New York Music Daily

No New Abnormal

Tag: avant garde music

Matthew Goodheart & Broken Ghost Consort Build Playful, Entertaining Machine-Shop Ambience

Matthew Goodheart & Broken Ghost Consort’s new album Presences: Mixed Suite For Five Performers and Nine Instruments – streaming at Spotify- is weird but playful music that owes a lot to the AACM as well as Anthony Braxton’s tectonic graphic-score themes. Moments of ambient calm contrast with abrasive industrial sounds, all of them organic. Although the music follows a slowly drifting tangent, it’s also unexpectedly energetic and amusing in places. Nobody plays his instrument as it was intended, and the group – the bandleader on piano, with Georg Wissel on clarinet, Matthias Muche on trombone, Melvyn Poore on tuba and George Cremaschi on bass – indulge in flurries of percussion as much as they employ their usual axes.

The album’s opening number is awash in scrapes, fragments of simulated birdsong and gonglike, metallic washes – the bells of horns and piano strings polished to a ringing, keening harmonic shimmer, maybe?

Clarinet is featured but doesn’t exactly take centerstage until late in the second movement, with a steady, enigmatic, Messiaenic resonance. Trombone, tuba and eventually cheery clarinet engage in a tongue-in-cheek exchange with squirrelly percussive flickers – and a mini-gamelan – from the rest of the ensemble in the thirteen-minute third movement, Impulse Response Variations.

Jawharp-like oscillations, distant buzzsaw sonics, looming trombone and a wryly warbly faux-pansori interlude filter down to the spiraling gears of the vortex in the practically eighteen-minute final movement. This is not for people who need catchy hooks or have short attentions spans but it’s entertaining if you let it pull you under (although the joke in the opening spoken-word sequence is a little much).

A Slashingly Relevant New Album of New String Quartet Works From Quartet121

When Quartet121 put out a call for string quartet scores, they really scored! The ensemble – violinists Molly Germer and Julia Jung Un Suh, violist Lena Vidulich and cellist Thea Mesirow – are a magnet for world premieres. Their new album, simply titled Call for Scores – streaming at Bandcamp – comprises three acerbic and powerfully relevant new works.

The first piece is Rachel Beja‘s Punti Invisibili di Contatto, with a theme focusing on the tension between individuality and being part of a whole. The group flit through playful exchanges within lots of space, then the harmonies begin. Lots of extended technique is involved: percussive flickers, keening harmonics and slithery glissandos The more the piece coalesces, the more severe the harmonies and gestures become. A wicked slide signals a muted pedalpoint, but the rhythms remain unsettled the rest of the way: this is a posse of rugged individualists! A state anthem for South Dakota, or the freedom fighters in Beja’s native Israel, maybe?

Latvian composer Anna Ķirse’s electroacoustic Mundus Invisibilis, a contemplation of how the microscopic world influences the one we can see without magnification, is next. There’s computer-voiced text about the birth of a mushroom, then sheets of astringency balanced by plucky accents. The dynamics shift to a rhythmic insistence versus haze and brief poltergeist bursts. The mushroom eventually blooms with acidic tremoloing phrases and sharp, short, stabbing motives: not your typical forest-floor presence.

The final work is Mexican composer Rafael Rentería‘s Hashtag Capital Gore, a glitchier electroacoustic piece on themes of violence against women. The score calls for the performers to immerse their feet in buckets of ice while playing. They follow a series of brief crescendos, a forest of shivery tonalities that stops short of sheer horror, then the tension rises with greater intensity. There’s a false ending and a coda that’s too apt to give away. To the group’s credit, if they in fact put their feet into the ice for this, they don’t race to warm up again. As the world wakes up from the media-induced terror and paranoia of the past seventeen months and returns to normal, let’s hope this group continues on a path that’s off to a flying start.

Live Music Calendar for New York City and Brooklyn for July and August 2021

Sure feels good to get this calendar back to a monthly schedule again! Who knew we’d ever be able to, without going to war. This is a work in progress, and errs on the side of freedom, as far as restrictions are concerned.

Every venue listed here has been vetted to the best of this blog’s ability, but this is a weird time. All of these shows appear to be unrestricted, but if in doubt, trust your intuition. Clubs that were laid-back and friendly in March of 2020 are still probably laid-back, and friendly, and life is probably back to normal there. If a venue was problematic before the lockdown, you can bet that if it’s still in business, it’s really problematic now.

If you go out a lot, you might want to bookmark this page and check back regularly. Rock shows are really lagging behind jazz and classical as far as getting back up and running again. Hopefully that will change. Additional shows will be added through the summer as they’re announced.

If you’re leaving your hood, don’t get stuck waiting for a train that never comes, make sure you check the MTA delays and out-of-service page for service cancellations and malfunctions, considering how unreliable the subway has become.

If you don’t recognize a venue where a particular act is playing, check with the artist, or check the recently updated list of over 200 New York City music venues at New York Music Daily’s sister blog Lucid Culture.

This is not a list of every show in town – it’s a carefully handpicked selection. If this calendar seems short on praise for bands and artists, it’s because every act here is recommended if you like their particular kind of music.

Showtimes listed here are set times, not the time doors open – if a listing says something like “9ish,” that means it’ll probably start later than advertised.

If you see a typo or an extra comma or something like that, remember that while you were out seeing that great free concert that you discovered here, somebody was up late after a long day of work editing and adding listings to this calendar ;)

Mondays starting at 9 PM sharp, Rev. Vince Anderson and his band play two sets at Union Pool. The Rev. is one of the great keyboardists around, equally thrilling on organ or electric piano, an expert at Billy Preston style funk, honkytonk, gospel and blues. He writes very funny, very politically award, sexy original songs and is one of the most charismatic, intense live performers of our time. It’s a crazy dance party. Paula Henderson from Burnt Sugar is the usual lead soloist on baritone sax, with frequent special guests. Sizzling guitarist Binky Griptite – Sharon Jones’ lead player – is also often there.

Fridays in July, 8ish torchy cumbia/swing singer and accordionist Erica Mancini at Sunny’s

7/1, 7:30 PM intense, rapturous Balkan/Middle Eastern ensemble the Secret Trio –Tamer Pinarbasi, Ismail Lumanovski & Ara Dinkjian – at Drom, $20. They’re back on 7/27 at 9:30.. After this show, at 9 moody, tuneful string-driven Americana and chamber pop with DM & the Expats play ($15 separate adm)

7/2, 7 PM Gordon Lockwood (blues guitar monster Jeremiah Lockwood and drummer Ricky Gordon) at Terra Blues. They’re back here on 7/9

7 /3, 7:30/9:30 PM cleverly lyrical, darkly klezmer-tinged pianist Uri Caine with Mark Helias on bass and Ben Perowsky on drums at Mezzrow, $25

7/5, 7 PM wryly retro, period-perfect classic 60s style female-fronted honkytonk band the Bourbon Express at Cowgirl Seahorse.. 7/10, 8 PM ish they’re at Schnitzel House, 7319 5th Ave in Bay Ridge, R to 77th St.

7/5, 9 PM the Binky Griptite Orchestra (formerly Sharon Jones’ brilliant oldschool soul backing band) at Bar Lunatico

7/6, 7/8:30 PM postbop trumpeter Josh Evans leads a quintet at Smalls, $25

7/6, 7:30 PM chamber orchestra A Far Cry play works by Grieg, Part, Jessie Montgomery and others at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park

7/6, 8ish harmony-driven all-female Americana band the Maybelles at Sunny’s

7/6, 8 PM legendary, risque, politically spot-on calypso icon the Mighty Sparrow at Damrosch Park. Maybe listen from across the street because there may be restrictions.

7/6, 8:30 PM tuneful original delta blues and acoustic Americana from guitarist Jon LaDeau at Pete’s

7/6, 9 PM badass honkytonk/Americana songwriter Olivia Ellen Lloyd and band at Skinny Dennis

7/6, 9 PM Trio Catarina with hotshot Brazilian accordionist Felipe Hostins at Bar Lunatico

7/7, 6 PM new string quartet the Overlook with guest Tanya Birl-Torres play music by black composers: Leila Adu, Shelley Washington and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor at the Hispanic Society of America, 613 W 155th St. west of Broadway, 1 train to 157th St., free

7/7, 9 PM dark blues/folk noir/oldschool soul songwriter Kelley Swindall at Skinny Dennis

7/7, 6 PM horn player Cort Roberts leads an ensemble playing new classical repertoire tba at Madison Square Park. He’s back on 8/11

7/7, 8 PM ish edgy alto sax player Kate Mohanty plays her bday show followed by uneasy female-fronted psychedelic abstract rock band Gold Dime at Our Wicked Lady, $12

7/7, 7:30 PM the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center with Shai Wosner, piano; Chad Hoopes, violin; Kristin Lee, violin; Tien-Hsin Cindy Wu, viola; David Requiro, cello; Xavier Foley, bass play works by Beethoven and Dvořák at Damrosch Park. Maybe listen from across the street because there may be restrictions.

7/8, 6 PM soaringly explosive jazz composer/torch singer Nicole Zuraitis at 55 Bar

7/8, 8 PM painter Jim Watt completes his “1000 Watts” series of 1000 ink washes in the monochromatic Japanese Sumi style while an allstar jazz trio – trumpeter Antoine Drye, guitar icon Bill Frisell & drummer Kyle Benford – improvise behind him at Collab, 309 Starr St, Bushwick (St. Nicholas/Cypress Ave), L to Jefferson St, $20 sug don. Watt will donate $100,000 (a hundred grand, you read that right) to benefit jazz musicians imperiled by the lockdown through sales at his dealer Jim Kempner Fine Art.

