See the previous week's performances.  August 06-August 13, 2009 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:


Aug 06
Robin, Angelo, Poul, and David, hosts

This is a monthly opportunity for artists associated with the cafe--from every genre and every generation, past, present, and future--to gather informally, schmooze, re-invent the world, and hoist a glass of quelque chose (the only kind of chose to hoist). Our glorious curators are present, you can buttonhole them to find out what's cooking, you can introduce yourself to other toilers in the vineyard, invent projects and discover collaborators. All are welcome.
Audrey St. Gil, pianist ;  Paul Hecht, actor
Enoch Arden; a Celebration of the 200th Birthday of Alfred, Lord Tennyson image
Enoch Arden with text by Tennyson and score for piano by Richard Strauss.

We have reason to believe this is the only celebration on this side of the pond of Alfred Lord Tennyson's 200th birthday.

"Enoch Arden" is a poem published in 1864 by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, during his tenure as England's Poet Laureate.

The hero of the poem, fisherman turned merchant sailor Enoch Arden, leaves his wife Annie and three children to go to sea with his old captain, who is offering him work.

He finds upon his return from the sea that, after his long absence, his wife, who believed him dead, is married happily to another man, his childhood friend Philip, and has a child by him. .

The story could be considered a variation on and antithesis to the Classical myth of Odysseus, who after an absence of twenty years at sea found a faithful wife who had been loyally waiting for him.

Audrey Saint-Gil was born in Toulouse, France, and attended the Conservatoire National de Musique de Toulouse where she was awarded several first prizes with distinction as a pianist soloist and as a vocal coach. She received as well a PhD from the University of Toulouse. Mrs Saint-Gil has worked as a pianist and vocal coach for several famous opera houses such as Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse, Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, Konzerthaus in Vienna, Carnegie Hall and The Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Paul Hecht has appeared regularly at the Café as the director of the Happy Birthday Poet series. His theatre work includes Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead (Tony nomination 1968),The Invention of Love, 1776, Noises Off ,and Pirandello's Henry IV (Obie award 1990). He appeared in the Stoppard/Previn Theatre piece Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, and Façade (Sitwell/Walton)with the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has recorded audio-books of works by Ray Bradbury, Alexander McCall Smith, and Thomas Mann. He has appeared as several unsavory characters in most of the Daytime Dramas and of course Law and Order.He appears regularly at Symphony Space (Selected Shorts) and the 92nd street Y, where he directed Edna St Vincent Millays poetry play Conversation at Midnight.He performs a program of John Donne and Shakespeare Sonnets with the early music group Parthenia, and reads to 4th and 5th grade students at PS 255 in deepest Brooklyn as part of Screen Actors Guilds Bookpals Program.

 Cover $10

Ben Waltzer, piano;  Matt Penman, bass;  Gerald Cleaver, drums
Ben Waltzer Trio image
This no-nonsense jazz pianist in the Ellington and Monk vein (who has occasionally written for Arts & Leisure) gets a big, ringing sound out of the extreme registers of the instrument; he also takes a decisive stand against the ultra-sensitive, lush-harmony tendency of so many young jazz composers. "One Hundred Dreams Ago" (Fresh Sound), with a trio including the bassist Matt Penman and the drummer Gerald Cleaver, is by far the best thing he's done, but he hasn't been making records for very long.” --NYTimes

“Brilliantly performed…very impressive.”
- Ahmad Jamal, jazz piano legend, of Waltzer's ‘100 Dreams Ago.’

"In the era of concept records, this startling young pianist has flipped the script: the message behind One Hundred Dreams Ago is ‘let's just play.’ Accordingly the trio gets its bustle on. Ellington's small groups are in the air here, and the pleasure Waltzer generates is bountiful.”
- Jim Macnie, the Village Voice
 Cover $10

Aug 07
Kathi Georges, host

The Friday night legendary open mic poetry series.

Arrive before 6 pm to sign up.

This week's feature is Matthew Hubert.

