While catching up with Bohemian Caverns’ co-owner and talent booker Omrao Brown before tonight’s Curtis Fullergig (a packed house, by the way), he reminded me that in 2011, the U Street jazz anchor turns 85 years old.
It’s true. It was 1926 when Club Caverns opened in a dark, windowless basement on the corner of 11th and U Streets, beneath what was then a neighborhood drug store. It was a speakeasy, all right —- one that survived the Depression, the repeal of prohibition, two name changes, and at least half a dozen stylistic shifts in the jazz music it presented. Indeed, it thrives —- as 2010 enters the home stretch, the Caverns stands as the core of DC’s jazz scene, and routinely attracts the best local and national acts to be found in this city.
So, says Brown, he’s beginning plans now for a yearlong celebration at the club, with a marathon of top-tier acts. Many of these are still too early in the planning stages to discuss, but he did mention two names as bookings-in-progress. One is Yusef Lateef, the multi-instrumentalist/spiritualist/pioneer in bringing Eastern sounds into jazz. The other merits all the same descriptors, as well as that of “icon of the avant-garde.” Let’s just say his name starts with P and ends with haroah Sanders.
Stay tuned, folks.