News | Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra announces special Christmas shows (AUDIO)

Brent Birckhead solos on alto saxophone Monday night, as baritone saxophonist Brad Linde and the rest of the orchestra play behind him. Giovanni Russonello/CapitalBop

by Giovanni Russonello
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The Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, a CapitalBop darling, will play a pair of special-edition Christmas shows next month, its leaders announced Monday.

On Dec. 13 and 20, D.C.’s one and only house big band will perform selections from Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite, leaders Joe Herrera and Brad Linde told CapitalBop. They’ll also play charts from Stan Kenton and Thad Jones, and Herrera, who plays trumpet, is working on his own “non-traditional” arrangement of “Silent Night.”

The BCJO’s bargain-basement cover charge of $7 will tick up to $15 for the Christmas shows. But Linde, a baritone saxophonist, said the group is considering dishing out a $5 discount to listeners who bring canned goods or stuffed animals to donate to charity.

The 17-piece big band, which plays every Monday night at Bohemian Caverns on U Street, has already started rehearsing the holiday material. Its members are used to breezing through charts on first read, so it’ll be exciting to hear them on well-worn arrangements.

The BCJO announced the Christmas shows during this past Monday’s show, which featured performances of Duke Ellington’s swingin’ classic “Blue Cellophane” and Bob Brookmeyer’s lush arrangement of “Skylark.”

Stream or download two recordings from past BJCO performances below (courtesy Brad Linde).

In a Mellow Tone – Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra (mp3)
Blues for Red – Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra (mp3)

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