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Felten and Brecker make the connection at Blues Alley

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Entertainment,Music,Marie Gullard

The multitalented musician and bandleader Eric Felten appears with his quartet at Blues Alley Monday night, where he is joined by his old friend and colleague, jazz trumpeter Randy Brecker.

As a lively quintet they will perform standard tunes, straight ahead jazz and a traditional variation of swinging jazz.

"This is a chance to bring down one of the great trumpet players in jazz ... to appear with us and do something different, said Felten, who last performed at the club with his 17-piece big band. "Randy is, I think, the best trumpet player alive. He has played with just about everybody in every idiom you could imagine.

"He can play mainstream jazz, which we will be doing, standard rock-fusion, like he does with his brother Michael Brecker. He can play avant-garde, challenging jazz and swing and big band music, and he's completely convincing in every genre he plays."

Onstage
Eric Felten Quintet
Where: Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW
When: 8 and 10 p.m. Monday
Info: $25; 202-337-4141; bluesalley.com

Felten and Brecker teamed up in 1994 for the critically acclaimed album "Gratitude," a modern take on the classic recordings of Duke Ellington's small groups in the 1930s. And like Ellington, Felten enjoys switching off from time to time to the smaller bands, such as his quartet plus one guest.

"It's been a little while since I've had a small group at Blues Alley," he noted. "My big band knocks you back, but it's nice to take advantage of the intimate nature of the club to be able to put across more intimate jazz."

The group, which also includes Tony Nalker on piano, Michael Bowie on bass and Washington's own Chuck Redd on the drums, will be presenting standards such as "All or Nothing at All" and "Dancing in the Dark."

"One of the great things about being a singer is that it is easier with lyrics to connect emotionally with the audience," he explained. "We're not doing our job if we don't."

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