7/8, 8 PM the NY Philharmonic play Carlos Simon: Fate Now Conquers; Stravinsky: Pulcinella Suite; Mozart: Symphony No. 40 at Damrosch Park. Maybe listen from across the street because there may be restrictions.

7/9, 7 PM perennially popular original feminist folksinger Toshi Reagon & Big Lovely at Bryant Park

7/9, 7/9:30 PM cutting-edge B3 organ grooves with the Jared Gold trio at Smallls, ,$25

7/9, 7:30 PM iconic Afro-Cuban percussionist/bandleader Pedrito Martinez at Drom, $15

7/9, 9 PM  fiery, deviously fun oldtimey swing guitarist/crooner Seth Kessel at Skinny Demis. . He’s back here on 7/31 at 4.

7/10, 2 PM afternoon improvisations: guitarist  Aron Namenwirth with Daniel Carter, Claire de Brunner, Tamio Shirashi plus poet No Land at Oliver Coffee, 5 Oliver St (cor. St. James), Chinatown

710, 4 PM Sarah Durning & the Fun Sisters play twangy oldschool-style original honkytonk at Skinny Dennis

7/10, 5 PM  lustrous singer and badass cello-rock bandleader Serena Jost in a rare solo show  at Five Myles, 558 St. Johns Place (Classon/Franklin), Crown Heights, 2/3 to Eastern Pkwy/Brooklyn Museum

7/10, 7 PM dark psychedelic acoustic blues/klezmer/reggae/soca jamband Hazmat Modine at Terra Blues. They’re back here on 7/24

7/10, 7:30 PM the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center play works by Haydn, Mendelssohn and Schumann at Damrosch Park. Maybe listen from across the street because there may be restrictions.

7/11, 3 PM dynamic front-porch Americana/blues songwriter Mary-Elaine Jenkins at Pete’s

7/11, 3:30 PM the Noga Band featuring amazing Middle Eastern oudist Avram Pengas at Wagner Park north and west of the Battery

7/11, 4 PM oldschool-style high plains C&W singer Hope Debates & North 40 at Skinny Dennis

7/12-16, half past noon sly, cinematic, tuneful Microscopic Septet pianist Joel Forrester at Bryant Park

7/12, 9 PM the perennially popular Western Caravan play western swing at Skinnny Dennis

7/13, 7 PM pensive, eclectic, tuneful jazz/art-rock songwriter Becca Stevens at the big room at the Rockwood, $15

7/15, 9:30 PM  ferociously dynamic, tuneful,female-fronted power trio Castle Black at Bar Freda, 801 Seneca Ave (Cornelia St/Putnam Ave) in Ridgewood, M to Seneca Ave

7/16, 7 PM  sizzling salsa dura band the Spanish Harlem Orchestra at Bryant Park

7/16, 7/8:30 PM drummer Sylvia Cuenca leads a quintet with Dave Kikoski on piano and Craig Handy on tenor sax at Smalls, $25

7/16, 8 PM  psychedelic supergroup the Elgin Marbles feat. members of Love Camp 7, Dervisi and Peter Stampfel’s jug band at the Parkside,$10

7/16, 9 PM the raucously oldtimey Buck and a Quarter Quartet at Pete’s

7/17, 5ish “a wonderful bunch” of sax players: Peter Apfelbaum, Claire Daly, Jonathan Haffner, Jeff Lederer, Jessica Lurie, Sam Newsome, Jay Rodriguez, and Stefan Zeniuk play a site-specific, echo-centric improvisation outdoors from the rooftops around 55 Waterbury St. in Bushwick

7/17, 9 PM Veronica Davila’s twangy, Bakersfield-flavored hard honkytonk band Low Roller at Skinny Dennis

7/18, 5 PM the all-femalle Lotus Chamber Music Ensemble play a program TBA at Culture Lab outdoors, 5-25 46th Ave in Long Island City, down the block toward the water from LIC Bar

7/18, 6 PM orchestrally epic alto valve trombonist Scott Reeves plays the album release show for his new lie one at 55 Bar

7/18, 7 PM brooding, intense lo-fi gutter blues songwriter/guitarist Breanna Barbara at Our Wicked Lady, free

7/18, 7:30/9 PM Falkner Evans solo on piano – sometimes inscrutable, sometimes darkly rapturous – at Mezzrow, $25

7/19, 7 PM the Orchestra of St. Luke‘s music for winds and brass by Ibert, Valerie Coleman, Stravinsky, Dukas, Scott Joplin, Leonard Bernstein and Matthew Arnold on the steps of the Brooklyn Central Library at Grand Army Plaza. 7/21, 3 PM they’re at the back of the northwest corner of the plaza at Lincoln Center and 7/22 at 7:30 PM they’re outdoors at the Queens Theatre in the Park in Corona

7/19, 9 PM darkly brilliant, psychedelic Klezmatics multi-reedman Matt Darriau‘s group plays a Yusef Lateef tribute at Bar Lunatico

7/20, noon classical ensemble the Sterling Strings play their hilarious string quartet versions of rap and pop hits at Metrotech Park in downtown Brooklyn

7/20, 7 PM vibraphonist Felipe Fournier‘s wild Tito Puente and Dave Brubeck cover band, Supermambo at Gantry Plaza State Park

7/20, 7:30 PM the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra play works by Purcell, John Blow and others at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park

7/20, 7:30/9:30 PM  rapturously eclectic jazz chanteuse Marianne Solivan leads her trio at Mezzrow, $25

7/21, 6 PM noir-inspired honkytonk crooner Sean Kershaw at John Brown BBQ, 27-20 40th Avenue at 28th St., LIC/Astoria, any train to Queensboro Plaza

7/21, 7 PM adventurous indie classical ensemble Contemporaneous play edgy, often poignant new works by Alex Weiser, Zachary James Ritter, Yasmin Williams, toy pianist Lucy Yao and a world premiere by Yaz Lancaster at Pier 64, 24th St. and the Hudson, free, rsvp req  

7/21, 8 PM bhangra-klezmer mashups with Sharabi feat. trumpeter Frank London & Deep Singh with singer Sarah Gordon plus the psychedelic, Afrobeat and klezmer-influenced Zion 80 at Drom, $20

7/21, 9 PM deviously entertaining hot 20s swing chanteuse Sweet Megg Farrell and band at Skinny Dennis

7/22, half past noon mostly-female, kinetic klezmer/cumbia/cinematic jamband Isle of Klezbos at St. Marks Park, 2nd Ave/10th St.

7/22, 4:30 PM jazz singer Tahira Clayton’s Jazz Trio outdoors at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music

7/22, 7/8:30 PM colorful,  eclectic, paradigm-shifting B3 jazz organist Brian Charette  leads his organ trio at Smalls, $25

7/22, 8 PM original blue-eyed soul chanteuse Miss Tess in a rare duo show at Sunny’s. 7/23 she’s under the Dumbo Archway at 5.

7/22, 9 PM smart, purposeful Americana guitarslingers Jason Loughlin and band at Skinny Dennis

7/23, 7:30/9:30 PM tenor saxophonist Tivon Pennicott with Louis Cato on bass and Joe Saylor on drums at the Jazz Gallery, $20

7/23, 8 PM poignantly lyrical, eclectic pianist Marta Sanchez leads her trio with a killer rhythm section of Michael Formanek and Gerald Cleaver at Bar Bayeux

7/24, 2 PM improvisational keyboardist Matt Mottel plays his bday show at Oliver Coffee, 5 Oliver St (cor. St. James), Chinatown

7/24. 5 PM careening, microtonally-tinged electric blues band Jane Lee Hooker at Culture Lab outdoors, 5-25 46th Ave in Long Island City, down the block toward the water from LIC Bar

7/24, 7 PM dark psychedelic acoustic blues/klezmer/reggae/soca jamband Hazmat Modine at Terra Blues

7/24, 7/8:30 PM Mike LeDonne takes a relatively rare turn on piano with a trio  at Smalls

7/24, 7:30ish the Sun Ra Arkestra at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, be prepared to hang on the fringes because there may be restrictions

7/24, 8 PM sprawling large jazz/ambient ensemble/jamband Burnt Sugar at Damrosch Park

7/24, 10 PM fiery electric bluegrass and C&W with Demolition String Band at Skinny Dennis

7/24, 10 PM allstar percussion and sax duo Matthias Kunzli and Peter Apbelfaum’s Soup du Jour at Pete’s

7/26-30 half past noon big band pianist Russ Kasoff solo at Bryant Park

7/26, 7 PM Certain General guitarslinger Phil Gammage plays his dark Americana and blues at Cowgirl Seahorse

7/26, 7 PM newgrass band Damn Tall Buildings at Pier 1 on the upper west

7/27 1 PM not a music event but very important and enlightening: America’s Frontline Doctors livestream their White Coat Summit to stop the ongoing lethal injection campaigns. Hero doctors Simone Gold, Scott Jensen, Lee Merritt, Steve LaTulippe, Mark McDonald and other allstar freedom fighters strategize a way out of the trap that was set for us on March 16, 2020.

