Olmstead Salon Jazz in the Cave Readings Christmas Tapestry

By Andrew Andrews

Brianna Paolino leads the St George’s choir and Jazz Conceptions Orchestra performing "Mary Did You Know" at Olmsted Salon’s Christmas Tapestry

Jazz in the Cave is a cool little monthly concert series in a very cool place: the dungeon-like basement under the apse of St. George’s Church. It’s part of the Olmsted Salon, a recurring series created to connect culture with community in the Gramercy area and beyond. Every second Friday, the thick stone walls and box beam ceiling resonate with sounds that range from soulful to funky, replaced the following week by Cave Readings, a salon-style presentation of readings from acclaimed writers.

Tonight’s show combined both series into a spectacular special titled Olmsted Salon Presents: Jazz in the Cave + Cave Readings: A Christmas Tapestry. That’s not only a mouthful to say; it also featured mouthfuls of singing from the Calvary-St. George’s Choir—including a passionate rendition of Mary, Did You Know by soloist Brianna Paolino (see photo)—and Christmas stories by renown authors, recited by Cave Readings host Maria Bowler and guests.

Every Jazz in the Cave features a different ensemble, and music this evening was skillfully provided by the Jazz Conceptions Orchestra: Alex Nguyen, Benny Benack III, Eric Miller, Alex LoRe, Jonathan Ragonese, Adam Larson, Glenn Zaleski, Pablo Menares and Jay Sawyer.

Yes, there are countless venues to experience live jazz in New York City, including many that demand a hefty cover charge or a two-drink minimum. At Jazz in the Cave, though, beer and wine (and snacks!) are included in the $15 admission. Yes, you can drink all you want, but remember: you’re technically in a church, so respectful behavior is expected. Which is not to say that you can’t have a great time—the music and the environs will pretty much guarantee it, and despite the venue, nobody here is trying to force their religion on you! So skip the long lines and pretentious crowds in the West Village one Friday night, and head over to the cool cavern at Olmsted Salon for your new favorite night out! 4

Andrew Andrews attended Olmstead Salon Jazz in the Cave Readings Christmas Tapestry at St. George's Episcopal Church in Manhattan on Friday, December 16, 2016 @ 7:30pm to write this review.