Musician, artist, and social commentator Michael Mwenso offers his unique and ancestral perspective on Black music and its ability to heal us through original compositions and arrangements powered by the Harlem-based Mwenso & the Shakes. In describing the fusion of styles and energy of their work, vocalist Briana Thomas calls it "theater meets opera meets James Brown meets jazz meets total improvisation."
New York-based Michael Mwenso is a musical polymath who spent his teens as James Brown's understudy. In 2007, he organized a late-night jam session at the famed London jazz club Ronnie Scott's, which led to Wynton Marsalis handpicking him to be a musician and curator at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Entrenched in the company of a few dozen talented Harlem-based musicians, Mwenso soon found the musicians that became The Shakes.
"Mwenso's & The Shakes specialize in musical code-switching, freely adopting and repurposing the drama, whimsy, and spirit of the Great American Songbook, African beats, funk, modern jazz, dance pop, Delta blues, and cabaret theater with equal, effortless verve..." Eric Tullis