Posted by: Andrew | March 3, 2009

Cave closes!

So, in a HUGE blow to the Portland jazz scene, many musicians (including myself), and everyone’s good humor (not to mention Alan Jones’ cell phone bill), The Cave , Portland’s newest jazz club, has been visited by the fire marshall and shut down due to the low ceiling!  Here’s what they sent to the email list:

By order of the fire marshal, The Cave and the Green Onion must close their doors. Ironically, one of the very things that made The Cave so warm, inviting, atmospheric, and acoustically fantastic is also the thing that caused the fire marshal to cringe… the low, exposed beam ceiling.

In the 10 months The Cave has been open, it’s been our mission to invite the most innovative, original and simply great musicians there are, to create art in front of us. In this I believe we have been staggeringly successful.

Staggeringly successful is not an understatement – in a very short period of time, at least in my opinion, the club has done a lot to revitalize the scene in Portland, presenting consistently high quality and uncompromising shows and building up an impressive regular audience and (as you can see on their site) a very impressive roster of locally and nationally known musicians who have played there.  A lot of this is thanks to master drummer Alan Jones, who started the club and who worked tirelessly to promote it and bring in high quality performers.  Alan was one of my early musical inspirations and remains one of my favorite musicians in any genre, anywhere in the world.

It seems that, in the past number of years, more clubs have closed than opened – Jazz De Opus, Brasserie Montmartre, the Blue Monk (well they’re still open but don’t have music anymore)…but still we press onward.  Despite all this, I have hope for several reasons:

1. Though I am often criticized for being negative, I remain perhaps overly optimistic at heart about music and the music scene…
2. If anyone will find a way to reopen their club and continue to present music, it’s Alan Jones.  Incidentally, my dad (click here to see some of his photos of my kora band at the Cave in memorium) stopped by the club yesterday and talked to the owners, who said they are already working on new possibilities, so in the long run, things will probably not only reopen but even improve…
3.  The motivation of young jazz musicians in town is remarkable and very slowly I sense that the scene is coalescing into something more coherent and, therefore, weilding more power.  I dream of one day starting both a label and a concert series and furthering this effort of solidifying the “scene.”  Incidentally, Andrew Durkin and I have been having an interesting dialogue on this.  More later.

Perhaps I am being a bit too dramatic about this, as I’m sure that Alan will reopen the club (see #2), but events like this always cause one to sit back and reflect on what’s going on with jazz, the local scene, the national scene, etc.  Meanwhile there’s still lots of great music going on in Portland so don’t sit holed up in your house!  Live music is still one of the most affordable sources of entertainment out there, even during a recession!



  1. I appreciate your incorporation of block quotes into the text.

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