See the previous week's performances.  January 11-January 18, 2012 See the next week's performances.

See the previous week's performances. January, 2012 See the next week's performances.
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* Cover is given where known

* There is a one-drink
minimum per set
* Reservations for shows downstairs can only be made by phone:


Paintings by EDWARD CHING

All art is for sale. Please inquire

Wednesday Jan 11
Robin Hirsch
JEWFEST: The Cafe and the Jewish Question image
Our Minister of Culture/Wine Czar/Dean of Faculty kicks off our January Jewish Jamboree with a reading from his memoir-in-progress, THE WHOLE WORLD PASSES THROUGH: Stories from the Cornelia Street Cafe.

What happens when a Wandering Jew stops wandering? At the end of LAST DANCE AT THE HOTEL KEMPINSKI, Robin's earlier memoir, our hero had found a measure of peace, had even, for want of a better word, settled down. He had married, produced two children, and however tentatively, begun to explore the notion of home...

But the notion of home, for a Wandering Jew, is a complex one. For Robin, it includes, most tenderly, the Cornelia Street Café, which he opened in 1977 together with two other artists, an Irish-American actor and an Argentinean-Italian-Canadian painter and sculptor. Over the last thirty-four years it has been a home not just for three starving artists, as they then appeared to themselves to be, but for a whole host of performers: from Carolyne Mas and The Songwriters Exchange to Eve Ensler and the Vagina Monologues, from Nobel Laureate Roald Hoffmann to Poet Laureate Billy Collins, from Senator Eugene McCarthy reading his poetry to neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks reading his prose, from members of Monty Python to members of the Royal Shakespeare Company, from comedians to cellists, from stiltwalkers to ventriloquists. And for all kinds of civilians and celebrities.

Amid the turmoil of this passing throng, however, the sheer act of standing still after half a lifetime of wandering allows our hero, an exile from his native country, in which his parents were themselves exiles, to sift the nuances of arrivals and departures, of family and community, of longing and fulfillment, of exile and homecoming. And all this in a city where to stand still at all is at once an achievement and an act of betrayal.

In 1987, on its 10th anniversary, New York's Mayor Koch proclaimed the Cornelia Street Café "a culinary as well as a cultural landmark."

In THE WHOLE WORLD PASSES THROUGH: Stories from the Cornelia Street Café, Robin Hirsch picks up the personal history begun in Last Dance and finds in the midst of a myriad of other people's stories the continuation of his own.

$15 includes a drink

Kris Davis, piano;  Matt Maneri, viola;  Oscar Noriega, bass clarinet, clarinet;  Michael Formanek, bass;  Ches Smith, drums
Kris Davis Quintet image
Davis has presented her music at Cornelia Street Cafe for the past 10 years and this concert celebrates that anniversary. For the special occasion she is presenting this exciting new ensemble and a collection of new compositions. "Over the last couple of years in New York one method for deciding where to hear jazz on a given night has been to track down the pianist Kris Davis."--Ben Ratliff, NY Times

$10 cover plus $10 minimum

Jan 12
Peri Smilow, vocals;  Ed Alstrom, piano, musical direction
JEWFEST: The Great (Jewish) American Songbook! image
Peri Smilow sings The Great (Jewish) American Songbook: An evening of Gershwin, Kern, Rodgers, Sondheim and the magic that brought Jews to create the "sound" of this country!

Peri Smilow uses music to make the world better. As an international performing artist, composer, educator and activist she has a unique ability to move people of all ages, building on her talent, passion, and commitment to community to create social change.

Peri’s music and message of tikkun olam have been heard throughout the US, Canada, England, Singapore and Israel. She has served as Artist-in-Residence at the World Union for Progressive Judaism’s Connections Conference in Israel (2009) and at the Limmud Conference in England. Peri was commissioned to write and perform a new piece of music in celebration of the release of the WRJ’s The Torah: A Women’s Commentary. She has been a visiting artist at the Reform movement’s summer camps and has served as visiting faculty at the Hava Nashira National Songleader Institute.

Her music is sung widely through the US. She has released four albums of original music including Songs of Peace, Ashrey and The Freedom Music Project featuring an electrifying 18-voice choir of young Black and Jewish singers performing the music of Passover and the Civil Rights Movement. FMP was nominated Best Gospel Album of the Year by the Just Plain Folks Music Awards and was featured on NBC and ABC TV and on NPR and Voice of America radio.

Peri’s most recent release, Blessings draws on Peri’s experience as cancer survivor, wife and mother and celebrates the importance of her relationships with loved ones, friends, community and faith. Blessings was co-produced by Grammy-award winner Ben Wisch.

