Holiday Swing Michael Mwenso, BriannaThomas, Charenee Wade and Shakes
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Jazz at Lincoln Center has entrusted its late night sessions to the incomparable voice and spirit of Michael Mwenso. Together with the monster musicianship of his big band, The Shakes, and vocalists Charnee Wade and Brianna Thomas, unearth a jazz age when the sound was synonymous with danceable, bawdry, ribald, and most defiantly blue. Don’t believe us? Check out the video below! Tonight, they take on the music of the holiday seasons, the bluest of all seasons, with that same joyful spirit. JUST ADDED! Special guest TAP DANCE phenom, Leo Sandoval! Vocalist Michael Mwenso, born in 1984 in Sierra Leone, began singing and playing piano, after he moved to London as a young child. Early on, Michael developed a relationship with James Brown, the King of Soul, when he toured London and often invited Michael to sing with him when he was on tour in Europe. When he was a student at the Sylvia Young Theatre School, Michael took up the trombone to enhance his musicianship. He left school when he was 16 to lead his own bands and perform with local jazz groups in various clubs, including parts of Asia. In late 2010, Wynton Marsalis invited Michael to join the programming team at Jazz at Lincoln Center and head the After-Hours program at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, where he currently is employed. In his ever expanding yet remarkable career, Michael has performed with Jon Hendricks, Jamie Cullum, Reginald Veal, Maceo Parker, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Wynton Marsalis, and many others. Born and raised in Peoria, Illinois, Brianna Thomas was surrounded by music. Her father, Charlie Thomas, influenced her with his own unique talents as a vocalist and percussionist. Brianna’s talents have propelled her to the top with performances at the Montreux, North Sea, and Umbria Jazz Festivals, and she’s played in venues from the Bahamas to Switzerland. Brianna was a resident in both the 2001 and 2002 Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Programs – an international artist-in-residence program that assembles a select group of jazz musicians to perform their original compositions at the Kennedy Center. At “Jazz Ahead,” she worked with a host of premier jazz educators and performers, including renowned vocalist Carmen Lundy, drummer Winard Harper, and saxophonist Nathan Davis. Since moving to New York, Thomas has regularly performed and professionally recorded with pianist Gordon Webste. The words of legendary trombonist Curtis Fuller best illustrate Brianna Thomas’ abilities: “a marvelous new artist who has all it takes to reach the top of the jazz profession and music in general.” First Runner-Up in the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Vocal Competition, Charenee Wade is a notable singer, composer, arranger and educator. Her accolades include Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead Program where she performed her original music at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. She is also one of the four talented artists selected to participate in the Dianne Reeves Young Artist Workshop at Carnegie Hall. Charenee is currently a professor at the Aaron Copland School of Music, City College, and with the Jazzmobile Workshop program. Charenee performs internationally and graces the stages of the Jazz Gallery, Jazz at Lincoln Center's Dizzy Coca Cola's, the legendary Smalls and the Zinc Bar in NYC. Her debut CD, Love Walked In was released in July 2010.