7/27, 7 PM the George Gee Big Band play vintage 30s swing at Gantry Plaza State Park

7/27. 8 PM ambitious saxophonist Michael Thoma and his quartet outdoors at Queens Theatre in Corona Park

7/27, 10 PM catchy, uneasily jangly female-fronted psych-pop rockers War Violet at Our Wicked Lady, $12. They’re also at Pete’s on 7/31 at 10 for the tip jar

7/28, 6 PM vibraphonist Sae Hashimoto leads an ensemble playing new classical repertoire tba at Madison Square Park. She’s back on 8/4

7/28, 10 PM guy/girl harmony vocals and a mix of Americana and lyrical Waits-ish songwriting with Loose Change at Pete’s

7/29, half past noon fearlessly relevant, toweringly intense latin jazz pianist Arturo O’Farrill leads a smaller band than usual at St. Marks Park, 2nd Ave/10th St

7/29, 4:30 PM original klezmer stylings with violinist Zoe Aqua, trumpeter Dan Blacksberg and accordionist Ira Temple outdoors at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music

7/29, 7:30 PM the Mingus Big Band celebrate their new home at Drom, $30

7/29-31, 7/9:30 PM fiery, erudite pianist Orrin Evans leads his quartet featuring powerhouse sax player Immanuel Wilkins at Birdland, $30

7/29, 10ish sly blue-eyed soul pianist/crooner Nat Osborn at the big room at the Rockwood, ,$15

7/30, 8 PM Indian percussionist Ravish Momin’s Sunken Cages + Migiwa “Miggy” Miyajima‘s lavish large jazz ensemble at Damrosch Park, you can watch from across the street because there are draconian restrictions

7/30, 7:30 PM postbop saxophonist Greg Osby and his Quartet and clarinetist Oran Etkin’s Open Arms Project at Drom, $30

7/30, 11:30 PM expansive, expressive jazz pianist Miki Yamanaka leads her trio at Cellar Dog (the old Fat Cat)

7/31, 5:30 PM blazing all-female street band the Brass Queens at 5th Ave and 3rd St. in Park Slope

7/31, 7 PM salsa romantica crooner Tito Nieves at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, be prepared to hang on the fringes because there may be restrictions

7/31, 8 PM Raga Maqam with paradigm-shifting trumpeter/santoorist Amir ElSaffar and members of  Brooklyn Raga Massive mash up hypnotic, often haunting Arabic and Indian sounds at Damrosch Park. Their Lincoln Center show a couple of years ago was off the hook. Hang on the sidewalk across the street because there are restrictions

7/31, 8 PM legendary Brooklyn psychedelic funk band Groove Collective at Drom, $20

7/31, 9 PM Veronica Davila’s twangy, Bakersfield-flavored hard honkytonk band Low Roller at Skinny Dennis

8/1, 5 PM Los Cumpleanos – with Nestor Gomez – vox/percussion; Lautaro Burgos – drums; Eric Lane – keyboards; Alex Asher – trombone and others playing trippy, dubwise tropical psychedelia at the Riis Park Beach Bazaar, Bay 9 East at Riis Park in the Rockaways

8/1, 7 PM wild, sizzling guitar-and-brass-fueled Ethiopian jazz jamband Anbessa Orchestra at Pier 1 on the Hudson

8/1, 7 PM the Harlem Gospel Travelers and irrepressible 60s-style blue-eyed soul singer Eli “Paperboy” Reed at Our Wicked Lady, $15

8/1, 9 PM singer Richard Julian and pianist John Chin play Mose Allison songs at Bar Lunatico. Perfect pairing: Julian’s wry sense of humor and Chin’s erudite chops.

8/2-6, half past noon lyrical, dynamic original jazz pianist Victor Lin solo at Bryant Park

8/3, 7 PM fiery electric bluegrass and C&W with Demolition String Band at Shipyard Park, 13th St and McFeeley Drive in Hoboken,

8/3, 7:30 PM the East Coast Chamber Orchestra play works by Mozart, Golijov and others at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park

8/3, 8/10 PM postbop jazz supergroup the Cookers – Billy Harper, Cecil McBee, George Cables, Eddie Henderson, and Billy Hart – at the Blue Note, $30 bar seats avail

8/4, 6:30, PM guitarist Oren Fader and and pianist/salonniere Yelena Grinberg reprise their sold-out performance of rare duo works by Vivaldi, Beethoven, Hummel, Moscheles, Weber, Boccherini, Munier, Castelnuovo and Piazzolla at Grinberg’s popular monthly upper westside salon, email for deets here., a 3  minute walk from 1/2/3 train at 96th St.

8/4, 7:30/9 PM cult favorite gonzo pianist Dred Scott plays Chick Corea at Mezzrow, $25

8/4, 8ish cinematic noir soul instrumentalists the Ghost Funk Orchestra at Our Wicked Lady, $12

8/4, 9 PM the Jimi Hendrix of the cuatro, Jorge Glem with pianist Cesar Orozco at Bar Lunatico

8/5, 7 PM Veronica Davila’s twangy, Bakersfield-flavored hard honkytonk band Low Roller at Mama Tried, 147 27th St, Bay Ridge, R to 25th St

8/5, 7 PM what’s left of the hi-de-ho Cab Calloway Orchestra at Astoria Park, on the water, take the N to Astoria Blvd.

8/6, 7 PM trumpeter Terence Blanchard with the Turtle Island Quartet at Bryant Park

8/6, 10 PM haunting gothic Americana ballads with Flora Midwood at Pete’s. Brilliant storyteller, strong singer and tunesmith.

8/6, 11 PM clever, fiery, eclectic ten-piece Balkan/hip-hop/funk brass maniacs Slavic Soul Party at Drom, $20

8/7, 2 PM an amazing improvisational jazz triplebill: baritone sax monster Josh Sinton with Daniel Carter and Sam Newsome, then brilliant, politically fearless visionary/tenor sax improviser Matana Roberts , and also flutist Laura Cocks solo at Oliver Coffee, 5 Oliver St (cor. St. James), Chinatown

8/7, 7 PM dark psychedelic acoustic blues/klezmer/reggae/soca jamband Hazmat Modine at Terra Blues. They’re also here on 7/21

8/7, 8 PM guitarist Nick Demopoulos’ twinkling, psychedelic spacescape project Smomid followed at 9 by enigmatic, cynical, lyrical rock band Golden Alphabet at Pete’s

8/7, 9:30 PM latin soul jams with the Brooklyn Boogaloo Blowout at 55 Bar

8/8, 7:30/9 PM  intense pianist Gerald Clayton solo at Mezzrow

8/9-13, half past noon lyrical, shapeshifting Brazilian pianist Luiz Simas solo at Bryant Park

8/10-12 Digable Planets at the Blue Note are sold out

8/10, 9:30 PM lickety-split punkgrass with the Eugene Tyler Band at Pete’s

8/11, 7 PM slinky, hypnotic percussive Moroccan trance band Innov Gnawa on the steps at the Grand Army Plaza branch of the Brooklyn Public Library

8/12-14, 7/9:30 PM the best singing pianist (and the best piano-playing singer) in jazz, the irrepressible Champian Fulton leads her quartet at Birdland, $30

8/12, 8 anthemic speedmetal band Cold Dice, 9 PM the debut of Certain Death (the house band from Pfizer or Moderna maybe?) 10 PM wild fuzzy stoner metal band Grave Bathers followed by the even more macabre Castle Rat at Our Wicked Lady, $12

8/13, 5 PM ageless, jangly, purist NY surf rock originals the Supertoness at the Riis Park Beach Bazaar, Bay 9 East at Riis Park in the Rockaways There’s also a surf music festival, bands tba, there on 8/14-15

8/13, 8 PM   ferociously dynamic, tuneful,female-fronted power trio Castle Black at Culture Lab outdoors, 5-25 46th Ave in Long Island City, down the block toward the water from LIC Bar; 8/28 they’re outdoors at the Greenpoint Terminal Market at 3, Market St. past Kent Ave on the water, G to Nassau Ave

8/14, 4 PM B’Rhythm blend Indian music and classical dance moves at Garfield Place between Prospect Park West and 8th Ave. in Park Slope, music by Bala Skandan, choreography by Brinda Guha and Sonali Skandan and an A-list slate of dancers

8/14, 7/9:30 PM popular lyrical postbop trumpeter Jeremy Pelt leads his quartet at Smalls $25

8/14, 9:30 PM  this era’s most consistently interesting jazz pianist, Vijay Iyer at Prospect Park Bandshell. Listen from outside (try around the back) since the arena may still have restrictions

8/15, 8:30 PM catchy, pensive blue-eyed soul crooner/guitarist Noto at Pete’s

8/16, 9 PM boisterously funny oldschool 60s C&W and brooding southwestern gothic with the Jack Grace Band at Skinny Dennis..

8/17, 7 PM Dominican jazz guitarist Yasser Tejeda & Pelotre at Gantry Plaza State Park

8/17, 7/8:30 PM  charismatic, adventurous postbop/avant garde trombonist/crooner Frank Lacy‘ at Smalls, $25

8/17-19, 8/10 PM the Bernie Williams Collective at the Blue Note, $25 bar seats avail. Not a vanity project: the greatest centerfielder of his time is a solid latin jazz/funk guitarist.

