Des McMahon: When jazz classics meet the turntables

On most nights, Rumor and Chris’ Jazz Cafe seem much farther apart than the block that separates them. At one, sweat-drenched crowds dance to electronic beats; at the other, diners quietly appreciate classic acoustic jazz sounds.

On Friday, however, the two will be connected by blood, as Rumor hosts the hometown debut of DJ/producer Des McMahon, whose father, Alan McMahon, has booked the music at Chris’ for more than 15 years.

“I sometimes forget how much my dad has influenced me in doing this,” says Des, currently in his last semester at American University in Washington, D.C. “I’m just realizing recently how the stuff he pushed into my ears as a kid is starting to catch up to me now.”

The most vivid example is his recent single “Urban Chords,” which features longtime Chris’ regular Tony Miceli playing vibraphone over a McMahon-created beat. “I listen to computer-processed music all day long,” Des says, “so sometimes it’s nice to go back and listen to a record that my dad gave me, an old Miles Davis CD or something like that.”

As for the proud father, Alan McMahon says that he and his wife never pushed their sons into music, but that “when you come into our house, there’s always music.” And even though his son’s music is markedly different from his own tastes, Alan says, “I love the passion that he has for what he’s doing.”

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