As an added bonus, she is being accompanied tonight by Ed Alstrom, who steals away from his regular gig as the weekend organist at Yankee Stadium

$15.00 includes a drink

Jamie Baum, flutes;  Amir Elsaffar, trumpet;  Douglas Yates, alto sax, bass clarinet;  Brad Shepik, guitar;  John Escreet, piano;  Zack Lober, bass;  Jeff Hirshfield, drums
While award-winning jazz flutist/composer Jamie Baum has been known for her classically-influenced, innovative compositions, her latest project reflects her several trips to South Asia where she had many opportunities to learn and perform with musicians there. Like her earlier projects, her goal isn’t to perform with stylistic authenticity, but to communicate the excitement, spirit and energy felt and heard in those forms in a modern jazz context.

$10 cover plus $10 minimum

Jamie Baum Septet image
Jan 13
Adam Larson, saxophones;  Michael Rodriguez, trumpet;  Adam Kromelow, piano;  Martin Nevin, bass;  Jason Burger, drums
The Adam Larson Quintet image

Having performed at several venues throughout the city, saxophonist Adam Larson makes his debut at Cornelia St. with a formidable arrangement of his quintet. Showcasing original compositions from Larson and his fellow bandmates, the quintet eagerly awaits the opportunity to share their music with you, for what is sure to be a great night!

$10.00 cover plus $10.00 minimum

Ellery Eskelin, tenor saxophone;  Gary Versace, organ;  Gerald Cleaver, drums
Ellery Eskelin Trio image Scott Friedlander
Inspired by his mother "Bobbie Lee" who played Hammond B3 organ professionally in Baltimore in the early sixties, veteran saxophonist Ellery Eskelin explores the organ trio format with stellar bandmates Gary Versace and Gerald Cleaver. Come check out this NYC weekend engagement as the band prepares for their first European tour.

"...brilliant and consummately versatile..." --Time Out New York

$15 cover plus $10 minimum

Jan 14
Maria Lisella, Gil Fagiani, hosts

Tony Iovino John Keahey
The Italian American Writers Association (IAWA) Doors open 5:45 pm, arrive before 6pm to sign up for open reading.

Tonight's program: Murder, Mayhem and a Love of Sicily

$7.00 includes a drink

Ellery Eskelin, tenor saxophone;  Gary Versace, organ;  Gerald Cleaver, drums
Ellery Eskelin Trio image Scott Friedlander
Inspired by his mother "Bobbie Lee" who played Hammond B3 organ professionally in Baltimore in the early sixties, veteran saxophonist Ellery Eskelin explores the organ trio format with stellar bandmates Gary Versace and Gerald Cleaver. Come check out this NYC weekend engagement as the band prepares for their first European tour.

"...brilliant and consummately versatile..." --Time Out New York

$15 cover plus $10 minimum

Jan 15
Malesha Jessie, host


Hosted by Malesha Jessie, soprano, whom TimeOut Magazine calls the Punk Diva. Come hear live operatic singing in a cabaret setting sprinkled with comedy and an urban edge. Singers who wish to participate in the evening should write Malesha at to ensure a slot.

Composers, collaborators, and experimental operatic acts are welcome!

$10.00 cover plus $10.00 minimum

Citlalli Guevara, piano;  Slavina Zhelezova, piano
Dance on the Keys: from Waltz to Tango: featuring works by Brahms, Mozart, Rachmaninov, Ravel and Piazzolla

The critically acclaimed Guevara-Zhelezova piano duo is known for its dynamic interpretations, energetic stage performances and original programming. The duo combines the cultural heritages and temperaments of Latin America and Eastern Europe and is committed to bringing a vast repertoire ranging from Baroque to newly commissioned works to audiences of all ages all over the world.

$10.00 cover plus $10.00 minimum

Classical At The Cornelia: Dance On The Keys image
Jan 16
Ted Jonathan, host

Yu Yan Chen Joe Weil Fred Yannantuono

Fine poets, great journal.

$ 7 includes a drink

John Morrison, host

Wyatt Cenac Dave Hill Dan Nainan Leslie Goshko Zero Boy Rock Albers
John Morrison hosts Wyatt Cenac, Dave Hill, Dan Nainan, Leslie Goshko, Zero Boy & Rock Albers.

"One of the city's best alt-comedy shows." – The NY Post

"Critic's Pick" – TimeOut NY

"Works for me." – Morrison

$20 Door (includes one drink) Cash only.

Jan 17
Elizabeth Eiel, soprano;  Melissa Gerstein, mezzo-soprano;  Christina Rosas, mezzo-soprano;  Courtenay Schowalter, soprano
Voices Of Women Quartet:

The Voices of Women (VOW) quartet is comprised of four classically trained, professionally diverse singers: Elizabeth Eiel (Soprano), Melissa Gerstein (Mezzo-Soprano), Christina Rosas (Mezzo-Soprano) and Courtenay Schowalter (Soprano). They are making their debut at the cafe, featuring a variety of favorite love songs to keep you warm this winter.

