Jazz in the Cave: Michael Mwenso & Friends

St. George's Episcopal Church, Manhattan

By Andrew Andrews

Michael Mwenso & Friends perform at Jazz in the Cave

Olmstead Salon’s Jazz in the Cave is one of our favorite monthly events. As we’ve reviewed before, it’s a cool little monthly concert series in a very cool place: the somewhat-spooky basement of St. George’s Church. The series aims to connect culture with community in Gramercy the second Friday of each month, filling the space between the thick stone walls and box beam ceiling with sounds that range from soulful to funky.

Tonight’s episode featured the music of Michael Mwenso and Friends, an unusual ensemble because it included not only the piano, bass, guitar, vocals, drums and horns, but also a tap dancer—specifically, Michela Marino Lerman—who contributed as much to the sound of the performance as to its visual appeal. Many of the other band members are part of Mwenso’s group The Shakes, and their top-notch performance, was, as always, worth the price of admission (especially when you deduct the value of the free beer, wine, soft drinks and snacks). Both the 7pm and 9:30pm performances were packed full of jazz lovers of varied demographics, which contributes to the positive vibe that always comes with this event.

The earlier show skews somewhat to a more mature audience, with more of the college crowd turning up for the later show. If you want a seat, either show up early for the first set, or wait until the second; if you’re willing to stand, show up anytime and catch both rounds!

Andrew Andrews attended Jazz in the Cave: Michael Mwenso & Friends at St. George's Episcopal Church in Manhattan on Friday, January 13, 2017 @ 7:00pm to write this review.