We know time machines don’t exist yet. But even if they did, you wouldn’t need one to hear authentic Prohibition-era jazz because Amancay’s Diner (2 Knickerbocker Ave, East Williamsburg) hosts a night of old-timey jazz by Sweet Megg and the Wayfarers every Thursday.
What you’ll find? An ever-changing cast of extremely talented local musicians wailing on Prohibition-era jazz like they’re in a 1920s speakeasy and don’t even care if they get busted. It also turns into a bit of a dance party when the swing dancers show up. (You might even get lucky and get a celebrity appearance like Orange is the New Black’s Lea DeLaria.)
It happens like this: Sweet Megg and the Wayfarers start out entertaining Amancay’s with their usual repertoire. Sweet Megg does that thing where she sings like Ella Fitzgerald and scats all impressive-like. Then other musicians trickle in and they swap out and add instruments and vocalists when the moment feels right. At times it might be as small as a four-piece or as big as an eight-piece band. And they don’t really stop until they damn well please. It is a 24-hour diner after all.
Said the bartender, “It goes pretty late. Sometimes ‘till two in the morning. [Or in the case of when I was there, four in the morning.] And it’s different people every time. One girl plays the washboard. I don’t know who’ll show up tonight.”
The washboard. We have an honest-to-god washboard player in our Bushwick midst.
The jam is modeled after the Tuesday jam session at Mona’s bar in Manhattan. It’s uber-popular. (Among those in the scene anyway.) So Sweet Megg and her band brought a more convenient (and less crowded) version to Bushwick. And I’d have to say it was a good idea.
So if you play jazz, bring your instruments; if you like jazz, bring yourselves; or if you just like drinking, hey, this is a pretty good place do it in. See you Thursday.