An Old School Weekend with Still Surfin’ and Friendship Train – Tributes to The Beach Boys and Gladys Knight and The Pips, “Feel Good Music,” and More at BBJ

1st Tuesday Jam with Gary Grainger and Friends, Nia Simmons and Geneva Renee, Still Surfin’ Beach Boys Tribute, Friendship Train Gladys Knight and the Pips Tribute, Secret Society at Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club, August 2016Tuesday (8/2) Come one, come all to the 1st Tuesday Jam with Gary Grainger and Friends! This monthly event gives YOU the chance to jam and sing with bassist Gary Grainger, drummer Greg Grainger, and their world-class musician friends. You’ll have a blast whether you join the band onstage or simply come out, have some food and drinks, and enjoy the music. We offer free admission for AFM Union member card holders (must present Union Card and valid picture ID at door). The Jam starts at 8pm.

Wednesday (8/3) We’ve got a soulful night in store with DC-area singers Nia Simmons and Geneva Renée! Born and raised in Alexandria, VA, Nia Simmons has a vocal style is heavily rooted in gospel, R&B, and jazz. Not only has she performed as a headliner at notable venues (Blues Alley, The Carlyle Club), she has also been privileged to share the stage as a background vocalist with acclaimed artists such as Regina Belle, Howard Hewett, Bobby McFerrin, Kirk Whalem, Meli’sa Morgan, and Crystal Aikin, and others. Geneva Renée, the highly sought after mezzo-soprano whose range spans three octaves has been a featured soloist at events honoring Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. An alumna of Howard University, Geneva is heavily influenced by classical, jazz, soul, gospel and pop. She has shared the stage with stars including Diana Ross, Maysa Leak, and Vanessa Williams. The music begins at 8pm.

Friday (8/5) Professional tribute band Still Surfin’ has been performing the music of The Beach Boys for over 15 years. Still Surfin’ features the incredible five part harmonies of The Beach Boys and they’re ready to entertain with authentic costuming, audience participation, great choreography, heavy spring reverb surf guitar, and the songs that everyone knows and loves. Just like the original Beach Boys, they might also pull out songs from other great ’60s surf bands like Jan and Dean, The Ventures, Dick Dale, and The Safaris. They play all the great car songs, too! Come out to see Still Surfin’ for a true-to-form show – just like the originals sounded on their live tours back in the day. Surf’s up at 8pm.

Saturday (8/6) Shadows of the 60’s Present Friendship Train – A Tribute to Gladys Knight & The Pips! Perhaps the most dynamic female lead singer of all time from Motown roster of stars, Gladys Knight, backed by the smooth vocals and choreography of The Pips, burst onto the music scene in 1961 and continued to enjoyed success for decades to come. Their hits include “With Every Beat Of My Heart,” “I Don’t  Wanna Do Wrong,” “You’re The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me,” “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” “Midnight Train To Georgia,” “Friendship Train,”  “Neither One Of Us,” and “If I Were Your Woman.” Because of Gladys’ soul-stirring vocal delivery, it is no accident that there aren’t many tributes to this unique group. Shadows Of The 60’s, known for their reputation of delivering the best in tribute productions, searched for three years to find such a gifted vocal talent. Join them as they return to the sound of one of the mighty pillars of that elusive Motown Magic, Gladys Knight & The Pips. The tribute begins at 8pm.

Sunday (8/7) Formed in 2008, Secret Society, the brainchild of Washington-area saxophonist Bryan Mills, was created to bring the “Live Band” sound back to today’s heavily computerized music market. Secret Society is that breath of fresh air. The combination of talent, experience and influences including John Coltrane, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Police, Rick James and a host of others gives this band their own unique sound and identity. The group likes to use the simplistic description “Feel Good Music” to define exactly what it is that they offer. The WAMMIE-nominated group has been featured in magazines including Prince George’s Suite and Magazine 33 Virginia, as “one of the hottest bands in the region.” Bandleader Mills attended Howard University’s prestigious Jazz Studies Program, which gave him the opportunity to play with notable DC-area groups including The Marcus Johnson Project, and Thievery Corporation, and he currently performs with DC’s legendary Chuck Brown “The Godfather of Go-Go” Band. With Wayne Thomas on drums, vocalist Mike Madison, Robbie McDonald playing lead guitar, bassist David Dyson, and Patrick Cooper on keyboards, this recipe of musicians is sure to please the taste buds of the avid music fan! The band starts at 7:30pm.

Who’ll be on the BBJ stage soon? Kandace Springs with special guest Lee Mo, Jon B., Zo! with Carmen Rodgers, The Cindy Blackman Santana Group, Peter Asher and Albert Lee, Kenny Lattimore, and the Michael Jackson Birthday Tribute Concert, to name a few. Visit our Music Calendar and stay up to date!

Happy August! And thanks as always for coming out to support great music in Bethesda. We’ll see you soon.

Rick Brown

Rockin’ the Classics: The Spinners, The Yardbirds, The Great American Songbook with Spencer Day, R&B Songstress Meli’sa Morgan + a Discount Wednesday with Rising Star Dontae Winslow!

1st Tuesday Jam with Gary Grainger and Friends, Dontae Winslow, Spencer Day, The Spinners, Meli’sa Morgan, The Yardbirds at Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club, July 2016Tuesday (7/5) Come along to the jam session with Gary Grainger and Friends! This First Tuesday of the Month event gives YOU the chance to jam and sing with bassist Gary Grainger, drummer Greg Grainger, and their world-class musician friends. It’s a great time whether you join the band onstage or just come out and enjoy the music. We offer free admission for AFM Union member card holders (must present Union Card and valid picture ID at door). The Jam starts at 8pm.