Matthew Hupert is a multi-media artist, a writer, and that rarest of birds - the native new-yorker. He is the Founder of the Neuronautic Institute, Chairman of The NALF (New Amsterdam Liberation Front, which is dedicated to returning new york city back to the dutch) and president of the Norman Bates School of Motel Management. He believes the primary role of the Artist is to be the stick that your Zen master smacks you in the head with. His poetry has been published in "The Formalist", the dadaist journal "Maintenant3", and the Anthology "150 contemporary sonnets." He has self published 4 chapbooks, and has a major book publication coming - that is as soon as one of you publishers get off your ass and approach him.
 Cover $7 (includes one house drink)

David Devoe, host

Andy Bey, voice, piano
Gnu Vox Special: Andy Bey image
After a twenty two year absence from recording Andy Bey returned with four albums that have become a permanent part of the musical landscape. The 2005 Grammy Nominated American Song is a delicious celebration of one of America’s great gifts to the music world: The American Songbook. On his latest release Ain’t Necessarily So Bey brings the energy of live performance to compositions by the gods of American Songwriting. Insiders have always known about Andy Bey. Given his limited output of studio recordings, live performances were the source of Bey’s reputation as singer. Aretha Franklin reminisces about the nights when Andy and The Bey Sisters worked the Village in New York: “Soon as I finished my gig I’d run over to hear them. Andy never got the recognition he deserved . . . jazz originals . . . brilliant and precious.” Like the playground legend who never made it to the NBA, Andy Bey was almost consigned to the fading murmurs of those who caught him in Paris in ‘59, or Birdland in the mid ‘60s. There are few left who remember when Lena, Nina and Carmen crowded into Harlem’s Shalimar to hear Bey light it up. That tantalizing footage of Andy Bey and his sisters delighting a crowd of Parisian partygoers in the Chet Baker documentary Let’s Get Lost, gives us a clue of the years of brilliance that were never committed to vinyl. One can only imagine what we’ve missed. But, we have been blessed with four records that have changed how we think of Jazz vocals. Decades intervened between those after hours below the radar sessions and the 1996 recordings presented on Ain’t Necessarily So. But the vivid performances haven’t dimmed. Like so many before him, British vocalist Jamie Cullum described what it’s like to fall under Bey’s spell: “Andy Bey was at Ronnie Scott’s and I saw him six nights in a row. I got into a huge amount of debt going to see Andy Bey. What I love about him is that he creates an atmosphere. As soon as he opens his mouth, you’re transported to another place.”

 Cover $15

Aug 08
Maria Lisella, Gil Fagiani, hosts

Italian American Writers Association, featured readers are: TBA, plus open mic, 5 minute limit.
 Cover $7 (includes one house drink)
Frank Kimbrough, piano
Piano festival: Frank Kimbrough image
Pianist/composer Frank Kimbrough has been active on New York’s jazz scene for nearly twenty-five years. He is a founding member and composer-in-residence of the Jazz Composers Collective (est. 1992). His work has been cited by the Downbeat Critics Poll each year since 2001, and he has appeared on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz and NPR’s All Things Considered. Frank has released over a dozen recordings as a leader, and has appeared on nearly forty more as a sideman. His most recent CD, Lullabluebye (Palmetto) spent 8 weeks at #2 on the CMJ Jazz Charts in 2004. He has toured extensively, with appearances in the US, Canada, Brazil, England, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and China. Frank’s work has received funding from Meet the Composer, The National Endowment for the Arts and Chamber Music America’s Doris Duke Jazz Ensembles Project. Along with Ben Allison, he co-leads the Collective’s Herbie Nichols Project. As a sideman, he has been a member of the Grammy-winning Maria Schneider Orchestra since 1993, and has also toured and recorded with saxophonists Dewey Redman and Lee Konitz, and with fellow JCC composers-in-residence Ben Allison, Ted Nash, Michael Blake, and Ron Horton, among others. Play, his latest CD featuring drummer Paul Motian and bassist Masa Kamaguchi was released in May 2006 on Palmetto to great acclaim.
 Cover $10
Dan Tepfer, piano
Piano festival - Dan Tepfer, solo piano: Variations on the Goldberg Variations image
Dan Tepfer, solo piano -- The Goldberg Variations, with variations by J.S. Bach and improvised variations by Dan Tepfer

Dan Tepfer, an acclaimed jazz pianist who was recently called 'remarkable' by the Washington Post and praised for his "brilliant career" in the New York Times, has been studying J.S. Bach's classic work, the Goldberg Variations, for a number of years, mainly, as he puts it, "for fun". In the past six months, however, starting with a solo tour through the Czech Republic and France, he has been performing them in public, and -- as befits a musician whose career has been built mainly within the contemporary jazz world -- incorporating improvisation into the mix. The project is unique because, while other musicians have either played the Goldbergs as they were written or transformed them completely, Tepfer does both, playing each variation as it was intended, and only then giving his own, improvisatory take on each. In past performances, Tepfer has succeeded in staying strongly connected to the initial work, while simultaneously allowing himself to move away and explore contemporary musical ideas, all through Bach's prism. We get a free-flowing, personal view of Bach, but we also get Bach's word to come back to after the storm.

