Mehari Weldemariam, Columbia Station’s manager, has weighed in on Butch Warren’s dismissal from the Adams Morgan venue’s performance schedule. The long and short of it: It was a business decision. “We have to keep things fresh,” says Weldemariam. “When you have the same people playing over and over again, you don’t get the same size crowds coming in all the time. We just needed something new. Nothing against Butch or Peter or anyone else in the band—-we love them and respect them.” Weldemariam adds that Warren’s pianist Peter Edelman still has his own gig at the club on Sunday nights, as well as a Sunday afternoon jam session that has occasionally featured Warren on bass.
Still, it does seem odd that Columbia Station’s stated desire for new blood was such that they fired the Butch Warren Experience without having a replacement locked in for their Wednesday and Saturday nights. Saxophonist Brad Linde indicates that last Saturday, he was approached to play that evening as the club was “looking for a band for the night.”
Linde declined. Instead, he has booked his nonet, the Brad Linde Ensemble, at Blues Alley for the night of Tuesday, Oct. 19—-with Warren in tow. Linde says the gig is “to help Butch out and to give him more visibility….We’re playing my arrangements of Butch’s tunes.” (Warren has about nine compositions to work with, some from his time at Blue Note and some new.) There’s even the promise of coverage by NBC. Warren, it seems, has friends in high places.