Arts Desk

Big Band Jazz Returns to Bohemian Caverns

Bohemian Caverns

Monday nights have been dark at Bohemian Caverns since the demise of the Thad Wilson Jazz Orchestra last fall. But that's about to change: Omrao Brown, co-owner and booker for the venerable jazz club, and baritone saxophonist Brad Linde have just finalized plans to resurrect Big Band Mondays. This time, however, it will be starring the brand new Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra.

"It seems to be coming together quickly," says Linde, who is responsible for the band's genesis along with trumpeter Joe Herrera. "'We'll launch the band in April to tie it in with Jazz Appreciation Month and the Cherry Blossoms." The official debut will be one month from today: Monday, April 19.

The band has big ambitions. The artistic direction will be collectively construed; members can contribute original material and the author of a piece will conduct the band through its performance. The band will also work with an enormous repertoire of classic jazz compositions and arrangements that the members have collected through their various other projects.

"I am so excited. Each week we'll be doing different stuff," says trumpeter Mark Chuvala. "Maybe different periods, like this Monday Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra presents the Music of Thad Jones. Next week, Stan Kenton and Bob Mintzer."

"It's great news," adds tenor saxophonist Elijah Balbed. "The scene is too strong not to have a house big band."

Full personnel for BCJO:

Brent Birckhead, alto saxophone
Sarah Hughes, alto saxophone
Elijah Balbed, tenor saxophone
Charles Phaneuf, tenor saxophone
Brad Linde, baritone saxophone

Mark Chuvala, trumpet
Joe Herrera, trumpet
DeAndre' Shaifer, trumpet
Ekwueme John Williams, trumpet

Greg Boyer, trombone
Dupor Georges, trombone
Steve Shaw, trombone

Amy Bormet, piano
Rodney Richardson, guitar
Eric Harper, bass*
Dave McDonald, drums*

*For the debut gig on April 19th, Zack Pride and Larry Ferguson will be filling in for Harper and McDonald, respectively.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
  • Maryam

    Huge news and great news for DC, to finally have a house big band. And no surprise that Bohemian Caverns' Omrao Brown is involved, considering the incredible people they've booked for this spring and summer -- Cedar Walton, Terell Stafford, Winard Harper, Ron Carter, & Marc Cary, among others. This is a club owner who knows what's up with jazz.

  • Brad Linde

    Kudos to Omrao and Bohemian Caverns for the support and dedicated interest in Big Band Monday Nights. This is a great opportunity for the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra to develop and serve the community at the club and beyond. The band will not be just a dance band, or just a repertory band, but will explore a variety of large ensemble literature and create unique shows to feature the many talents of the members. The reeds won't be the only ones doubling-Amy Bormet will get the chance to play accordion on some of Maria Schneider's extended works (with Alex Shubert at the piano).

    The repertoire will not only come from Kenton, Basie, and Ellington, but also Monk, Thornhill, Nelson, Mingus, Bormet, Georges, Herrera, and any member that wants to contribute to the sound of the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra. Big ambitions, big talent, and big love will make this band a success.

  • Cisneros

    This sounds fantastic. How much will it cost for someone to check this out on a Monday night?

  • Howard Williams

    I recently passed by the Bohemian Caverns and it looked like the name has changed. What gives?

  • Stevek

    I think the restaurant/food part might be using a different name.

  • Pingback: Rumors of Its Death… - Arts Desk - Washington City Paper

  • Pingback: Live review | Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra: Monarchs of Monday night 9.20.10 | CapitalBop