New York Music Daily

Global Music With a New York Edge

Tag: avant garde music

Trippy Guitar Loopmusic from Xander Naylor

Xander Naylor played some of the most refreshingly unhinged guitar recorded in this century as a member of trumpeter Ben Syversen’s Cracked Vessel. Their lone album remains a high point in recent New York creative music, which is quite an achievement considering that Syversen is also a member of feral Balkan group Raya Brass Band.

Since the late zeros, Naylor has also pursued a solo career. His latest album, Arc, inspired by unnamed tragic losses, is completely different. It’s hypnotic, and loopy, and occasionally motorik, drawing on influences from mathrock to Zappa and Robert Fripp. Another theme is basically, “Look, ma, can you believe all the sounds I’ve got stashed away in my pedalboard?” It’s streaming at Bandcamp and available on limited edition cassette for just seven bucks; Naylor is playing the album release show tonight, Nov 3 at 8 PM at Greenpoint Gallery at 390 McGuinness Blvd. Take the G to Greenpoint Ave.

The opening traci, Pinball, is true to its tiltle: it’s a pinging guitar-and-bass instrumental with very subtle rhythmic shifts and a wryly funny ending. Bad For Glass is a tapping exercise that grows blippier as it goes along, then Naylor hits a pedal for an approximation of an acoustic piano.

The even shorter Hellespont also follows a trancey circle of loops, but it’s more spiky and vampy. Another miniature, Observing Silence layers deep-space atmospherics. By contrast, Appearances is another subtly shifting, loopy piece but sounds as if Naylor is playing a vintage resonator, at least before the remainder of his overdubs kick in.

Natural Born Relic comes across as a spoof of both EDM and early video game music. Glass House is Naylor messing around with belltones, while Ratchet is funny and squirrelly: why won’t this damn lid come off?

Elegy hints at gamelan music; then Naylor explores echo effects, skronky distortion and slow decays in How to Ward Off a Werewolf, the closest thing to Cracked Vessel’s ferocity here. He closes with the album’s most melodically interesting track, the atmospheric rainy-day tableau Dry Your Boots.


Live Music Calendar for New York City and Brooklyn for November and December 2017

Free and cheap concerts in just about every neighborhood. If you’re leaving your hood, make sure you check for service changes considering how the trains are at night and on the weekend.

Constant updates. If you don’t recognize a venue where a particular act is playing, check the comprehensive, 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. Many different styles to choose from.

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 show listed without the start time, that’s because either the artist, their publicist or the venue in question sent incomplete info – those acts are usually listed last on a particular date.  Always best to check with the venue for the latest information on set times and door charges, since that information is often published here weeks in advance. Weekly events first followed by the daily calendar.

On select Wednesdays and Sundays, an intimate, growing piano music salon on the Upper West Side featuring iconoclastically insightful, lyrical pianist Nancy Garniez – a cult favorite with an extraordinarily fluid, singing, legato style – exploring the delicious minutiae of works from across the centuries. Up next: Bartok, Mozart and fascinating improvisations. Sugg don $10 (pay what you can), delicious gluten-free refreshments, beverages and lively conversation included! email for info/location.

Mondays at 7 PM multi-instrumentalist Dennis Lichtman’s popular western swing band Brain Cloud at Barbes followed at 9:30 PM by a variety of south-of-the-border-style bands playing cumbias, boogaloo, salsa, maybe all of the above.

Mondays at the Jazz Standard it’s all Mingus, whether with the Mingus Orchestra, Big Band or Mingus Dynasty: as jazz goes, it’s arguably the most exhilarating show of the week, every week. The first-rate players always rise to the level of the material. Sets 7:30/9:30 PM, $25 and worth it.

Also Monday and Tuesday nights Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks, a boisterous horn-driven 11-piece 1920s/early 30’s band play Iguana, 240 W. 54th St ( Broadway/8th Ave) , 3 sets from 8 to 11, surprisingly cheap $15 cover plus $15 minimum considering what you’re getting. Even before the Flying Neutrinos or the Moonlighters, multi-instrumentalist Giordano was pioneering the oldtimey sound in New York; his long-running residency at the old Cajun on lower 8th Ave. is legendary. He also gets a ton of film work (Giordano wrote the satirical number that Willie Nelson famously sang in Wag the Dog).

