History: Meet The Twins

kellymazeFor over twenty-three years, Twins Jazz Club and Twins Lounge have worked to conceptualize and develop a friendly environment wherein Jazz lovers can congregate in geniality and ambiance sharing our love and celebration of a common style of music called Jazz.

Jazz found us” – Kelly, Owner. Twins Lounge, Jazz’s uptown sister-club located at 5516 Colorado Avenue Northwest Washington  DC, opened as an Ethiopian restaurant in 1986 in a 50 seater-space that previously featured jazz and blues music. Several musicians would continue to patronize the Lounge, and insisted upon the continuation of showcasing live jazz performances. By 1987, Twins Lounge opened their stage nightly to live jazz performers.

Twins Lounge and Twins Jazz Club had the honor of featuring local and national jazz legends like the late – Trumpeter Bobby Sanchez, Pianist James Williams, Pianist & Vocalist Shirley Horn, pianist John Hicks, Trumpeter Malachi Thompson, Pianist Kenny Kirkland, Bassist Keter Betts, Vocalist Nap “Don’t Forget The Blues” Turner, Pianists – Cyrus Chestnut, Randy Weston, Kenny Werner, Barry Harris, Harold Mabern, Mulgrew Miller, Larry Willis, Allyn Johnson, Walter Bishop, Jr., Marc Cary, Kenny Drew, Jr., George Colligan, Ron Elliston, Bob Butta, Benito Gonzalez, Saxophonists- David “Fathead” Newman, Joe Ford, Sonny Fortune, Frank Morgan, Oliver Lake, Gary Bartz, Bruce Williams, David Murray, Antonio Parker, Antonio Hart, Buck Hill, Tim Warfield, Andrew White, Frank Morgan, Charles Gayle, Hamiet Bluiett, Rene McLean, Charles Davis, Cecil Payne, Azar Lawrence, Marshall Allen. Drummers- Nasar Abadey, Andrew Cyrille, Billy Hart, Winard Harper, Rashied Ali, Steve Williams, Lenny Robinson, Aaron Walker, Kahil El’Zabar, Vocalists- Grady Tate, Nancy Wilson, Sharon Clark, Ronnie Wells, Miles Griffith, Melissa Walker, Bassists- Reggie Workman, Butch Warren, Cecil McBee, James King, Steve Novosel, Michael Bowie, Herman Burney, Cheney Thomas, Trumpeters Charles Tolliver, Roy Hargrove, Nicholas Payton, Alex Norris, Michael Thomas, Trombonists Frank Lacy, Reginald Cyntje, Joanna Pascale. Poets- Amiri and Amina Baraka, Multi-instrumentalist and Jazz Educator Brother Ah, Trumperter Valery Ponomarev and other luminaries.

Twins Lounge closed in 1999 due to building condemnation, and re-opened in 2000 as Twins Jazz Club along the famous U Street Corridor, also known as The Black Broadway of the 1960s. Twins Jazz perpetuates and cultivates “authentic” straight-ahead traditional jazz while uniquely incorporating fine dining, featuring a combination of American, Ethiopian and Caribbean cuisine in a warm embracing atmosphere. We are a laidback club that attracts major artists like music legend Stevie Wonder (2007), and other significant clientele. We have attracted significant national media recognition from The Washington Post, Washington Times, Boston Globe, New York Times, USA Today, Essence Magazine, Southern Living, WUSA Channel 9, Afro-American, Washington City Paper, Washington Express, Hilltop, Washingtonian, Downbeat’s “Top 100 Jazz Clubs in the World”, in addition to being voted AOL City Guide’s “Best Live Music Clubs” in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. More recently, Twins received the 2009 Best of Washington Award in the Eating Places category by the US Commerce Association.

Twins Jazz strives to not only be a jazz venue, but a social and economic force in the local and regional community via our newly formed Twins Jazz Foundation. We not only feature popular, staple jazz artists, but also offer opportunities for young, aspiring musical talents attending Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Georgetown University, Howard University, Catholic University, American University, University of Maryland College Park and Baltimore, George Washington University, Shenandoah University, and other surrounding area schools. Music students are encouraged to participate in our weekly jam sessions, to learn their craft from more experienced musicians. We aim to bring greater appreciation and understanding of jazz from traditional to the contemporary, via festivals, forums and workshops.