Mwenso & The Shakes are an irrepressible musical force of global artists who merge a formidable timeline of jazz and blues expression through African and Afro American music. Immigrating from Sierra Leone, London, South Africa, Greenwich Village, Madagascar, France, Jamaica, and Hawaii the Shakes all now call Harlem their home. Taking from the stylings of Fats Waller, Muddy Waters, James Brown, Sun Ra, Randy Weston and many other American musical legends, the group is best experienced live. Now, after touring the world and building a fan base, all without a recording, they have decided to finally capture their inimitable live show back where they feel most at home, at Creative Alliance.
Led by Sierra Leone born, London-raised, and New York-based front man and ring leader, Michael Mwenso, who the New York Times calls “a fervid vocalist and full-bore entertainer”, Mwenso & The Shakes take a past meets future meets distant future approach to jazz. As Mwenso states in a recent JazzTimes article, “We’ve figured out how to play funk grooves and African music in a way that still holds up the deepest elements of jazz and swing,” he said. “Joy is the human element of swing; jazz that isn’t joyful is just something else that’s happening. We’re trying to fulfill the spirit of Louis Armstrong and those people, we want to protect what they held up, and guard it and bow and give reverence to them—but also to be free within ourselves.” This freedom shines in their live show- a revue which includes tap dance, multiple vocalists (including the brilliant Vuyo Satashe), a full horn section and a rock-solid rhythm section.
THU & FRI, MAR 14-15 | 8PM | $15, $12 MEMBERS (+$3 at the door)
This engagement is made possible through the Jazz Touring Network program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.