Mondays at the Vanguard the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra – composer Jim McNeely’s reliably good big band vehicle – plays 9/11 PM, $30 per set plus drink minimum.

Mondays at 10 noir guitar legend Jim Campilongo leads his trio at the big room at the Rockwood

Also Mondays in November, Rev. Vince Anderson and his band play Union Pool in Williamsburg, two sets starting at 10:30 PM. 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 astute, 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 lead soloist on baritone sax, with frequent special guests.

Tuesdays in November, 8:30 PM the George Gee Swing Orchestra play surprising new arrangements of old big band standards at Swing 46, 349 W 46th St,  $15

Tuesdays in November, clever, fiery, eclectic ten-piece Balkan/hip-hop/funk brass maniacs Slavic Soul Party  at 9 PM at Barbes. Get there as soon as you can as they’re very popular. $10 cover.

Wednesdays at 6 PM, irrepressible pianist/singer Champian Fulton – as entertaining a postbop improviser as torch singer – plays at Talde, 8 Erie St. (Bay/1st) in Jersey City, a block and a half from the Grove St. Path station

Wednesdays at 8 the Brooklyn Raga Massive – a rotating cast of A-list Indian, jazz and rock musicians who love to jam out classic Indian themes from over the centuries to the present day – play Art Cafe, 884 Pacific St.(at Washington Ave) in Brooklyn, $15; closest train is the 2 to Bergen St. Tons of special guests followed by a wild raga jam!

Wednesdays in November, 8 PM the Binky Griptite Orchestra (formerly Sharon Jones’ brilliant oldschool soul backing band) at Threes Brewing Outpost, 113 Franklin St (Greenpoint/Kent Aves) in Greenpoint, free

Wednesdays at 9 PM Feral Foster’s Roots & Ruckus takes over the Jalopy, a reliably excellent weekly mix of oldtimey acts: blues, bluegrass, country and swing.

Wednesdays in November, 10 PM the uneasily cinematic art-rock Pi PowerTrio  – film composer and former Raybeat Pat Irwin (guitar, electronics), Sasha Dobson (drums, vocals) and Daria Grace (bass, vocals) at LIC Bar

Fridays and Saturdays at 5 PM adventurous indie classical string quartet Ethel plus frequent special guests playing a mix of classical and more contemporary material at the balcony bar at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, free w/museum adm

Fridays at around 9:30 PM Bulgarian Romany sax legend Yuri Yunakov with his wild but haunting band at Mehanata

Saturdays at 4 PM at Bargemusic there are impromptu free classical concerts, usually solo piano or small chamber ensembles: if you get lucky, you’ll catch pyrotechnic violinist/music director Mark Peskanov and/or the many members of his circle. Early arrival advised.

Saturdays in November, 6 PM eclectic, edgy soul/art-rock/funk/chamber-pop cellist/singer Marika Hughes & Bottom Heavy at Barbes

Saturdays in November, 10 PM oldschool female-fronted psychedelic soul/groove band Empire Beats at the Way Station

Saturdays eclectic compelling Brazilian jazz chanteuse Marianni and her excellent band at Zinc Bar, three sets starting at 10 PM.

Sundays there’s a klezmer brunch at City Winery, show starts around 11:30 AM – 2 PM, $10 cover, no minimum, lots of good bands

Sundays in November, at sometime past noon at Hank’s, Nashville gothic crooner Sean Kershaw‘s legendary honkytonk brunch is back; special guests from his wide circle of NYC Americana acts keep the afternoon going until about 7. It’s just like 1999 again!