The group will featuring quartets, trios, duets and solos of composers such as Sondheim, Bernstein, Flaherty, Weill, Porter and more!

VOW’s most recent recital program centered on taking the recital out of the recital by presenting a cabaret review at the Singers Forum in Manhattan. The recital titled Loss & Find is comprised of American Art songs by well-known composers such as Lee Hoiby, Ricky Ian Gordon, Ned Rorem and Aaron Copland, along with the works of some not so well known composers, Richard Hageman and Amy Beach. The recital explored the path that each singer has taken in her musical journey and how the paths of music and life often intersect with one another. VOW also performed two quartets commissioned by contemporary composer Richard Pearson Thomas, and also featured local New York City composers Joseph Turrin and Lori Laitman.

The Voices of Women (VOW) have performed with many noted American opera companies and orchestras including Opera Colorado, American Singers Opera Project, Chelsea Opera, Opera Company of Brooklyn, Garden State Opera, Bronx Opera, Amato Opera, New Jersey Symphony, the Hillyer Festival Orchestra, and Opera Boston. The artists hold advanced degrees from such esteemed institutions as Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory, University of Michigan, Middle Tennessee State University, and S.U.N.Y. Purchase.

$10.00 cover plus $10.00 minimum

Peter Evans, trumpet, piccolo trumpet, composition;  Carlos Homs, piano;  Tom Blancarte, bass;  Jim Black, drums
The Peter Evans Quartet image
The Peter Evans Quartet has existed in various incarnations since 2005. Tonight's configuration has been working together since 2010 and recorded "Ghosts" as a quintet with Sam Pluta on electronics. This evening's concert will feature an exploration of composed material which violently reworks standard 20th century song structures, including Mel Torme's "The Christmas Song" and Strayhorn's "Take the A Train".

$10 cover plus $10 minimum

Wednesday Jan 18
Daniel Cainer
JEWFEST: Jewish Chronicles image Gary Daniell
Stories in song written and performed by the "Comic Bard of Anglo Jewry"

Daniel Cainer is a London-based composer, songwriter and broadcaster of topical songs. Having paid very little attention to his cultural heritage until now, his show Jewish Chronicles is a genuine reflection of his current mid-life kosher-crisis.

Jewish Chronicles has sold out theatres in London's West End, the Edinburgh Festival, Melbourne and Sydney. His acutely observed songs are full of wry humour and he is not afraid of controversy. His journey through Jewish culture covers true tales of feuding tailors, a young woman who elopes with the leader of a fundamentalist Christian cult, a coke-dealing rabbi, a drive through the West Bank courtesy of a faulty GPS system, and the hilarious, adulterous adventures of his own parents . . .

"With his stories within stories, Cainer reminds me of Buñuel . . . if Buñuel had been Jewish and born in England . . ." Alan Bennett

"Brilliant and Brave" Australia Stage

"Very funny, very moving" UK Daily Mail

$15 includes a drink

Loren Stillman, alto saxophone;  Russ Lossing, piano
Loren Stillman/Russ Lossing Duo image
Saxophonist and composer from Brooklyn, Loren Stillman is hailed as a writer and a stylist that has found a previously unoccupied slot in the jazz spectrum. He's been recognized as one of today's truly original creative voices by publications such as The New York Times, Downbeat Magazine, Jazziz and Jazz Times as well as by National Public Radio. A former student of Lee Konitz and David Liebman, Stillman has performed and recorded throughout the United States and Europe and Japan with his own ensembles, and with those led by Charlie Haden, Carla Bley, Paul Motian, John Abercrombie, Andy Milnes DAPP Theory, Eivind Opsviks Overseas, Tyshawn Soreys Obliquity, Vic Juris Quartet and The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.

Russ Lossing is a provocative, fresh leader in creating alternatives to long held conceptions in music. His individual voice, as a pianist, teacher and composer, is sought out as an authority in the jazz and avant-garde fields emerging in music today. He's has composed over 300 works and is in special demand as a world class jazz pianist and improviser. Lossing has seven CDs as leader and is featured on over 30 other CDs as sideman and collaborator with world acclaimed musicians such as Paul Motian, Dave Liebman, John Abercrombie, Mat Maneri and Mark Dresser. He has composed 21 film scores from avant-garde shorts to full length documentaries for PBS, BBC and world broadcast performances, as well as dramatic features both foreign and domestic. He has numerous television and live radio performances and interviews in the U.S.A. and Europe relative to his distinction as a performer and composer.

Tonight's performance promises to be an adventure into musical territory both expansive and introspective, not to be missed by those with a cutting-edge sensibility.

$10 cover plus $10 minimum


Drum kit donated by

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Cover is given where known
Many spoken words events are free
There is always a one-drink minimum per set; times are door opening times