Following a year of discussions and lobbying by club members who are loyal fans, SCNY’s first and only musical artist member, Mitch Kahn (RA-1991) brings his Manhattan based musicale home to Salmagundi.
A blend of the Café Carlyle and an old fashioned New York City piano bar, Soirées at the Salmagundi Club are a major addition to the menu, intended to bring new business into the dining room on a recurring basis. Days of the week will vary based on availability and the ability to piggy-back with other non-conflicting events such as this coming Friday’s Receiving for the Spring Auction (February 8th). The initial plan is to schedule twice monthly and adjust the frequency as needed. A weekly soirée is not out of the question if the demand is there.
The story dates back to 1989, when Mitch was introduced to Salmagundi by the late Janet Sumner, one of the club’s first women members. By day, Janet was a prominent figure in New York’s art world, having served for many years as administrator of the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit and later as secretary to Aldon James, then president of the National Arts Club at 15 Gramercy Park South, a prime address where she also lived.
By night, Janet was a denizen of the dark – an ever-present patron of New York’s bustling cabarets, jazz clubs and piano rooms. It was on that circuit that she met fellow nightlife afficionado, Mitch Kahn, himself one of New York’s busiest singer-pianists and society band leaders. Instantly becoming close friends, Janet used her considerable influence to hook Mitch up with gigs at SCNY and the National Arts Club, where before long he decided he’d rather become a member than remain a hired gun.
Proceeding under the mistaken assumption that John Philip Sousa had been a “musical artist member”, Mitch applied and was voted in as such. Only years later was it realized that Sousa had been a lay member, joining Salmagundi simply to support and socialize with his artist friends, many of whom lived in the neighborhood as did he.
The Soirée: Mitch originally launched a weekly Soirée in May, 2009 at a well known midtown French bistro, continuing there for two and a half years. Many Salmagundi members went to see him and became regulars. When he pulled the plug in Nov 2011 due to irreconcilable differences with the owner, those members asked about the possibility of bringing those Soirées to Salmagundi.
Fast forward to January 2013: That world of cabaret, jazz and piano has come home to roost at Salmagundi. Every two weeks or so, the dining room will transform into a café reminiscent of an era that’s virtually disappeared from New York City. Janet is looking down, gin martini in hand, grinning from ear to ear (“Carlos, don’t forget the olives”).
Soirées will feature different musicians as well as surprise guest singers (some even surprises to Mitch). Legendary bassist, Linc Milliman, was featured at the launch on January 30th.
Seating is limited and reservations are absolutely necessary. Upcoming dates: Feb 8th, Feb 28th, Mar 15th & Mar 28th. Additional dates to be announced.
For a current schedule CLICK HERE.
January 30th Gallery: photos by Mitch Kahn and Anthony Almeida • Click on any thumbnail to open full view and use keyboard or rollover arrows to navigate.