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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.