Cover $10, $6 if you saw the previous show

Aug 09
Dan Kaufman, piano;  Clark Sommers, bass;  Tommy Crane, drums
Piano festival: Dan Kaufman Trio image
Dan Kaufman has emerged as a leading and promising young voice in jazz piano. Dan's playing is adventurous and dynamic while firmly rooted in the jazz tradition. As a versatile and sensitive sideman , he has performed for audiences around the world, with many of the most prominent figures in jazz. From Jimmy Heath, Wynton Marsalis, Christian McBride and Mark Turner.

Kaufman began classical piano studies at age four. and shortly was working professionally in his home town Chicago's jazz scene since his early teenage years. He then attended the New England Conservatory, where he studied with Fred Hersch and Danilo Perez. He joined the Grammy Nominated group, The Either/Orchestra, and quickly became on of the most in demand young talents on the Boston scene, working extensively with Jeremy Pelt, Miguel Zenon, and Bob Moses among others.

After a brief stint as a member of the highly selective Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, Kaufman moved to New York to attend the Juilliard School on a full scholarship for the inaugural class of jazz studies where he studied with Kenny Barron.

Since finishing Kaufman has established himself as an in demand pianist in New York, joining the working bands of Donald Harrison, Ben Wolfe, Wycliffe Gordon, Rodney Green, and Dominck Farinacci. He also works regularly for many of the worlds top jazz vocalists including Nnenna Freelon, Kevin Mahogony, Robin McKelle, Allan Harris, Gretchen Parlato and Marilyn May
 Cover $8

Randy Ingram, piano;  Orlando LeFleming, bass;  Kendrick Scott, drums
Piano festival: Randy Ingram Trio image
Randy Ingram is a thoughtful, versatile young pianist, composer and improviser, with an expressive touch and a keen imagination. SInce moving to Brooklyn in the fall of 2003 he has become an in-demand sideman and band leader and gained a reputation as one of the most promising up-and-coming pianists of his generation. His debut record, "The Road Ahead", will be released this October on the Brooklyn Jazz Underground label, and features his trio of Matt Clohesy (bass) and Jochen Rueckert (drums), as well as special guest John Ellis (saxophones).

Originally from Laguna Beach, CA, Randy received a scholarship to the University of Southern California and quickly became a fixture on the Los Angeles jazz scene, apprenticing with Tierney Sutton, Joe LaBarbera and the great Billy Higgins. Upon graduating, he received another scholarship to get his Masters' degree at the New England Conservatory in Boston, MA, where he studied with his two mentors, Fred Hersch and Danilo Perez. Upon arriving in NYC he has recorded and performed with Ben Monder, Kate McGarry, Joel Frahm, Joe Locke, Mike Moreno and Kendrick Scott. He has performed at many of the best jazz clubs in the country, including Birdland, the Jazz Standard, Regattabar and the Catalina Bar and Grill. He is a recipient of the 2007 ASCAP Young Jazz Composer's award.

“...Gracious playing" --Andrey Henkin, All About Jazz

“An Incredible pianist" --Legendary composer George Russell

“...A superb pianist" --Joe Montague, Jazz
 Cover $10

Jesse Stacken , piano;  Kirk Knuffke, cornet
Piano festival: Jesse Stacken-Kirk Knuffke duo image
Pianist Jesse Stacken and trumpeter Kirk Knuffke have been playing together in the duo format for over two years. The duo has played concerts around New York City at venues including the 5C café, Biscuit BBQ, and the Bloomingdale School of Music. They began working through the compositions of Thelonious Monk, looking for ways to approach the tunes that showcase the duo format. They soon expanded the material to include Ellington tunes as well as a few by Steve Lacy, Misha Mengelberg Carle Bley, Lennie Tristano, and Charles Mingus.. The duo will release an album on Steeplechase records in the fall of 2009, entitled Mockingbird. Stacken and Knuffke have also played together in many other working ensembles, including the improvisational group No Truck.
 Cover $10   www,
Aug 10
Luiz Simas, piano, vocals
Luiz Simas  image
Brazilian composer/pianist/singer Luiz Simas returns to Cornelia Street Cafe

Growing up in the Rio de Janeiro neighborhood of Ipanema in the 60's, Luiz Simas was smack in the center of the bossa nova universe, where Jobim and João Gilberto ruled. He played in countless jam sessions with some of the greats, and signed his first major record deal he was only 18. He went on to become one of Brazil's most respected musicians. Luiz moved to New York in 1989 where he became very prominent in the Brazilian jazz scene. He's performed all over the US, in Europe and in Brazil. According to Keyboard Magazine, his playing is "sassy, clear, vibrant, yet understated” “his music fresh, smart, and witty".