Wednesday (7/6) We’ve got Dontae Winslow and The Winslow Dynasty with special guest Gary Thomas! Dontae Winslow is a Music Producer/Songwriter/Arranger who is currently on tour with the Justin Timberlake 20/20 Experience World Tour, and has performed on SNL, Jimmy Kimmel, and Ellen. Dontae has written songs for Jay-Z, Kanye, Keyshia Cole, Mary Mary and Kendrick Lamar. Dontae Winslow & Winslow Dynasty’s latest album, Enter The Dynasty, features guest appearances by Quest Love, Chick Corea, Roy Hargrove and Dennis Chambers. His trumpet is heard around the world from Aloe Blacc’s “I’m The Man” Beats By Dre Commercial to Tyler Perry’s “Haves and Havenots” TV show Theme song. That’s some creative star power! Join us for the show at 8pm. SPECIAL DISCOUNT JUST ADDED: Use Discount Code BBJDontaeW when buying your tickets for 50% OFF!

Thursday (7/7) Come celebrate the “Big Five” songwriters with contemporaries Spencer Day and Dave Damiani &The No Vacancy Orchestra. This evening will be all about composers Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, and the Gershwin Brothers. Spencer Day is an amazing songwriter in his own right. His hit “Til You Come To Me” was ranked the #1 cut of 2010 by The Smooth Jazz Top 20 Countdown. He has performed all over the world. Dave Damiani & The No Vacancy Orchestra is in constant rotation on XM 71 Siriusly Sinatra and radio stations all over the country. They have done music for POLO – Ralph Lauren, CBS – Vegas, SINATRA 100, Marriott Corporation, FOX, ABC’s Sonoran Living, and more. The concert starts at 8pm.

Friday (7/8) Don’t miss these legendary R&B recording artists… The Spinners! The Spinners have a universal appeal and throughout the years they have sold millions of records and topped both the Pop and R&B charts with smash hits like “I’ll Be Around” and “Then Came You.” Today, original member Henry Fambrough is joined onstage by lead singer Charlton Washington, high tenor Marvin Taylor, tenor Ronnie Moss, and bass singer Jessie Peck. A soul-infused 5-piece band led by Keith Ferguson backs them up. After a brief time at Motown, The Spinners signed to Atlantic Records. There, under the helm of producer and songwriter Thom Bell, The Spinners charted five top 100 singles (and two top tens) from Spinners (1972). A partial list of their hit singles on Atlantic include “Mighty Love,” “Then Came You,” “I’ll Be Around,” “One Of A Kind (Love Affair),” “Games People Play,” and “Could It Be.” In 1979, they completed their first collaboration with producer Michael Zager, and by early 1980, “Working My Way Back to You” topped the Pop and R&B charts giving the group its 12th gold record. Today, The Spinners maintain an active touring schedule, performing for fans of all ages in sold out houses around the world. The show kicks off at 8pm.

Saturday (7/9) This R&B songstress exploded onto the music scene in the late 1980s – a sultry singer with a silky voice made for slow R&B ballads and funky soul. She is none other than Meli’sa Morgan and she’s ready to deliver a delicious performance for us live and in person, along with her special guest Harlem talent Cartier Conway. Blessed with the gift of song with a passion, her vocal style and sound is captured in hit songs like “Do Me Baby, “Do You Still Love Me,” Fool’s Paradise,” and “Now or Never.” Her vocals are as strong and powerful as Chaka Khan or Aretha Franklin while bringing soft, kitten sensuality that will pull you in and musically speaking …seduce you. Morgan has performed backing vocals for Chaka Kahn, Whitney Houston, and Kashif, and she has opened the show for Gladys Knight and the Pips. Her writing credits have won Platinum for her work with artists including Mary J Blige and Jay-Z. Her new dance song, “So Good” was voted #1 on the DJ Dance Pool Charts in NYC, is being added on radio stations in Nigeria, Aruba, and London, and is getting great reviews by DJs and fans around the world. The music starts at 8pm.

Sunday (7/10) A Classic Rock institution will take the stage at BBJ – The Yardbirds are more than a mere rock band. In the brief period from 1963 to 1968, the group made an indelible mark on the “Shapes of Things” to come. To the casual music fan, The Yardbirds are best known as the band that honed the skills of future “guitar gods” Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page; and for their slew of chart hits, including “For Your Love,” “Heart Full of Soul,”  “I’m A Man,” and “Over Under Sideways Down.” Led by core members and songwriters Jim McCarty (drums), Chris Dreja (rhythm guitar/bass) and the late Keith Relf (vocals/harmonica), the band’s experimental explorations also provided the crucial link between British R&B, Psychedelic Rock, and Heavy Metal, while pioneering the use of innovations like fuzz tone, feedback and distortion. Reuniting decades later, McCarty and Dreja brought The Yardbirds boldly into the 21st Century with the 2003 release of the acclaimed CD, Birdland. In 2015, Jim McCarty debuted the new touring lineup of The Yardbirds with guitarist Johnny A, bassist Kenny Aaronson,singer/harpist/percussionist Myke Scavone, and guitarist/singer John Idanto. As Goldmine Magazine stated, “the band’s hallmark of top-notch musicianship remains. There are no passengers in this band.” The Yardbirds and special guests Johnny Bombay & the Reactions start at 8pm.

More great shows are coming right up! Peter Erskine, Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band, Haley Reinhart, Molly Ringwald, Kandace Springs, and Jon B… just to name a few! Check our Music Calendar any time to see what we’ve got in store.

Hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July, and we look forward to seeing you here soon. Thanks for keeping great music alive in downtown Bethesda!


Rick Brown