8/18, 7/8:30 PM eclectic jazz pianist Art Hirahara and his trio at Smalls, $25

8/18, 5 PM the Harlem Quartet at Times Square. Where? Follow the sound, it seems

8/18, 8 PM Stoogoid stoner boogie band Sun Voyager, noisy early 80s style postpunk band Smock and fuzzy acid blues/doom band Grandpa Jack at Our Wicked Lady, $12

8/18-22, 8/10 PM postbop jazz trumpeter and sly crooner Nicholas Payton at the Blue Note, $25 bar seats avail

8/19, 7 PM double threat Camille Thurman – equally dazzling on the mic and the tenor sax – with the Darrell Green Trio, and trombonist Conrad Herwig with his Quintet at Drom, $30

8/19-21, 7/9:30 PM golden-age postbop tenor sax legend Donald Harrison leads his quartet at Birdland, $30

8/19, 7/9:30 PM edgy jazz oudist and bassist Omer Avital and his group where he got his start at Smalls, $25

8/19, 11 PM sardonic and punky Japanese girlband the Hard Nip at Our Wicked Lady, $12

8/20, 7 PM amazingly dynamic drummer  Johnathan Blake and his trio and wildfire Colombian harpist Edmar Castaneda with drummer Ari Hoenig at Drom, $30

8/20, 7 PM Gordon Lockwood (blues guitar monster Jeremiah Lockwood and drummer Ricky Gordon) at Terra Blues

8/20, 7/8:30 PM the Sun Ra Arkestra’s legendary nonagenarian EWI player Marshall Allen and group at Smalls, $25

8/21, 7 PM legendary second-wave Afrobeat band Antibalas at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, be prepared to hang on the fringes because there may be restrictions

8/21, 7 PM edgy, incisive, terse jazz guitarist Russell Malone and his Quartet at Drom, $20

8/22, 7 PM paradigm-shifting Romany jazz/psychedelic rock guitar mastermind Stephane Wrembel at Drom $30

8/23, 7/8:30 PM erudite pianist Orrin Evans‘ richly tuneful, purist, stampeding Captain Black Big Band at Smalls,$25

8/24, 6 PM the Donald Harrison Quartet with the Harlem Orchestra play Charlie Parker’s Bird with Strings at Marcus Garvey Park, be prepared to hang on the fringes because there may be restrictions

8/24, 7/8;30 PM hard-hitting  postbop saxophonist Mike DiRubbo’s quartet at Smalls, $25

8/25, 8 PM punk/rockabilly band the Screaming Rebel Angels, goth-punks the Wh0res, and fiery, deviously fun oldtimey swing guitarist/crooner Seth Kessel at Our Wicked Lady, $12

8/26, 6 PM smart, lyrical, politically-inspired pianist Zaccai Curtis leads a trio at Times Square, Bwy at 43rd St

8/27, 6 PM an oldschool salsa dance party with 70s style charanga Son Del Monte at Alexander Avenue at Bruckner Boulevard in the Bronx

8/28, 5 PM nimble bassist Dawn Drake & Zapote‘play latin-tinged hard funk at the Riis Park Beach Bazaar, Bay 9 East at Riis Park in the Rockaways

8/28, 6 PM jazz violinist Melanie Dyer w/ poet Bonita Penn and bassist Ken Filiano at the Clifton Pl. Community Garden (1031 Bedford Ave.–b/n Clifton & Greene)

8/29, a parade of dancers with music by guitarist/bagpiper David Watson make their way through the Rockaways starting at 1 PM on the sand at Beach 86 St and end at 7 at Beach 110 St, performers include Toni Carlson, Yve Laris Cohen, Maggie Cloud, Marc Crousillat, Brittany Engel-Adams, Moriah Evans, Daria Fain, Lizzie Feidelson, Melanie Greene, Kennis Hawkins, Iréne Hultman, Shayla-Vie Jenkins, Burr Johnson, Niall Jones, Sarah Beth Percival, Jess Pretty, Antonio Ramos, Alex Rodabaugh, Carlo Villanueva, Anh Vo, Kota Yamazaki

8/29, 4 PM drummer Willie Jones III leads an allstar Charlie Parker centennial celebration band with Sarah Hanahan, Godwin Louis, Justin Robinson, Erena Terakubo with Donald Vega on piano and Endea Owens on bass at Marcus Garvey Park

8/29, 5 PM, repeating 9/1 at 6:30 colorful, charismatic pianist/salonniere Yelena Grinberg, violinist Eric Silberger and cellist Madeline Fayette play Haydn’s “Gypsy” piano trio, Mozart’s warmly lyrical Piano Trio in C and Beethoven’s daunting “Ghost” piano trio at Grinberg’s popular monthly upper westside salon, email for deets here., a 3  minute walk from 1/2/3 train at 96th St.

8/29, 9:30 PM irrepressibly sardonic janglerock/folk-punk songwriter, New Yorker illustrator and White Hassle alum Marcellus Hall  at Pete’s

8/30-9/3 half past noon latin jazz pianist Isaac Bin Ayala solo at Bryant Park

9/1, 7:30ish noiserock legends Yo La Tengo at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park

9/8 7 PM the aptly named Firey String Sistas play their edgy chamber jazz at Pier 84, 44th st. and the Hudson just south of the Intrepid

9/11, 5 PM newschool gospel with Mary Mary singer Erica Campbell, the Walls Group, Lena Byrd Miles and Jason McGee and Choir at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park

9/12, 4 PM the Overlook String Quartet play music by black composers Eleanor Alberga, Florence Price, and Chevalier de Saint-Georges at the Morris-Jumel Mansion, 65 Jumel Terrace about a block south of 162nd St., Washington Heights, free, A/C to 163rd St.

9/12, 7 PM southern soul songwriter Valerie June at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park

9/18, 7:30 PM Trombone Shorty at Prospect Park Bandshell. We might have to listen from outside since the arena may still have restrictions

9/19, 7 PM Patti Smith at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park,

10/3, 1 PM  hard-hitting, brass-fueled newschool latin soul/boogaloo dance band Spanglish Fly at Playground 52,  Kelly St bet. Av St John and Leggett Ave in the Bronx, 6 to Longwood Ave

DWB: The Most Relevant, Hauntingly Evocative New Chamber Opera in Years

It’s hard to imagine a song cycle more apropos to our era than composer Susan Kander and soprano Roberta Gumbel’s chamber opera DWB (Driving While Black), streaming at Spotify. Gumbel’s lyrics draw on her own experiences and worries as the parent of a black adolescent who’s approaching driving age. Interspersed amid this mom’s reveries are real-life “bulletins” ranging from incidents of mundane everyday racism – Henry Louis Gates arrested for trying to enter his own home – to allusively macabre references to the murders of Trayvon Martin and Philando Castile.

Kander’s dynamic, sometimes kinetic, often haunting series of themes bring to mind Bernard Herrmann’s Hitchcock movie scores, Gumbel nimbly negotiating their dramatic twists and turns. With tense close harmonies and chiming arrangements, Messiaen and maybe George Crumb seem to be influences. The duo New Morse Code come across as a much larger ensemble: credit percussionist Michael Compitello, who plays a vast variety of instruments, most notably vibraphone and bells, alongside cellist Hannah Collins. Together they shift, often in the span of a few seconds, from a creepy, deep-space twinkle to a stalking, monstrous pulse and all-too-frequent evocations of gunfire.

What hits you right off the bat is that this narrator mom is smart. She frets about putting her infant in a backwards-facing car seat, because he won’t be able to see her, and she won’t be able to offer him a smile to comfort him. We get to watch him grow up: to Gumbel’s immense credit, there’s a lot of humor in the more familial moments, welcome relief from the relentless sinister outside world. The driver’s ed scene is particularly hilarious. Yet this doesn’t turn out to be a trouble-free childhood: Gumbel casts the kid as the son in a single-parent household, reflecting the reality that an inordinate percentage of people of color are forced to cope with.

Most of the numbers are over in less than a couple of minutes, a kaleidoscope of alternately fond and grisly images. A soaring, drifting lullaby, a slinky soul-tinged groove and a plaintive cello solo break up the furtive, often frantic sequences. One of the most chilling interludes involves not a police shooting but a near-miss. In a case of mistaken identity with a rare happy ending, the cops end up dumping the ex-suspect out of the police van in an unfamiliar part of town. He has to walk all the way home from there. Wait til you find out how old he is.

Plunge Into the Depths With Lucie Vítková and James Ilgenfritz

Lucie Vítková and James Ilgenfritz’s new album Aging – streaming at Bandcamp – is a series of dronescapes. As relentlessly bleak music, it could just as easily be a portrait of the past fourteen months as much as an exploration of what a drag it is to watch the years pile up. Just remember that getting old is a state of mind no matter how many trips you make around the sun.

This is microtonal music. With one exception close to the end of the record, none of these seven long interludes move very far from a sonic center, and it’s frequently impossible to distinguish Ilgenfritz’s bowed bass, abrasively keening harmonics and extended-technique slashes from Vítková’s electronics.

Slowly rising and falling pitchblende resonance is flecked with crumbling fragments of grey noise, clunking loops and ghostly flickers – a deep-space icebreaker clearing the junk from what’s left of the Death Star, maybe. Oscillating scrapes, buzz and boom, achingly unresolved close harmonies, sirening bends and dopplers all filter through the mix. The funereal, tolling chords and darkly contrasting textures of the almost fifteen-minute fifth track are the high point of the album, such that it is. The one after that, a study in high harmonics, more or less, is the most animated.

