WASHINGTON—Moments after the five-piece band capped off a hard bop-inflected rendition of “Hail To The Chief,” the inauguration crowd reportedly politely cheered along Wednesday as Sen. Pat Toomey’s jazz combo played the opening set before the swearing-in of Joe Biden. “Yeah, Toomey’s band definitely isn’t as tight as some of the pro ensembles on the D.C. club scene, but when Mitch McConnell gets a chance to blow on that horn, it’s kind of surprising how well he can wail,” said D.C. resident Gregory Shaw, pausing to snap along to Pat Toomey’s Quintet as a feather porkpie–bedecked Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) traded off clarinet solos with Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI). “I guess I didn’t need to hear another cover of ‘My Funny Valentine,’ and sure, some of the fusion stuff they’re doing isn’t really up my alley. But they’re clearly really into this stuff. Apparently they practice all the time over in Richard Burr’s basement, so it’s nice that the inaugural team gave them a chance to work on their chops. I just wish they’d stop plugging their CDs between every song.” At press time, the crowd had started booing after the band abruptly switched gears into a cover of John Coltrane’s free jazz opus Kulu Sé Mama.
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