For 90 years, with a few interruptions, Bohemian Caverns served as a hub for the D.C. jazz community. When the Caverns’ closure made the news in March, musicians and listeners across the country understood that they were losing more than a jazz club; they were losing a musical home, a place where they could come to find inspiration and support.

To recognize the loss of that storied resource, WPFW 89.3 FM, D.C.’s “jazz and justice” radio station, hosted a concert and awards ceremony honoring the Caverns’ final owner and manager, Omrao Brown, at Bethesda Blues and Jazz on Monday, July 11. The event, coordinated by WPFW Local Station Board Chair Olayimika Cole and Desiree Samira of DSE Live, also served as the latest in the station’s consistent stream of fundraising efforts.

But despite the sobering circumstances of the event, no pallor hung in the room; the focus of the night was celebration. Each speaker, presenter and musician had their own story to share or sentiment to offer, but each contributed to the night’s greater narrative. Throughout, an invisible spotlight was on the role Brown had played for the past decade, fostering a broader network of connections within the D.C. jazz community. [read more]