11/1, 1 PM clarinetist Sam Boutris and ensemble play a program tba at the Greene Space, free, rsvp req 

11/1, 6 PM koto player Asuka Yoshizaki at the Rubin Museu of Art, free w/museum adm

11/1, 7:30 PM Brandi & the Alexanders play their torchy oldschool soul and groove music at  at Friends & Lovers, $TBA

11/1, 8 PM Dervisi feat. guitar god Steve Antonakos play “exotic Greek gangsta blues”at Troost 

11/1, 8 PM psychedelic klezmer/bluegrass mandolin and clarinet legend Andy Statman at Barbes, $10

11/1, 8 PM the  deviously eclectic, psychedelic Tredici Bacci jam out original psychedelic instrumentals inspired by Italian film themes from the 60s and 70s at Roulette, $15 adv tix rec

11/1, 8 PM pianist Katie Reimer’s reliably adventurous Mimesis Ensemble play a New York premiere by Clarice Assad plus works by Mohammed Fairouz, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Arvo Pärt, and William Grant Still at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, $25

11/1-3, 8 PM trio The HawtPlates (Justin Hicks, Kenita Miller Hicks, Jade Hicks) and director Charlotte Brathwaite perform their Toni Morrison-inspired suite about ownership and the American Dream via the “ancient songs, shifting murmurs, calls, shouts, stomps and whispers” of a house’s many inhabitants. Goldilocks and the Three Bears and s Twilight Zone episode “unpack the subtle radicalized under-breath utterances of a community in flux – the inherited language and layered vocabularies of gentrification and conversations on so-called progress,”  at Jack, $15

11/1-2, 8:30/10 PM lyrical jazz piano icon Fred Hersch solo at the Vanguard. 11/3-5 he’s there with his great trio.

11/1, 8:30 PM legendary Irish crooner Pierce Turner – sort of the missing link between the Pogues and the Moody Blues – at 11th St. Bar

11/1, 9 PM catchy Connecticut newgrass/Americana band Plywood Cowboy at the Bitter End 

11/2, 7 PM pyrotechnic klezmler clarinetist David Krakauer’s surprisingly funky Ancestral Groove at National Sawdust, $30 adv tix rec. Followed at 10 (separate $25 adm) by amazing, psychedelic instrumentalists Sandcatchers – who blend cinematic, pastoral Americana and Middle Eastern themes – playing the album release show for their new one.

 11/2, 7 PM organist/composer Richard J. Clark’s Requiem pour une américaine à Paris and works by Hovhaness, Pinkham and Sowerby, performed with Richard Kelley on trumpet at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

11/2, 7:30 PM witchy Mexican psychedelic folk singer Edna Vazquez and band at the Lincoln Center Atrium, free, early arrival advised

11/2, 7:30/9:30 PM erudite, reliably tuneful postbop pianist Orrin Evans leads a new quartet at the Jazz Gallery, $15

11/2, 8 PM a rare US show by eerie Japanese freak-folk pioneer Kazuki Tomokawa, the “screaming philosopher” of the 1970s Tokyo avant garde underground at Greene Naftali, 508 W 26th St, $20

11/2, 8 PM melancholy Americana harmony band the Cut Worms play the album release show for their new one at Baby’s All Right, $10

11/2, 8 PM music of Michael Byron performed by pianists Joseph Kubera & Marilyn Nonken, plus Juho Laitinen‘s Manifesto of Sounding for solo cello at Roulette, $15 adv tix rec

11/2, 8:30 PM hot klezmer string band jams with Sarah Myerson & the NY Fidl Kapelye led by Amy Zakar at the Jalopy, $15

11/2, 9 PM quirky, smartly lyrical avant chamber pop with the Icebergs – Jane LeCroy – vox; Tom Abbs – cello; David Rogers-Berry – drums – at Pete’s

11/2, 10 PM Chicago’s street-smart Lowdown Brass Band at Barbes 

11/2, 10 PM the great unsung hero of darkly purposeful, noir-tinged NYC jazz guitar, Saul Rubin leads his  quintet at the Fat Cat. He’s also leading his “Zebtet” here at 7 PM on 11/7

