Back in 2006 I was finishing up one of my recording projects and wanted to plan a CD release, I choose Bohemian Caverns because of the vibe and it was a fresh new venue on the scene. It had been around for a couple of years but that’s about the time Omrao Brown had taken over operations. Omrao had pledged to keep traditional jazz at the forefront of the venue’s booking and it was exciting to have another venue for jazz in the heart of the growing U Street corridor.
I had my CD release there and several other performances including performances with Maya Azucena and Cynda Williams and I would always drop by to check out other artists and sit in. One particular time stands out. I went down to check out Antonio Hart and he was allowing musicians the opportunity to sit in but little did everyone know what came with the offer. Antonio started taking songs through the keys and of course folks were thinking twice about sitting in.
These and many other performances were commonplace at Bohemian Caverns and it has been a real treat to be a part of the legacy of a venue that goes back to the days of Duke Ellington. It is sad to hear that the place is closing but I do understand the politics of the situation and why things are the way they are. Thanks Omrao for your stewardship of this historic institution and for giving jazz in all its forms a place to grow and flourish.