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It's unfortunate that Washington DC's rich history of musical commitment is overshadowed by its political exterior and yet, interestingly enough, jazz music and fanfare has strong ties with political movement. From its inception, jazz has openly embraced the contributions of all people and their clubs were among the first public venues to chip at the boundaries drawn by early segregation laws. In Washington, The Howard Theater, a predominately African-American club featured a unique blend of Italian Renaissance and Spanish-Baroque architecture. The George Washington University reports that "approximately 25% of the audience was white" despite segregation laws and racial hostilities prevalent at the time.

"It was the magnitude of the stars that stole the show. Seeing such great acts was the most important thing, and consequently all extraneous problems and conflicts were forgotten in the pleasure of the moment". In addition to presidents and senators, DC has also seen its share of musical royalty. Legacies of jazz dukes and ladies haunt Washington's streets.

For those who feel the need to question, the jazz scene in Washington DC is still very much alive and swinging. Regardless of one's price range, the District's inhabitants not only have the opportunity to spectate but also participate in amazing jazz performances on any given night.

DC is home to some of jazz's most cherished celebrities including Pearl Bailey, Billy Eckstine, Sarah Vaughan, Billy Taylor, and Duke Ellington. Anyone in jazz history worth mentioning has come through the Nation's capital.

DC continues to be a rite-of-passage for Jazz's younger generations like Wynton Marsalis, Diana Krall, Joshua Redman, Jane Monheit, Russell Gunn and Roy Hargrove.

The jazz scene in northwest DC's historic U Street neighborhood continues to flourish as it did in 1930 despite the closing of the famous Howard Theater ("The Howard"). Once coined "The Black Broadway" for its plethora of jazz legends, U Street is seasoned with jazz clubs like Bohemian Caverns, Twins Jazz, Cada-Vez, Utopia, Euphoria and HR-57. Even U Street restaurants like The Islander (a delicious Caribbean bistro) devote brunches and entire nights to jazz.

Likewise, the U street area's more "sophisticated" Georgetown cousin remains in touch with its jazz roots, offering such legendary venues as Blues Alley and The Kennedy Center. Among Georgetown's rows of pseudo-European eateries, Café La Ruche and Fino also feature jazz nights in addition to mouth-watering cuisines.

Also, the Adams Morgan neighborhood is home to such jazz clubs and restaurants as Madams Organ, and Columbia Station. From Colonel Brooks Tavern in northeast DC to the Zanzibar in southwest, enthusiasts and curiosity goers alike can get their jazz fix in every quadrant of Washington.

-Bobby Dodd

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