 11/3, 5:30 PM oldtime country blues duo Piedmont Bluz at the American Folk Art Museum:

11/3, 7:30 PM jaunty Hawaiian swing sounds with King Isto followed by ragtime-influenced guitarist Gabriel Zucker’s indie jazz orchestra the Delegation at Spectrum, $15

 11/3. 7:30 PM Glass Farm Ensemble plays new piano works by Yvonne Troxler, Paul Matthusen, Michael Jarrels and Balz Trümpy at Symphony Space, $20

 11/3. 7:30 PM pianist Beth Levin and her ensemble Vista Lirica play works by Brahms, Schubert, Zemlinsky and Royston at Greenwich House Music School, $30/$20 stud/srs

11/3. 7:30 PM Indian-influenced sax trio Mughal Muesli at Scholes St. Studios

11/3, 8 PM awesome awesome twinbill: ancient kinetic hypnotic ritual African call-and-response songs from Morocco and Colombia with Innov Gnawa; and Bulla en el Barrio at C’Mon Everybody, $12

11/3, 8 PM irrepressible, historically informed folk noir/art-rock songwriter Elisa Flynn at the Way Station

11/3, 8 PM pianist Kaveh Karandish leads his trio with oudist Mazy Karandish and kaval player Eric Zang doing the album release show for their elegantly moody, Iranian-influenced new one at Caffe Vivaldi

 11/3, 8 PM singers and players celebrate the deep, immersive work of Pauline Oliveros: Anne Bourne, Carrier Band, Seth Cluett, Viv Corringham, David Grubbs, Ethan Hayden, Kristin Norderval, Daniel Weintraub at Shapeshifter Lab, $10

11/3, 8 PM Xander Naylor plays from his creepily squirrelly new guitar-and-efx album at Greenpoint Gallery, 390 McGuinness Blvd., G to Greenpoint Ave.

11/3, 8:30 PM darkly torchy southwestern gothic/Europolitan songwriter/guitarist Miwa Gemini   at Hank’s, $8

11/3, 9 PM bizarre segue, good twinbill: enigmatic new wave-ish Yukon Blonde followed by catchy, anthemic Americana rockers the Rural Alberta Advantage at  Rough Trade, $20 adv tix rec. The following night, 11/4 they’re at Bowery Ballroom for the same deal

11/3, 9ish exotic vibraphone surf rock band the Vibro-jets – a Sea Devils spinoff – at Troost

11/3, 10 PM the world’s creepiest crime jazz/film noir band, Big Lazy at Barbes

11/3, 10 PM guitar mastermind Danny Weiss’ and magical Americana singer Mary Olive Smith’s soulful retro bluegrass band Stillhouse Serenade at Sunny’s

 11/3. 10 PM oldschool, no-BS all-female punk band LA Witch at St. Vitus, $15

11/3, 10:30 PM catchy Booker T-esque soul jazz with the David Gibson/Jared Gold, Hammond B3 organ band at the Fat Cat

 11/4, 1:30 PM this era’s most spellbinding oldschool country singer, Laura Cantrell at Union Pool, $20

11/4, 4 PM stark but hard-hitting Georgian folk ensemble Dancing Crane Ensemble at Actors Fund Art Space,  160 Schermerhorn St, downtown Brooklyn, $20

11/4, 4 PM cinematic, psychedelic quirk-pop keyboardist Michael Hearst presents “Curious, Unusual and Extraordinary” songs from his many bands followed at 6 by eclectic, edgy soul/art-rock/funk/chamber-pop cellist/singer Marika Hughes & Bottom Heavy , at 8 by pianist Lucian Ban and violist Mat Maneri playing their creepy Transylvanian jazz and then at 10 by epic ranchera/bolero brass crew Banda de los Muertos at Barbes

 11/4, 7 PM multiphonic guitarist Benjamin Miller, percussive postrock pioneers the Wharton Tiers Ensemble and the original downtown guitar shredmeister, Elliott Sharp at Spectrum, $15

