Off Stage – Wednesday Night Music Series – Michael Mwenso and Members of The Shakes
Host of Harlem 100, Michael Mwenso was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone but spent his teenage years hanging out at the legendary jazz club Ronnie Scott’s in London where he was exposed to musicians such as Benny Carter, Elvin Jones, Ray Brown and Billy Higgins. In his youth, Mwenso started honing his talents as a trombonist, singer and performer playing in jump bands, reggae and Afrobeat horn sections and at hard-bop sessions. Mwenso’s talent as a performer caught the attention of many, which subsequently led him to meet James Brown who allotted space for him to sing and dance at his London shows. In 2012, friend and jazz musician Wynton Marsalis brought Mwenso to New York City to serve as curator and programming associate at Jazz at Lincoln Center where he also booked nightly sets at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. Over the next few years, Mwenso booked and performed with the likes of Cécile McLorin Salvant, Jon Batiste, Aaron Diehl, Sullivan Fortner and Jamison Ross. Through these performances at Dizzy’s, Mwenso began to collaborate with a wide variety of Juilliard trained musicians that soon became known as The Shakes. This unique group of global artists presents music that merges entertainment and artistry with a formidable timeline of jazz and blues through African and Afro-American music.
You can make your gift here:
But – first and foremost, just come listen for as long or as little as you desire.
ABOUT HARLEM 100 (coming to Spruce Peak Arts Oct 2, 2020!)
Created in collaboration with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem and JMG Live, this multi-media show captures the sights and sounds of Harlem when legendary artists such as Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Langston Hughes and Billie Holiday made Harlem the cultural center of the country. Led by Michael Mwenso, Harlem 100 presents the most exciting Harlem musicians and dancers in a modern variety show, and pays homage to the presentations made famous in the Apollo Theater, the Cotton Club and other celebrated venues of the Harlem Renaissance.
ABOUT MEMBERS OF THE SHAKES
Vuyo Sotashe– Young South African jazz vocalist Vuyo Sotashe is making his mark in the New York jazz scene. He won the very first Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival Vocal Competition, the Audience Prize Award at the Shure Montreux Jazz Voice Competition, and was the very first male vocalist ever to place in the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Vocal competition’s finals.
Kyle Poole– Hailed by Jazz Speaks as a “young prodigious drummer”, Los Angeles native Kyle Poole has been residing in New York City since 2011 and continues to impress wherever his drums take him next. Along with his band of fellow NY jazz upstarts aptly titled “Poole & the Gang”, Kyle has performed in New York’s most esteemed jazz clubs, notably Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola & SMOKE Jazz, culminating in a weekly residency at Small’s Jazz Club lasting nearly 3 years. One of Poole’s chief missions, is to expand jazz’s audience by incorporating all dance styles of music, reaching back to ragtime & bebop, while forging ahead all the way to funk, hip-hop & beyond. With the constant fluctuation of genre, rhythm & harmony, “Poole & the Gang” connects these musical dots in a uniquely improvised fashion, while audiences worldwide are delighted to simply, “go with the flow”.