In this solo show at Cornelia's, Luiz will be playing many of his own chorinhos and other original tunes, as well as pieces by Jobim, Nazareth, Villa-Lobos and other great Brazilian composers. Also included in the program is a Gershwin favorite played with an intoxicating Brazilian flair.

Pianist Judy Carmichael raves that "Luiz Simas is not only a wonderful musician, singer and composer, he is an engaging performer who draws his audience into his witty, joyful, sensuous musical world. Simas epitomizes the fantasies we non-Brazilians have about that wonderful country, and with him, we all get to be Brazilian, at least for the a couple hours!"
 Cover $10

Jed Distler, curator

William Komaiko, piano
piano festival: William Komaiko image
A rare appearance by William Komaiko, whose multi-leveled virtuosity and deep musicianship has long commanded admiration and respect among his colleagues. Komaiko has a double background in jazz and classical performance. In this regard his music is cited for "Bautiful shifting colors - like a Calder mobile" (Leighton Kerner, The Village Voice) with pianist comparisons: "Ahmad Jamal, Glenn Gould, Thelonius Monk" (John S. Wilson, The New York Times). Komaiko's concert music has been presented by conductors and organizations including Pierre Boulez, Paul Dunkel, Christian Badea, The Ravinia Festival, as well as a recent performance of Rhapsody in Blue matched with an improvisation set for Minneapolis PBS Television, and a premiere for the National Symphony Orchestra - where Komaiko was simultaneously commissioned as composer/piano soloist/ and conductor in honor of The 25th Anniversary of the Kennedy Center. Komaiko has appeared extensively as jazz soloist, group leader at such New York City venues as Serious Fun at Lincoln Center, The Village Vanguard, American Ballet Theater at the Metropolitan Opera House. Komaiko was educated at The Juilliard School, where he received The George Gershwin Memorial Prize. He has served on the faculties of The Juiliiard School, Sarah Lawrence College, and Princeton University.
 Cover $10
Aug 11
Jed Distler, curator

Sachiko Kato, piano;  Taka Kigawa, piano
Sachiko Kato and Taka Kigawa team up for an evening of solos and duos, including Satie’s Three Pieces in the Shape of a Pear, Poulenc’s Sonata and Beethoven’s own four-hand arrangement of his gnarly Gosse Fugue for String Quartet.

A winner of the Frinna Awerbuch International Piano Competition and the Pro-Piano Recital Series Audition, Sachiko Kato has performed extensively both as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States and Japan ever since making her debut at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall in 1994. She also is artistic director of the critically acclaimed New York concert series Weaving Japanese Sounds.

Taka Nigawa has garnered a formidable reputation for his sharply honed technique and unusually wide repertoire, and won the praise of difficult-to-please former New York Times critic Paul Griffith for performing Pierre Boulez’ Third Piano Sonata by memory.
 Cover $8

Jed Distler, host

Joshua Fried, electro stuff;  Jed Distler, piano
piano festival: Composers Collaborative Special image
"No Soap Radio Wonderland," starring Joshua Fried's live electronics, steering wheel and shoes, with Jed Distler at the piano

Joshua Fried’s Live FM radio boombox, steering wheel, shoes and laptop merge into recombinant funk and rhythmic text twisting, partnered by Jed Distler, acoustic and unplugged at the Yamaha grand. If you close your eyes, you’d be hard pressed to determine who’s playing what.

“RADIO WONDERLAND is me, Joshua Fried, performing solo live sound processing by drumming on old shoes (I'm a drummer) and manipulating a steering wheel (I'm a, er, wheel player). RADIO WONDERLAND turns live commercial FM radio into recombinant funk.

All the sounds originate from an old boombox, playing radio LIVE. Nothing is pre-recorded; anything picked up during the performance is fair game until the end. All the processing is by custom software I wrote in the MaxMSP programming environment. But I hardly touch the laptop. My controllers really are a vintage Buick steering wheel, old shoes mounted on stands, and some gizmos. You'll hear me build grooves, step by step, out of recognizable radio, and even UN-wind my grooves back to the original radio source.