11/4,  7ish Bobby Radcliff – the rare blues guitarist who plays a ton of notes but doesn’t waste them, sort of a funkier Stevie Ray Vaughan – with his trio at Terra Blues

11/4, 7:30 PM the Juilliard String Quartet play works by Beethoven and James MacMillan at Washington Irving HS Auditorium, 16th St./Irving Place, $15

 11/4, 8 PM magical chamber ensemble Music From China play premieres by Mathew Rosenblum, Zhou Long and Wang Guowei at Symphony Space, $18 adv tix rec

11/4, 8 PM haunting, kinetic, paradigm-shifting Middle Eastern jazz with Ensemble Fanaa at Alwan for the Arts, $20/$15 stud

11/4 8 PM Owls at Night with Yoon Sun Choi, vocals/piano, Dana Lyn on violin and Vinnie Sperrazza, drums. ollowed at  9:30 by Mother Octopus with Dana Lyn on violin Mike McGinnis (clarinet), Clara Kennedy (cello), Ty Citerman (guitar), Vinnie Sperrazza (drums) at I-Beam, $15

11/4, 8 PM “avant neo-jazz” pianist Yayoi Ikawa leads her quintet followed by edgy jazz violinist Tomoko Omura leading hers at the Cell Theatre, $10

11/4, 8:30 PM the truly legendary, murderously intense, creepy punk/ghoulabilly Legendary Shack Shakers at Hill Country Brooklyn, $18

11/4, Unsteady Freddie‘s monthly surf rock extravaganza at Otto’s begins at 9 with surfed-up tv themes from Commercial Interruption, at 10  jangly New York original surf rock cult heroes the Supertones, , at 11 the swirly, hard-hitting, reverb-iced Strange but Surf  and at midnight the southwestern gothic-tinged Derangers (#2 band in Rockland, Massachusetts according to Reverbnation)

11/4, 9 PM ten-piece country/carnivalesque/acoustic rock powerhouse M Shanghai String Band at the Jalopy, $!0

11/4, 9 PM fiery, guitar-fueled female-fronted Americana punks Spanking Charlene at Sidewalk

11/4, 11 PM fiery, psychedelically bluesy oldschool soul/southern rockers Lizzie & the Makers  at the Way Station

11/4, midnight, dark, fiery, female-fronted female-fronted surf rockers High Waisted – who’ve been flailing around with generic dreampop lately – at Rough Trade, $10 adv tix rec

11/5, 4 PM the release show for rising indie designer Mary Symczak’s classy Fall women’s collection with live jazz from bassist Jeon Lim Yang‘s group and a performance by the Mari Meade Dance Company at Barbes, free. Followed at 7 by state-of-the-art postbop guitarist Will Bernard  leading a Billy Strayhorn tribute and then at 9:30ish by Romany jazz/psychedelic rock guitar mastermind Stephane Wrembel

11/5, 6 PM the genuinely Beyond Group (Cheryl Pyle, Michael Eaton, Jamie Baum, Claire Daly, Matt Lavelle and Gene Coleman) followed by tenor saxophonist Jonathan Moritz with bassist Sean Ali and drummer Carlo Costa improvising up some flickering new elements at Downtown Music Gallery

11/5, 7 PM spine-tingling, darkly mystical art-rock/avant-garde/chamber pop songwriter Carol Lipnik – pretty much everybody’s choice for best singer in all of NYC – at Pangea

11/5, 7 PM a twin album release show by atmospheric postrockers Empyrean Atlas and kinetic, tuneful vibraphone/percussion Ensemble Et Al. at Baby’s All Right, $15

11/5, 7:30 PM sweeping, swinging vibraphonist Behn Gillece leads his quintet at Smalls

 11/5, 8:30 PM violinist Benjamin Sung plays works by Sciarrino, Berio, Paganini, Schnittke and Maderna at Spectrum, $15

11/5, 8:30 PM New York’s most charismatic, darkly compelling lyrical songwriter/storyteller/keyboard genius Rachelle Garniez at at the third stage at the Rockwood, $12. 11/26 at 7 she’s at Pangea.

