How MilkBoy is Reviving Jazz on Route 1

MilkBoy ArtHouse in College Park has given new life to jazz on the Route 1 corridor.

The Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, a well-known D.C. jazz ensemble, recently began a residency at MilkBoy through an artist partner program run by the University of Maryland.

The new location is part of a broader trend in D.C. jazz, which has seen smaller clubs in outlying areas pick up the slack as some major institutions downtown ran into trouble. The Washington Post recently highlighted MilkBoy as part of this trend:

Music venues outside the established jazz neighborhoods are picking up slack. College Park’s MilkBoy ArtHouse finds room for jazz musicians as part of a monthly “visiting artist” series, amid its schedule of Sublime tribute bands and amateur comedy nights.

Aside from Bohemian Caverns, MilkBoy has also hosted such acts as the Sirius Quartet and René Marie, as part of a mix of genres and performers that is broader than the Post story suggests.

And it’s all part of a wider renaissance of live performance along Route 1. Busboys and Poets in Hyattsville has a popular open mic for spoken word performers on Thursday nights, while the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation in Riverdale Park has a long-running blues open mic each month. The soon-to-close Robert Harper Books in Riverdale Park has hosted live music regularly, while those willing to travel a little farther can see performances at the New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt.

The area has a rich musical history too, with venues such as the former Sis’ Tavern in North Brentwood, which once hosted the likes of Duke Ellington and Pearl Bailey.

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