5C Cafe

68 Avenue C
New York, NY 10009
ph. 212-477-5993
em. [email protected]

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New York City Newark

5C Cafe

On a recent Friday in early July, late in the afternoon, 30-something piano virtuoso Andrew Bemkey began his second set exploring the range of a bass clarinet, filling the 5C Cafe with rich, plummy tones, then providing his own accompaniment on the venue's Kimball baby grand. Unable to restrain himself, former Leon Thomas keyboardist Arthur Sterling rose up from the audience and, settling behind the drum kit, pulled the number into an impromptu duet with gently prodding hand taps and finger rolls. Bemkey took the bait, and somehow what began as an avant improv morphed into a loose-limbed, brazenly swinging “Up a Lazy River”. It was a memorable moment, and all the more so because just a few weeks before - until the NY appellate court overturned a 1996 order that restricted the venue to a “strings-only” performance policy - it literally couldn't have happened.

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