11/5, 9ish darkly edgy jazz guitarist/composer Lucas Brode at Troost

11/6, 8 PM microtonal violinist Mari Kimura plays a interactive audio-video show for violin and motion sensor, featuring traditional Japanese ceramics (one assumes for sonics..or maybe just to eat off of?) at Roulette, $20 adv tix rec

11/6-7 plus 11/9-12 and 11/15-18, 8:30 PM Joan LaBarbara stars in Paul Pinto’s Thomas Paine in Violence, an “electro-acoustic opera-sermon set in Thomas Paine’s afterlife,” backed by a choir and intense indie classical ensemble Thingny at Here, 145 Sixth Ave south of Spring, $25

11/6, 9 PM Matkot play their torchy Mediterranean vocal jazz at Shrine

11/6, 10 PM high-voltage delta blues/Romany swing guitarist Felix Slim at LIC Bar

11/7, 7 PM innovative, tuneful Indian-influenced drone-raga band Arranged Marriage NP followed at 9 by ten-piece funky Balkan brass jazz monsters Slavic Soul Party at Barbes

11/7, 7:30 PM the incomparable, lush, eclectic Jenifer Jackson – a connoisseur of Americana, Beatlesque janglerock, bossa nova and Texas noir – at the Owl

11/7, 7:30 PM charismatic, adventurous postbop/avant garde trombonist/crooner Frank Lacy leads his  quintet at Smalls

11/7, 7:30 PM the New Juilliard Ensemble play new works by Mauricio Kagel and Giya Kancheli, at Bruno Walter Studio, Room 309 at Juilliard, free

11/7, 8 PM fiery, psychedelically bluesy oldschool soul/southern rockers Lizzie & the Makers – the only soul group on the planet who got their inspiration for a song from a Rachmaninoff classic – at American Beauty, $12 adv tix rec

11/7, 8 PM eclectic, nuanced jazz chanteuse Tammy Scheffer leads her sextet at Cornelia St. Cafe, $10 + $10 min

11/7, 8:30 PM perennially edgy 80s dreampop heroine Kristin Hersh at City Vineyard, $25

 11/7-12, 8:30 PM unstoppably edgy, deservedly iconic, witty downtown guitarist Marc Ribot leads a series of small groups at the Stone, $20. Choice pick: his protest-jazz Songs of Resistance project on 11/10 with Shahzad Ismaily (percussion, bass, keys) Briggan Krauss (sax)

11/7, 9 PM dynamic, subtle new female-fronted klezmer band Tsibele (Yiddish for onion) at the Jalopy, $10. 11/11, 7:30 PM they’re at the People’s Voice Cafe, at the People’s Voice Cafe, sugg don, $20; $12 for subscribers; “More if you choose; less if you can’t; no one turned away”

11/7, 9 PM perennially dark, soaring noir soul singer/bandleader Nicole Atkins  at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, $25

11/7, 9:30 PM harpist/singer Pia Salvia with her five-piece band  at Shapeshifter Lab, $tba

11/7, 10 PM creepy lo-fi horror-folk band Lucky Witch & the Righteous Ghost followed at midnight by anthemic lit-rocker Dalton Deschain at Sidewalk

11/8, 7 PM shamisen player/singer/improviser Emi Makabe lead her group with Jacob Sacks on Rhodes at 55 Bar

11/8, 7 PM pianist Javor Bracic plays Chopin waltxes, mazurkas and more at the Bulgarian Consulate, 221 E 62nd St, free

11/8, 7:30 PM first-rate purist honkytonk crooner/bandleader Clifford Westfall at Lovecraft Bar, Ave. B/4th St.

