Local saxophonist Elijah Easton transforms local restaurant into jazz club

Performance was part of CapitalBop’s monthly showcase of local musicians on Jan. 25

Local saxophonist Elijah Easton transforms local restaurant into jazz club
Saxophonist Elijah Easton plays in a local restaurant.

Tenor saxophonist Elijah Easton transformed a local restaurant into a pop-up jazz club on Friday, Jan. 25. Playing alongside bassist Steve Arnold and drummer Allen Jones, Easton’s resonant, honeyed melodies and upbeat tempos brought warmth and tranquility to audience members while they savored their late-night eats.

The performance was held inside Local 16, an Afghani restaurant in Dupont Circle. It was a part of CapitalBop’s monthly Spotlight Residency, which showcases local musicians. 

The space was picturesque, dimly lit and intricately decorated with ornate hanging lamps, rustic chandeliers and elaborate artwork. The decor created an atmosphere that grew more welcoming as the night went on. The trio allured new audience members with every saxophone riff, bass countermelody and drumbeat.

The trio immediately commanded the audience’s attention as they took the stage. Cheerful conversations turned into pleasant murmurs, as merely ambient noise to the euphonic performance that brought the entire room to life.

Easton began with a captivating repetition of ascending and descending melodic patterns on his tenor saxophone. His precise syncopation was revealed in the context of drummer Allen Jones’ steady tempo that was keeping time. 

As Easton’s melodies transitioned into flashier moments of vibrato and ornamentation, his bold yet polished style and attentive musicianship led him, Arnold and Jones to accomplish that perfect tonal balance called harmony and that perfect clash called jazz.

Easton’s balance between soulful, thought-provoking jazz melodies and stimulating, toe-tapping rhythms was the most impressive part of the concert. The trio’s performance was a constantly shifting yet immensely stable equilibrium between the kind of jazz that lets you unwind after a long week, and the kind that serves as a breath of fresh air. 

Who knew one could find such an effortlessly transcendent and refreshing experience on the corner of U Street and New Hampshire Avenue, only four metro stops from campus? 

Offering free admission to students, Easton’s performance was truly a hidden gem, treating D.C. residents to symphonic music, intimate performances, delicious meals and all that jazz.


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