On one hand, someone with no experience on stringed instruments could probably play this whole thing, or an approximation thereof, after a few tips on bowing. On the other, it really maintains a mood. If you like the lows and the low midrange, this is very enjoyably immersive.

Blythe Gaissert Tackles the Concept of Home in an Era of Refugees and Homelessness

What’s become more and more apparent as the lockdowers’ schemes continue to unravel is that a significant portion of the global population managed to keep the lockdown at bay. Yes, entire segments of the economy, most tragically the performing arts, were largely destroyed. But freedom proved too strong to die. We found places to shop and eat where nobody was traced or tracked or expected to be muzzled. When our favorite bars and restaurants were padlocked, we started speakeasies and threw potlucks. A lot of us entertained audiences in our newfound clandestine spaces. And some of us even made albums. One particularly noteworthy and fiercely relevant new release is mezzo-soprano Blythe Gaissert‘s album Home, streaming at Bandcamp.

Its central theme relates powerfully to the global refugee crisis, although it’s taken on frightening new levels of meaning since the lockdown. Joined by a dynamic, impassioned chamber ensemble, Gaissert has engaged an eclectic cast of composers and lyricists who range beyond the indie classical demimonde with which she is most closely associated.

She opens the album with David T. Little and Royce Vavrek’s bracing Archaeology. Over a somber, steadily shifting backdrop from violinists Miho Saegusa and Katie Hyun, violist Jessica Meyer, cellist Andrew Yee and bassist Louis Levitt, Gaissert reaches for the rafters in this allusively ominous tableau: houses keep more secrets than anyone knows.

Gaissert sings in Chinese in Songs From Exile, a leaping yet pulsingly elegant diptych by Rene Orth utilizing an ancient Li Qing Zhao text, an expat’s view of absence and longing. The acidic glissandos from the strings in the second part are particularly disquieting.

Gaissert shifts to French for Nous Deux, Martin Hennessy‘s starkly string-fueled setting of a Paul Eluard text: “We ourselves are the evidence that love is at home with us,” is the crux of it. Laura Kaminsky and Kimberly Reed‘s Carne Barata (Chopped Meat) witheringly quotes immigrant Linda Morales’ cynical account of undocumented employees in the meatpacking industry. Colleen Bernstein’s vibraphone lingers beneath the opacity of the string section and Gaissert’s impassioned duet with baritone Michael Kelly.

She soars over Bradley Moore’s colorfully crescendoing piano in John Glover and Kelley Rourke‘s Home Is Where I Take My Shoes Off. a welcome moment of comic relief. The music calms with Kamala Sankaram‘s gorgeously ambered, wistfully imagistic Ramonanewyorkamsterdam.

The lush sway of Jerry Hammer, by Ricky Ian Gordon, belies the song’s creepy childhood reminiscence of the death of an outcast. Gaissert reaches to the depths of her register in the final composition, Bungalow, a diptych by Mikael Karlsson and Rob Stephenson. Its alternately blustery and seemingly Indian-influenced, nebulously swirling textures build levels of suspense that the lyrics never match. Otherwise, throughout this album, Gaissert has really nailed the angst of an era.

Live Music Calendar For New York and Brooklyn For May and June 2021

We’re taking baby steps toward getting back to normal: new calendar for July and August coming 7/1 with probably hundreds more listings. In the meantime, more and more free outdoor shows popping up all over town, so this calendar is being updated more frequently. A lot of shows are being announced at the 11th hour, so you might want to bookmark this page and check back on a night, or an afternoon, when you feel like going out.

Please don’t patronize venues that continue to enforce  lockdown restrictions. Let’s all do our part to make sure New York doesn’t turn into an apartheid state!

5/8, 4 PM brilliant resonator guitarist/bluesmama Mamie Minch in front of the Wild Project, 3rd St between Aves A + B. She’s also at High Dive on 5th Ave and Carroll Street in Park Slope on 5/29th at 2

5/13, 5 PM  hard-hitting bassist Dawn Drake & Zapote‘play psychedelic Afrobeat and funk at the corner of Fulton and Bond in downtown Brooklyn

5/15, 3 PM ish powerhouse tenor saxophonist Mark Turner leads a chordless trio with Vicente Archer on bass and Johnathan Blake on drums in Central Park on the elevation about a block north of the 81st St. entrance on the west side

5/15, 4 PM composer-collective Oracle Hysterical premiere their new song cycle Terra Nova outdoors at the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza

5/15, time TBA avant garde chanteuse Jane LeCroy’s new punk cabaret duo project Shelter Puppy outdoors at City Reliquary, 370 Metropolitan Ave off Havemeyer, Williamsburg, free

5/16, 1 PM ish drummer Antonio Sanchez leads a trio with Donny McCaslin on alto sax and Matt Brewer on bass in Central Park on the elevation about a block north of the 81st St. entrance on the west side

5/16, 3 PM luminous, visionary vocalist/dancer Luisa Muhr, multi-reed legend Daniel Carter and a posse of many more improvise outside 166 N 12th St. in Williamsburg

5/16, 5 PM the SEM Ensemble play Petr Kotik’s Letters to Olga (1988) with text by Václav Havel for two narrators, winds and guitars at in the yard adjacent to the Willow Place Auditorium, 25 Columbia Place (Joralemon/State), downtown Brooklyn, closest train is the A/C to High St.

5/17, 5:30 PM the American Symphony Orchestra brass quartet play works by Tcherepnin, Carlos Chavez, Strauss and others at Bryant Park. The program repeats on 5/19.

5/18, 5:30 PM oboeist Alexandra Knoll leads a wind trio playing an all-French program with works by Poulenc, Francaix and others at Bryant Park

5/20, 5 PM dynamic, sometimes atmospheric jazz violinist Charlie Burnham and band at the corner of Fulton and Bond in downtown Brooklyn

5/21, 5 PM cellist Marika Hughes‘ New String Quartet with Charlie Burnham on violin, Marvin Sewell on guitar, and Rashaan Carter on bass in Central Park on the elevation about a block north of the 81st St. entrance on the west side. 5/27, 5 PM she’s at the corner of Fulton and Bond in downtown Brooklyn

5/22, 3 PM ish tsunami drummer Johnathan Blake leads a wild quartet with Mark Turner and Chris Potter on tenor sax and Dezron Douglas on bass, wow, in Central Park on the elevation about a block north of the 81st St. entrance on the west side

5/23 starting at half past noon an outdoor jazz festival starting at half past noon outside at 18 Whitwell Pl in Gowanus with saxophonist Ole Mathisen‘s Take Off Collective trio at 4:30 F/R to 4th Ave

5/23-24, 1 PM ish drummer Nasheet Waits leads a high-voltage quartet with Mark Turner and Steve Nelson on tenor sax, and Rashaan Carter on bass in Central Park on the elevation about a block north of the 81st St. entrance on the west side

5/26, 1 PM lustrous singer and badass cello-rock bandleader Serena Jost in a rare solo show at Bogardus Plaza, Hudson Street between Chambers & Reade, Tribeca

5/26, 7 PM, tunefully scruffy pastoral jazz guitarist Tom Csatari leads his  noir-tinged Uncivilized band at the Flying Lobster, 144 Union St off Hicks, just over the BQE, outdoors, F to Smith/9th

5/31, 2 PM drummer Michael W. Davis leads his trio with Lucas Pino on tenor sax, Martin Nevin on bass; at 3 trumpeter Jason Palmer leads his Quartet with Mark Turner on tenor sax, Edward Perez on bass and Kendrick Scott on drums in Central Park about a block north of the 81st St. entrance on the west side; take the trail up, to the right of the bridge

6/1, 3 PM, tenor sax titan Mark Turner leads a quartet with Jason Palmer on trumpet, Joe Martin on bass, Marcus Gilmore on drums in Central Park about a block north of the 81st St. entrance on the west side; take the trail up, to the right of the bridge

6/2, 1 PM Celtic-inspired pianist Will Armstrong‘s Trio at Bogardus Plaza, Hudson Street between Chambers & Reade, Tribeca

6/2-4, 1 PM ish pyrotechnic tenor sax player Mark Turner records a live album with Jason Palmer on trumpet, Joe Martin on bass and Marcus Gilmore on drums in Central Park on the elevation about a block north of the 81st St. entrance on the west side

6/5. 4 PM  the world’s creepiest, slinkiest, most psychedelic crime jazz/film noir band, Big Lazy at a front-porch show at 182 Argyle Rd (Beverly/Albemarle). in Ditmas Park Brooklyn, Q to Beverly Rd.. 6/26 at 6:30 they’re at West Side Arts Concert series in Lincoln Park in Jersey City

6/6-8, 4 PM ish saxophonist Darius Jones records a live album with Dezron Douglas on bass and Gerald Cleaver next to the Catacombs in the middle of Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, R to 25th St.

6/6, 4 PM  amazing string quintet Sybarite5– who are also the world’s coolest Radiohead cover band – on the steps of the Grand Army Plaza branch of the Brooklyn Public Library

6/6 and 6/13, 2 PM a Scandinavian orchestral and chamber music festival with performers TBA on the Billings Lawn at Ft. Tryon Park. Artists associated with the late, great NY Scandia Symphony may be involved.

