now if she were here,” he says.
Harris has performed a few times at Gloria’s, with his quartet last month and for a fundraiser in the spring, but he hasn’t performed before with this particular Collective, whose impressive members are: saxophonist Charlie Young, artistic director and conductor of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, lead saxophonist and former conductor for the Duke Ellington Orchestra and coordinator of jazz studies at Howard University; drummer Robert Jospe, the Charlottesville-based drumming and rhythm educator and founder of the famed fusion band Inner Rhythm; and bassist Glenn Dewey, yet another in-demand performer and educator who’s been with the “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band and Chamber Orchestra since 1994 and teaching bass at George Mason University for almost as long.
“It’s a little bit intimidating,” Harris says of the other three members of his quartet — but you can tell he’s fibbing, and is looking forward to the gig with way more excitement than anxiety. In fact, he darts off to the piano to grab a copy of the group’s tentative set list to show to a visitor. Every number evokes a familiar melody, for those who can’t get enough of what Harris calls the Great American Songbook. And yes, Harris confirms, these guys likely know every note and chord change of every song on the list.
Tickets to the 8 p.m. performance June 21 at Gloria’s Listening Room (92 Main St., Warrenton) are $20 and available online from the Music Alliance at centerofwarrenton.org (ages 12 and younger admitted free with parent or guardian). Wine, beer, coffee and snacks available. Proceeds benefit The Gloria Faye Dingus Music Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to providing music education and instruments for all those wishing to learn and enjoy music.