11/8, 8 PM accordion genius Shoko Nagai ’s Tokala at Barbes “Tokala is the name of a mysterious country in Central Asia which had a connection to Japan via the silk road which was responsible for bringing Middle Eastern culture to ancient Japan.  The band explores the sound of this ancient connection where cultural exchange left an imprint which became integral part of Japanese culture.” With Zisl Slepovitch (clarinet); Kenny Warren (trumpet) and Stomu Takeishi (bass) at Barbes

11/8, 8 PM kinetic jazz vibraphonista Yuhan Su leads her quartet at Cornelia St. Cafe, $10 cover plus $10 minimum

11/8. 8 PM night one of the Alvin Lucier retrospective program features the four-guitarist, three-sax, four-violinist Ever Present Orchestra playing recent works; composer/sound artist Joan La Barbara also performs the American premiere of Lucier’s Double Rainbow, a new commissioned work for voice and oscillator and then Lucier himself staging his seminal 1976 work Bird and Person Dyning. “Dyning” is Lucier’s abbreviated version of “heterodyning,” a term from the early days of radio describing the phenomenon of two waves mixing in a non-linear medium to produce two extra signals (created with the sum and difference in frequency), at Issue Project Room, $20/$15 stud

11/8, 8:30 PM Giant Sand honcho and southwestern gothic icon Howe Gelb’s Future Standards at the Owl, $15

11/8, 9 PM ageless golden-age roots reggae crooner Freddie McGregor at B.B. King’s, $25 adv tix rec

11/8, 10:30 PM fearlessly populist, cutting-edge trombonist/composer Ryan Keberle & Catharsis at Smalls

 11/9, 7 PM Rimi Basu & Ensemble play Indian sufi sounds at Drom, $15 adv tix tec

11/9, 5 PM pianist Cesar Reyes plays a tribute to Violeta Parra at Brooklyn College Auditorium, 2900 Bedford Ave, free

11/9, 7 PM Mapuche-language Patagonian art-rock/avant garde sounds with multi-keyboardist Juan Namuncura followed by pianist Ignacio Montoyo Carlotto playing works by Horacio Salgán, Astor Piazzolla, and other oldschool tango composers at St. Peter’s Church, 54th/Lex, $20

11/9, 7:30 PM haunting cinematic loopmusic cellist Julia Kent and multi-reedman Doug Wieselman‘s Trio S at the Owl, $10

 11/9, 7:30/9:30 PM trombonist Kaila Vandever leads an excellent quintet with Immanuel Willkins on tenor sax and Kanoa Mendenhall on bass at the Jazz Gallery, $15

11/9, 7:30 PM torchy singer Jennifer Charles’ and guitar mastermind Oren Bloedow’s long-running art-rock/noir band Elysian Fields in their similarly haunting psychedelic Sephardic folk disguise, La Mar Enfortunada at the Jewish Museum, 1109 5th Ave at 92nd St,  $18/$15 stud/srs

11/9, 8 PM plush, balmy, oldtimey uke swing band Daria Grace & the Pre-War Ponies followed at 10 by well-loved Boston alt-country vets Session Americana at Barbes

11/9, 8/9:30 PM tenor saxophonist Kyle Nasser leads his sextet at Cornelia St. Cafe, $10 + $10 min

11/9, 8 PM night two of the Alvin Lucier retrospective features a performance of Lucier’s 2013 Criss-Cross for two electric guitars played by Oren Ambarchi and Gary Schmalzl, Lucier’s first and only piece for electric guitar; the four-guitarist, three-sax, four-violinist Ever Present Orchestra playing NY premieres and finally Lucier himself staging his paradigmatic 1970 work I am sitting in a room – several sentences of recorded speech simultaneously played back and re-recorded sequentially for a cool crowd-noise effect at Issue Project Room, $20/$15 stud

11/9-11,  7:30/9:30 PM dazzlingly eclectic purist jazz singer Brianna Thomas and her band at Ginny’s Supper Club, $20

11/9, 8 PM feral, satirical, inimitable Americana/oldtime/swing crew the Brothers Comatose at Bowery Ballroom, $20

11/9, 8:30 PM dynamic klezmer trombonist Dan Blacksberg’s Radiant Others at the Jalopy, $15