I walk on with a boom box, playing FM radio LIVE. Once onstage, I plug it into my system and start slicing up radio. I arrange those slices both rhythmically, and, by playing them at different speeds, melodically as well, all according to what I hear. I call this process the RE-SHUFFLER. With another algorithm, which I call my RE-ESSER, (studio nerds will recognize this as a joke on de-esser), I isolate the sibilance, so I can compose on the spot with those S, T, K, Sh, etc. sounds, just like programming a drum machine. The ANYTHING-KICK morphs a bit of radio in the direction of a kick drum.”
 Cover $8

Jed Distler, curator

Anna Smirny Taka Kigawa Luis Andrei Cobo Joseph Pehrson
New and provocative keyboard fare with pianists Anna Smirny, Luis Andrei Cobo, Taka Kigawa and Joseph Pehrson. Works include Alexander Kataenko’s Visions of the Blind, Luis Andrei Cobo’s Slow Motion, Joseph Pehrson’s Prudendurance, Alvin Brehm’s By the Numbers, and Gene Pritsker’s Dissecting Rembrandt for one piano eight hands. Expect a few surprises along the way
 Cover $8
Jed Distler, curator

Kirk Nurock, piano
Composer-pianist Kirk Nurock is refreshingly hard to pin down. He arranged for both Dizzy Gillespie and Leonard Bernstein, orchestrated for Meredith Monk composed a work for 20 voices and 3 canines (which he conducted at Carnegie Hall) and won a scholarship at age 16, awarded by Duke Ellington. Now a veteran of 30 years in the music world, Nurock makes a rare NYC solo foray this evening. For the full picture of his rich musical life, visit
 Cover $8
Aug 13
Jed Distler, curator

Matt Aucoin, piano;  Jed Distler, piano
Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony for piano duet.

Matt Aucoin and Jed Distler, piano four hands

Before recordings and radio, the piano was the home entertainment center, where family members and friends gathered to play through thousands of symphonic, chamber, choral and opera works available in piano duet arrangements. Tonight guest curator Jed Distler and the remarkable 19-year-old composer/pianist/opera coach Matt Aucoin “de-orchestrate” Beethoven’s groundbreaking Symphony No. 9 in D Minor Op. 125. Although we have no vocal soloists and chorus, audience members are welcome to sing along.
 Cover $8

Frank LoCrasto, piano, Prophet 5;  Josh Mease, vocals, bass, guitar, Juno 60
Piano festival: Frank LoCrasto-Josh Mease image
Frank LoCrasto, has been hailed by the New York Times as "a pianist-composer of modernity and promise." While studying at the New Schools jazz program, he began turning heads as pianist for the acclaimed trumpeter Jeremy Pelt. He has also racked up credits with the likes of Pat Martino, Wallace Roney, Greg Osby, Nicholas Payton and more. In 2006, he debuted as a leader with the stirring Maxjazz album When You're There, revealing influences that span the jazz and modern pop landscape.
Nikolaj Hess, piano;  Mikkel Hess, drums;  Cameron Brown, bass
Nikolaj Hess Trio

Danish pianist Nikolaj Hess,/b> has often been heard in quartet settings like Global Motion, but has a growing reputation as a trio pianist as well, not least in Europe. Here he plays with his New York pianotrio featuring his brother Mikkel Hess on drums, displaying their almost telepathic, precise, abstract and playful communication and interplay, and their hypnotic swing and virtuosity.

The repertoire will be a mix of originals by Hess, and a couple of standards both from the danish folk tradition and the great American songbook.

The music of Hess is an original mix of the beautiful Scandinavian lyricism and simplicity and a strong influence from American jazz and the complex and spellbinding rhythms of African music.

Nikolaj Hess won the RAI competion best young European jazzpianoplayer when he was 22, and gold medal in Berlingskes Rytmiske musikkonkurrence. He has been very succesful on the European Jazz scene the past many years, and is now based in New York, getting a growing recognition on the scene here, also from his collaboration with dutch sax player Marc Mommaas in the band Global Motion, in the Hessismore band, Nikolaj Hess Trio and others. NH has also worked with Lee Konitz, Chris Cheek, Greg Hutchinson, Ben Allison, Benny Golson, Fela Kuti, Robert Wilson, Marilyn Mazur, Palle Mikkelborg, Caroline Henderson, Robert Wilson, Hal Wilner, Christian McBride Jay Anderson and many others.

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