6/10, 7:30 PM bhangra-klezmer mashups with Sharabi with trumpeter Frank London & Deep Singh with singer Sarah Gordon at Wagner Park just north of the battery CANCELLED DUE TO THREAT OF RAIN

6/10, 7:30 PM perennially popular jazz bassist/singer Esperanza Spalding with drummer Teri Lyne Carrington and keyboardist Leo Genovese outdoors at the Clemente Soto VélezcCultural & Educational Center, 114 Norfolk St., LES

6/13, 2 PM carnivalesque Balkan punk monstrosity Funkrust Brass Band outdoors at 98 Dikeman St, (Richards/Conover) Red Hook

6/13 , 2 PM tenor sax player Danny Walsh leads a trio with bassist Yoshi Waki and dummer Richie Morales in Central Park about a block north of the 81st St. entrance on the west side, take the path up the hill to the left of the bridge

6/15, 7:30 PM orchestra the Knights with Gil Shaham, violin and Aoife O’Donovan, vocals play works by O’Donovan, George Walker and Beethoven at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park, there may be restrictions, be prepared to linger on the fringes

6/18, 9 ish  torchy cumbia/swing singer and accordionist Erica Mancini at Sunny’s. She’s back on 6/25.

6/19, 4:30 PM intense Balkan chanteuse Jenny Luna‘s haunting, traditional Turkish band Dolunay outdoors at Barbes

6/19, 4;30 PM wildfire electric blues guitarist Celisse Henderson at the block party at Astor Place east of Lafayette

6/19, 6 PM House of Time play works by JS Bach, CPE Bach & Telemann; Suzanne Lorge sings azz with John Di Martino (piano) and Sophia Reyes (flute); pianist Evelyne Luest plays Schubert outdoors at the B-C Courtyard at Hudson View Gardens, 116 Pinehurst Ave, Washington Heights, A to 181st St., free

6/19, 8 PM fearless, psychedelic jazz trumpeter Jaimie Branch and band at San Pedro Inn, 320 Van Brunt St, Red Hook

6/20, 1 PM ish an allday outdoor jazz extravaganza with trombonist Bryan Drye’s Zodiac Quintet, Steven Bernstein’s Millenial Territorial Orchestra, drummer Jeff Davis’ quintet and Brooklyn psychedelic funk legends Groove Collective in front of I-Beam

6/20, 2 PM join some of the prime movers of the NYC pro-freedom movement for a summer solstice celebration in the park on Roosevelt Island with a picnic and activities, dedicated to the late great activist Rosa Koire. Tour starts at 2 at the café at Cornell Tech, 2 West Loop Road, a 10-minute walk south from the Roosevelt Island subway station.

2:00 – “Transhumanist dream” by art-rock singer/investigative journalist Tessa Lena (at Cornell Tech)
2:30 – “The biomedical roots of the Covid plandemic” by psychiatrist Dr. Karin Burkhard (Smallpox hospital ruins)
3:00 – “The evisceration of our freedoms” by investigative journalist/healer Cat McGuire (FDR Four Freedoms Memorial)
3:30 – gong-bath storytelling performance by Mary Ann Schmidt and Michael Jay
4:00 – acceptance celebration and healing circle
4:00-7:00 – percussion improvisation by Africa Forestdance

6/20, 3 PM alto saxophonist Abraham Burton leads a trio with Dezron Douglas on bass and Eric McPherson on drums in Central Park about a block north of the 81st St. entrance on the west side; take the trail up, to the left of the bridge

6/20, 5 PM repeating 6/23 at 6:30 PM clarinetist Bixby Kennedy, cellist Madeline Fayette and pianist/salonniere Yelena Grinberg play works by Beethoven, Ries and Mendelssohn at Grinberg’s now-resusciated monthly upper westside salon, email for deets here., convenient to 1/2/3 trains, $35 includes wine, munchies and good conversation afterward

6/21-24, half past noon lyrical jazz pianist Deanna Witkowski plays solo at Bryant Park

6/21, 6 PM dark psychedelic acoustic blues/klezmer/reggae/soca jamband Hazmat Modine under the Manhattan Bridge archway in Dumbo, F to York St.

6/21, 6:30ish the NY Mandolin Orchestra at Needle Park at the triangle at Broadway and 65th St.

6/21, 7 PM Zach Layton and Nick Hallett lead a performance of Terry Riley’s “In C” at Brooklyn Bridge Park Harborview Lawn on Pier 1, south of the old roller rink, walk up and west and you’ll find it

6/24, 6:30 PM surreal, rustic, lyrical klezmer from the Beary Brothers featuring Psoy Korolenko, Zisl Slepovitch and Ilya Shneyveys at Wagner Park just north and west of the Battery

6/26, 4 PM cinematic, psychedelic quirk-pop keyboardist Michael Hearst and his Songs for Unusual (fill in the blank: creatures, vehicles, you name it) at the Old Stone House in Park Slope

6/26, 7 PM clever, fiery, eclectic ten-piece Balkan/hip-hop/funk brass maniacs Slavic Soul Party  under the Manhattan Bridge archway in Dumbo, F to York St.

6/26, 8 PM tunefully scruffy pastoral jazz guitarist Tom Csatari leads his  noir-tinged Uncivilized band at San Pedro Inn, 320 Van Brunt St, Red Hook

6/27, 7 PM Charu Suri Raga Jazz w/ Sufi Maestro Umer Piracha at Drom, $15

6/29, 7:30 PM an oldtimey swing dance party with the Silver Arrow Band at Drom, free

6/29, 7:30 PM the Ulysses and Emerson String Quartets team up for music by Shostakovich, Mendelssohn, Richard Strauss and others at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park

6/30, 7 PM the Brooklyn Conservatory Community Orchestra play music by Haydn, Dvorak and the Bruch violin concerto with concertmaster Luis Casal outdoors at the Old Stone House in Park Slope

7/1, 7:30 PM intense, rapturous Balkan/Middle Eastern ensemble the Secret Trio –Tamer Pinarbasi, Ismail Lumanovski & Ara Dinkjian – at Drom, $20. They’re back on 7/27 at 9:30.. After this show, at 9 moody, tuneful string-driven Americana and chamber pop with DM & the Expats play ($15 separate adm)

7/2, 7 PM Gordon Lockwood (blues guitar monster Jeremiah Lockwood and drummer Ricky Gordon) at Terra Blues. They’re back here on 7/9

7 /3, 7:30/9:30 PM cleverly lyrical, darkly klezmer-tinged pianist Uri Caine with Mark Helias on bass and Ben Perowsky on drums at Mezzrow, $25

7/5, 7 PM wryly retro, period-perfect classic 60s style female-fronted honkytonk band the Bourbon Express at Cowgirl Seahorse.. 7/10, 8 PM ish they’re at Schnitzel House, 7319 5th Ave in Bay Ridge, R to 77th St.

7/5, 9 PM the Binky Griptite Orchestra (formerly Sharon Jones’ brilliant oldschool soul backing band) at Bar Lunatico

7/6, 7:30 PM chamber orchestra A Far Cry play works by Grieg, Part, Jessie Montgomery and others at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park

7/6, 7/8:30 PM postbop trumpeter Josh Evans leads a quintet at Smalls, $25

7/6, 8 PM legendary, risque, politically spot-on calypso icon the Mighty Sparrow at Damrosch Park. Maybe listen from across the street because there may be restrictions.

7/6, 8:30 PM tuneful original delta blues and acoustic Americana from guitarist Jon LaDeau at Pete’s

7/6, 9 PM Trio Catarina with hotshot Brazilian accordionist Felipe Hostins at Bar Lunatico

7/7, 6 PM new string quartet the Overlook with guest Tanya Birl-Torres play music by Leila Adu, Shelley Washington and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor at the Hispanic Society of America, 613 W 155th St. west of Broadway, 1 train to 157th St., free

7/7, 6 PM horn player Cort Roberts leads an ensemble playing new classical repertoire tba at Madison Square Park. He’s back on 8/11

7/7, 8 PM ish edgy alto sax player Kate Mohanty plays her bday show followed by uneasy female-fronted psychedelic abstract rock band Gold Dime at Our Wicked Lady, $12

7/7, 7:30 PM the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center with Shai Wosner, piano; Chad Hoopes, violin; Kristin Lee, violin; Tien-Hsin Cindy Wu, viola; David Requiro, cello; Xavier Foley, bass play works by Beethoven and Dvořák at Damrosch Park. Maybe listen from across the street because there may be restrictions.

7/8, 6 PM soaringly explosive jazz composer/torch singer Nicole Zuraitis at 55 Bar

7/8, 8 PM painter Jim Watt completes his “1000 Watts” series of 1000 ink washes in the monochromatic Japanese Sumi style while an allstar jazz trio – trumpeter Antoine Drye, guitar icon Bill Frisell & drummer Kyle Benford – improvise behind him at Collab, 309 Starr St, Bushwick (St. Nicholas/Cypress Ave), L to Jefferson St, $20 sug don. Watt will donate $100,000 (a hundred grand, you read that right) to benefit jazz musicians imperiled by the lockdown through sales at his dealer Jim Kempner Fine Art.

7/8, 8 PM the NY Philharmonic play Carlos Simon: Fate Now Conquers; Stravinsky: Pulcinella Suite; Mozart: Symphony No. 40 at Damrosch Park. Maybe listen from across the street because there may be restrictions.

7/9, 7 PM perennially popular original folksinger Toshi Reagon & Big Lovely at Bryant Park

7/9, 7/9:30 PM cutting-edge B3 organ grooves with the Jared Gold trio at Smallls, ,$25

7/9, 7:30 PM iconic Afro-Cuban percussionist/bandleader Pedrito Martinez at Drom, $15

7/10, 2 PM afternoon improvisations: guitarist  Aron Namenwirth with Daniel Carter, Claire de Brunner, Tamio Shirashi and otherworldly Turkish group No Land at Oliver Coffee, 5 Oliver St (cor. St. James), Chinatown

7/10, 7 PM dark psychedelic acoustic blues/klezmer/reggae/soca jamband Hazmat Modine at Terra Blues. They’re back here on 7/24

7/10, 7:30 PM the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center play works by Haydn, Mendelssohn and Schumann at Damrosch Park. Maybe listen from across the street because there may be restrictions.

7/11, 3:30 PM the Noga Band featuring amazing Middle Eastern oudist Avram Pengas at Wagner Park north and west of the Battery

7/12-16, half past noon sly, cinematic, tuneful Microscopic Septet pianist Joel Forrester at Bryant Park

7/13, 7 PM pensive, eclectic, tuneful jazz/art-rock songwriter Becca Stevens at the big room at the Rockwood, $15

7/14, 6:30 PM repeating 7/18 at 5 PM guitarist Oren Fader and and pianist/salonniere Yelena Grinberg play rare duo works by Vivaldi, Beethoven, Hummel, Moscheles, Weber, Boccherini, Munier, Castelnuovo and Piazzolla at Grinberg’s now-resuscitated monthly upper westside salon, email for deets here., convenient to 1/2/3 trains, $35 includes wine, munchies and good conversation afterward

7/16, 7 PM  sizzling salsa dura band the Spanish Harlem Orchestra at Bryant Park

7/16, 7/8:30 PM drummer Sylvia Cuenca leads a quintet with Dave Kikoski on piano and Craig Handy on tenor sax at Smallls, $25

7/18, 7 PM slashing lo-fi guttar blues songwriter/guitarist Breanna Barbara at Our Wicked Lady, free

7/18, 7:30/9 PM Falkner Evans solo on piano – sometimes inscrutable, sometimes darkly rapturous – at Mezzrow, $25

7/19, 9 PM darkly brilliant, psychedelic Klezmatics multi-reedman Matt Darriau‘s group plays a Yusef Lateef tribute at Bar Lunatico

7/20, noon classical ensemble the Sterling Strings play their hilarious string quartet versions of rap and pp hits at Metrotech Park in downtown Brooklyn

7/20, 7 PM vibraphonist Felipe Fournier‘s wild Tito Puente and Dave Brubeck cover band, Supermambo at Gantry Plaza State Park

7/20, 7:30 PM the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra play works by Purcell, John Blow and others at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park

7/20, 7:30/9:30 PM  rapturously eclectic jazz chanteuse Marianne Solivan leads her leads her trio at Mezzrow, $25

7/21, 7 PM adventurous indie classical ensemble Contemporaneous play edgy, often poignant new works by Alex Weiser, Zachary James Ritter, Yasmin Williams , toy pianist Lucy Yao and a world premiere by Yaz Lancaster at Pier 64, 24th St. and the Hudson, free, rsvp req  

7/21, 8 PM bhangra-klezmer mashups with Sharabi feat. trumpeter Frank London & Deep Singh with singer Sarah Gordon plus Israeli reggae-rockers Zion 80 at Drom, $20

7/22, half past noon mostly-female, kinetic klezmer/cumbia/cinematic jamband Isle of Klezbos at St. Marks Park, 2nd Ave/10th St.

7/22, 7/8:30 PM colorful,  eclectic, paradigm-shifting B3 jazz organist Brian Charette  leads his organ trio at Smalls, $25

7/23, 7 PM orchestra the Knights play music by Jessie Montgomery, Anna Clyne, and Christina Courtin, alongside Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik. at Bryant Park

7/24 2 PM improvisational keyboardist Matt Mottel plays his bday show at Oliver Coffee, 5 Oliver St (cor. St. James), Chinatown

7/24, 7/8:30 PM Mike LeDonne takes a relatively rare turn on piano with a trio on piano at Smalls

7/24, 7:30ish the Sun Ra Arkestra at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, be prepared to hang on the fringes because there may be restrictions

7/24, 8 PM sprawling large jazz/ambient ensemble/jamband Burnt Sugar at Damrosch Park

7/24, 10 PM fiery electric bluegrass and C&W with Demolition String Band at Skinny Dennis

7/26-30 half past noon big band pianist Russ Kasoff solo at Bryant Park

7/27, 7 PM the George Gee Big Band play vintage 30s swing at Gantry Plaza State Park

7/28, 6 PM vibraphonist Sae Hashimoto leads an ensemble playing new classical repertoire tba at Madison Square Park. She’s back on 8/4

7/29, half past noon fearlessly relevant, toweringly intense latin jazz pianist Arturo O’Farrill leads a smaller band than usual at St. Marks Park, 2nd Ave/10th St

7/29, 7:30 PM the Mingus Big Band celebrate their new home at Drom, $30

7/29, 10ish sly blue-eyed soul pianist/crooner Nat Osborn at the big room at the Rockwood, ,$15

7/30, 8 PM Indian percussionist Ravish Momin’s Sunken Cages + Migiwa “Miggy” Miyajima‘s lavish large jazz ensemble at Damrosch Park, be prepared to hang on the fringes because there may be restrictions

7/30, 7:30 PM postbop saxophonist Greg Osby and his Quartet and clarinetist Oran Etkin’s Open Arms Project at Drom, $30

7/31, 7 PM salsa romantica crooner Tito Nieves at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, be prepared to hang on the fringes because there may be restrictions

7/31, 8 PM Raga Maqam with paradigm-shifting trumpeter/santoorist Amir ElSaffar and members of  Brooklyn Raga Massive at Damrosch Park. Their Lincoln Center show a couple of years ago was off the hook.

7/31, 8 PM legendary Brooklyn psychedelic funk band Groove Collective at Drom, $20

8/1, 7 PM the Harlem Gospel Travelers and irrepressible 60s-style blue-eyed soul singer Eli “Paperboy” Reed at Our Wicked Lady, free

8/3, 7:30 PM the East Coast Chamber Orchestra play works by Mozart, Golijov and others at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park

8/6, 7 PM trumpeter Terence Blanchard with the Turtle Island Quartet at Bryant Park

8/6, 11 PM clever, fiery, eclectic ten-piece Balkan/hip-hop/funk brass maniacs Slavic Soul Party at Drom, $20

8/7, 2 PM an amazing improvisational jazz triplebill: baritone sax monster Josh Sinton with Daniel Carter and Sam Newsome, then brilliant, politically fearless visionary/tenor sax improviser Matana Roberts , and flutist Laura Cocks solo at Oliver Coffee, 5 Oliver St (cor. St. James), Chinatown

8/11, 7 PM slinky, hypnotic percussive Moroccan trance band Innov Gnawa on the steps at the Grand Army Plaza branch of the Brooklyn Public Library

8/14, 9:30 PM  this era’s most consistently interesting jazz pianist, Vijay Iyer at Prospect Park Bandshell. Listen from outside (try around the back) since the arena may still have restrictions

8/17, 7 PM Dominican jazz guitarist Yasser Tejeda & Pelotre at Gantry Plaza State Park

8/18, 5 PM the Harlem Quartet at Times Square. Where? Follow the sound, it seems

8/18 alto sax powerhouse Ravi Coltrane and the sultry Juke Joint Jelis feat. badass singer Brianna Thomas at Drom, time/price tba

8/19, 7 PM double threat Camille Thurman – equally dazzling on the mic and the tenor sax – with the Darrell Green Trio, and trombonist Conrad Herwig with his Quintet at Drom, $30

8/20, 7 PM amazingly dynamic drummer  Johnathan Blake and his trio and wildfire Colombian harpist Edmar Castaneda with drummer Ari Hoenig at Drom, $30

8/21, 7 PM legendary second-wave Afrobeat band Antibalas at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park

8/21, 7 PM edgy, incisive, terse jazz guitarist Russell Malone and his Quartet at Drom, $20

8/22, 7 PM paradigm-shifting Romany jazz/psychedelic rock guitar mastermind Stephane Wrembell at Drom $30

8/24, 6 PM the Donald Harrison Quartet with the Harlem Orchestra play Charlie Parker’s Bird with Strings at Marcus Garvey Park, be prepared to hang on the fringes because there may be restrictions

9/12, 4 PM the Overlook String Quartet play music by Eleanor Alberga, Florence Price, and Chevalier de Saint-Georges at the Morris-Jumel Mansion, 65 Jumel Terrace about a block south of 162nd St., Washington Heights, free, A/C to 163rd St.

9/18, 7:30 PM Trombone Shorty at Prospect Park Bandshell. We might have to listen from outside since the arena may still have restrictions

9/19, 7 PM Patti Smith at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, maybe listen from outside because there may still be restrictions involved

Remembering a Rapturous Annual Brooklyn Festival of Cutting-Edge Vocal Music

The annual Resonant Bodies Festival of avant garde vocal music ran from 2013 to 2019 at Roulette, and had just begun to branch out to other major cities when the lockdown crushed the performing arts throughout most of the world. This blog was there for the initial festival, and subsequent editions matched that year’s outside-the-box sensibility. Roulette’s vast archive still exists, and presumably everything from those often riveting performances was recorded. Let’s hope that there’s been enough resistance to the lockdown, and enough talent left in New York this fall to resume the series; if not, there’s a fantastic live compilation album featuring some of the highlights from over the years streaming at Bandcamp.

The lineup here is a who’s who of some of the most formidable new-music vocal talent out there. As was often the case with the series itself, all of the singers here are women, most of them composer-performers playing and singing solo. All but two of the tracks are from the festival.

Charmaine Lee‘s Littorals makes an apt opener. Her shtick is that she uses all the sounds in the international phonetic alphabet, plus some that may not have symbols. Part human beatbox, part devious infant, part comic, her solo performance will leave you in stitches. It sounds as if the mic is inside her mouth for much of this. This might be the funniest track anyone’s released this year.

Julia Bullock brings a beefy, soul-inspired vibrato to John Cage’s She is Asleep, Milena Gligić supplying muted, percussive microtones under the piano lid. Pamela Z’s highly processed solo diptych Quatre Couches/Badagada spins an increasingly agitated pastiche through a funhouse mirror.

Backed by clarinetist Campbell MacDonald, Sarah Maria Sun delivers Thierry Tidrow‘s grisly murder ballad Die Flamme, Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire recast as arsonist. Tony Arnold nimbly negotiates the multiple voices and disjointedly demanding extended technique of Jason Eckardt’s Dithyramb.

Arooj Aftab joins forces with pianist Vijay Iyer and bassist Shahzad Ismaily for En Route to Unfriending, a slowly unwinding, ghazal-inspired, melancholy tour de force from the 2017 festival. Iyer’s gently insistent staccato, evoking the ringing of a santoor, is masterful.

The title of Kamala Sankaram‘s slowly crescendoing solo electroacoustic piece Ololyga reflects a shrieking mourning ritual practiced in ancient Greece, which men reputedly scared off all the guys. Needless to say, the Bombay Rickey frontwoman pulls out all the stops with her five-octave range.

Another solo electroacoustic performance, Caroline Shaw‘s diptych Rise/Other Song is considerably calmer, with a gently incantatory quality. Gelsey Bell‘s Feedback Belly is one of the more imaginative and intense pieces here, drawing on her battle with the waves of pain she experienced during a long battle with endometriosis. “If there’s anything you take away from this, please take women’s pain seriously. There is nothing like having a women’s disease to radicalize a feminist in this incredibly misogynistic health system,” she relates in the album’s extensive, colorful liner notes. Manipulating feedback from a Fender amp inside a metal canister hidden under her oversize dress, Bell builds a strangely rapt, dynamically shifting atmosphere punctuated by pulsing electronic grit.

Duo Cortona – vocalist Rachel Calloway and violinist/vocalist Ari Streisfeld – perform Amadeus Regucera‘s relationship drama If Only After You Then Me, beginning furtively and ripping through many moments of franticness and sheer terror. The iconic Lucy Shelton sings a dynamically impassioned take of Susan Botti‘s Listen, My Heart, a setting of a comforting Rabindrath Tagore poem, accompanying herself energetically on singing bowls and metal percussion.

Anaïs Maviel plays spiky, circling ngoni on In the Garden, a hypnotically moody, masterfully melismatic retelling of the Garden of Eden myth. The album’s closing epic is Sofia Jernberg’s One Pitch: Birds for Distortion and Mouth Synthesizers. Is she going to be able to hold up through seventeen minutes of nonstop, increasingly rigorous falsetto birdsong-like motives…let alone without a break for water? No spoilers!

Haunting, Intense, Politically Potent Pan-Asian Inspired New Sounds From Jen Shyu

Jen Shyu’s music is hypnotic, frequently nocturnal, incantatory and informed by ancient myths and traditions spanning across Asia. Inspired by those traditions, Shyu hardly limits herself to the kind of separation between artistic disciplines which so often dominates those practices in the west. Much of the music on her haunting, otherworldly new album Zero Grasses: Ritual for the Losses – streaming at Bandcamp – is a soundtrack for even more ambitious multimedia projects.

Throughout her work, Shyu has always focused on commonalities, drawing on artistic and cultural influences from Taiwan, East Timor, Indonesia, Japan and beyond. This album shares that universality yet is also her most personal one. It’s rooted in the here and now, a response to bereavement and tragedy, addressing the sudden loss of Shyu’s beloved father as well as the murder of Breonna Taylor and the lockdown. Here Shyu sings, narrates and plays Japanese biwa, Taiwanese moon lute and piano, joined by her Jade Tongue ensemble with Ambrose Akinmusire on trumpet, Mat Maneri on viola, Thomas Morgan on bass and Dan Weiss on drums.

In the opening suite, Living’s a Gift, Shyu becomes a one-woman choir delivering a pastiche of lyrics written by choir students at MS51 in Brooklyn’s South Park Slope during the grim early days of the lockdown. The band waft and dance gently behind her as she mashes up classic soul balladry, punchy indie classical, acerbic theatricality and a little hip-hop. If there’s any music that’s been released since March 16 of last year that gives voice to the relentless psychological torture that children in New York have suffered at the hands of the lockdowners, this is it: “Hope for the best, expect the worst,” as one of the kids blithely puts it in the first segment. No wonder suicide among young people is up sixty percent over the past year.

Akinmusire plays a solemn farewell over Maneri and Morgan’s stark, microtonal washes, Shyu’s piano driving a seething undercurrent in Lament for Breonna Taylor: the lyrics are from Taylor’s mom Tamika Palmer’s remiscence about her daughter’s plans to become a nurse before she was gunned down in a home invasion by Louisville police.

The Human Color, an understately lustrous piano ballad originally released in 2009, reflects on the enslavement of Chinese alongside Africans under the conquistadors in 19th century Cuba. A Cure for the Heart’s Longing, a more intertwining ballad spiced with spiky moon lute, is a setting of Javanese poetry by legendary wayang artist Sri Joko Raharjo. Shyu reprises a similar mood later, with more of a nocturnal sweep, in Finally She Emerges.

Shyu’s voice reaches an imploring, chilling intensity in Body of Tears, an anguished account of the moment she was informed she’d lost her dad, rising from troubled grace to anguished insistence. The stark, shamanistic When I Have Power is arguably the most powerful track on the album, Shyu singing from her high school diary. At 15, while selling candy on the bus on the way home from school, she was confronted by a kid who harrassed her and used a racist slur. “When I’m famous, I’m going to set things straight,” she resolved.

Display Under the Moon, a traditional Japanese biwa song, has fiercely plucked, operatic drama, a soldier in the moonlight dreading the next day’s battle. Plus ça change

The album’s final three tracks are dedicated to Shyu’s dad. Father Slipped into the Eternal Dream, based on a parable by Zhuangzi, is a kinetically soaring exploration of how to carry on in the face of bereavement and despondency. The lyrics reaffirm that our capacity to feel such emotional intensity is what makes us human.

With Eyes Closed You See All, a towering, bustling piano-fueled tone poem of sorts, channels hope and feminist determination to shift the paradigm toward equality. Shyu closes the album with Live What You Envision, a carpe-diem theme that picks up from elegantly plucked multitracks to a fierce coda.

For a listener who doesn’t speak any of Shyu’s many Asian languages, it’s a treat to be able to understand the lyrics without a cheat sheet, and to hear her assert herself as a great song stylist in the Betty Carter tradition. The only thing better than listening to this often harrowing record would be to witness what she would do with it onstage if she could. Hmmm…Shyu’s a native Texan, and Texas is one of the free states…

Sad and Anxious Choral Music for a Sad and Anxious Time

David Lang wrote his chorale Love Fail in 2012, long before the lockdown was anything other than a handful of World Economic Forum memos and hysterical flu-apocalypse memes bouncing around the web. But it’s an apt piece of music for this time in history. Loosely based on the story of Tristan and Isolde, Lang interpolates texts from sources as diverse as Lydia Davis, Marie de France, Gottfried von Strassburg, Béroul and Thomas of Britain into the narrative. All-female choir Quince Ensemble  sing this rather subtle theme and variations very matter-of-factly, in the style of a Renaissance motet, adding spare percussion in places. Their world premiere recording is streaming at Bandcamp.

The opening segment, He Was and She Was is easily identiable as Lang: short syllables, subtle and almost imperceptible variations and harmonies that in this case draw on both early music and this era’s minimalism.The ensemble follow with Durreth, an allusive, stoic but melancholy miniature

A Different Man has glockenspiel and a distinctly Spanish tinge to the melody  By contrast, The Wood and the Wire is much more upbeat and soaring, and evocative of British counterpoint from the 17th century and before.

Right and Wrong is a web of simple deconstructed chromatic riffs. You Will Love Me has tantalizingly evanescent close harmonies, while Forbidden Subjects provides welcome feminist context and reminds how agillely Lang works space into his music.

The next variation, As Love Grows begins even more spacious but grows much more warily anthemic. Members of the group rise to the top of their voices in I Live in Pain – no wasted words there, huh? – over a rhythmic rondo of sorts.

The music grows much more sparse all of a sudden in Head, Heart and picks up only a little If I Have to Drown, a gruesome dilemma that Lang doesn’t foreshadow in the least until it arrives. There’s subtle irony in the otherworldly tones of the conclusion as well. Lang has been incredibly prolific lately and this is one of his more memorable work from the past decade.