 11/9, 10 PM fiery oldtimey string band the Four O’Clock Flowers at Sunny’s

11/9, 10:30 PM noir-inspired alto saxophonist/composer Nick Hempton leads leads a trio at Smalls

11/9, 11 PM quirky, smartly lyrical avant chamber pop with the Icebergs – Jane LeCroy – vox; Tom Abbs – cello; David Rogers-Berry – drums –  at Sidewalk. 11/16 they’re at Wayward Social, 135 Ingraham St. in Bushwick, L to Morgan Ave., time tba

11/9, 11 PM atmospheric, cinematic drummer/composer Tim Kuhl – sort of a more straightforwardly trippy version of John Hollenbeck – at Pete’s

11/10, 5:30 PM clarinet wizard Dmitri Zisl Slepovitch, leader of wild Polesian klezmer dance outfit Litvakus,at the American Folk Art Museum 

11/10, 7 PM Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society play their haunting, sardonically menacing big band suite, Real Enemies at Shapeshifter Lab, $20

11/10, 7 PM the magical New York Andalus Ensemble Chamber Trio play ancient Jewish themes from the Middle East and North Africa at the Manhattan JCC, Amsterdam at 76th, $18

11/10, 7 PM Nashville gothic sister duo Larkin Poe at the Mercury, $15

11/10, 7:30 PM Afro-Cuban percussionist Roman Diaz and theBrooklyn Raga Massive reinvent classic Indian themes at the Lincoln Center Atrium, free, early arrival advised

11/10, 7:30 PM indie classical ensemble Hotel Elefant play music of Kirsten Volness and Jascha Narveson at Scholes St. Studios, sugg don

11/10, 7:30 PM the Rolling Stones’ Tim Ries on sax leading his quintet followed at 10:30 PM by pianist Brian Marsella’s tuneful, first-rate original postbop jazz sextet the Flail at Smalls. The Flail are also here the following night, 11/11

11/10, 7:45 PM the world’s creepiest crime jazz/film noir band, Big Lazy , wild, theatrical, fun female-fronted barrelhouse piano blues band the Claudette & Brian Carpenter and the Confessions – the dark oldtime jazz maven’s Lynchian rock band – at Drom, $12 adv tix rec

11/10 , 8 PM trippy electro/downtempo chanteuse Pearla,  excellent, catchy rainy day psych-pop band Minor Poet and haunting, Siouxsie-esque Canadian art-rock trio Little Coyote at Bushwick Public House, $5

11/10, 8 PM chanteuse/uke player Dahlia Dumont’s Blue Dahlia playing edgy, smartly lyrically-fueled, jazz-infused tunes in English and French with classic chanson and Caribbean influences  followed 10 by Super Yamba playing their psychedelic Afrobeat jams at Barbes

 11/10, 8 PM energetic, sometimes hilarious acoustic Veracruz-style folk-punk band Radio Jarocho at Guadalupe Inn

 11/10, 8 PM the Downtown Voices sing Rachmaninoff’s ethereal and lush setting of the mystical All-Night Vigil at Trinity Church, free. The program repeats on 11/12

11/10, 8 PM elegant, sharply lyrical parlor pop stylist Heather Eatman, crystalline-voiced noir Americana songwriter Jessie Kilguss  and dark Americana guy/girl harmony duo the Tall Pines at Red Hook Bait & Tackle

11/10, 9 PM intense female-fronted psychedelic/funk band Imunuri at Bar Chord

11/10, 9ish CBs style female-fronted punks the Carvels NYC and Heidi Lieb’s recently reunited all-female punk/powerpop NYC legends Sit N Spin at Hank’s, $tba

11/10, 10 PM Super Yamba play their psychedelic Afrobeat jams at Barbes

11/10, 10 PM entrancing singer Sandra Lilia Velasquez’s hypnotic downtempo/psychedelic band SLV at Pete’s, free. They’re also at C’mon Everybody on 11/29 at 9 for $12

11/10, 10 PM hard-hitting bassist Dawn Drake & Zapote play hot Afrobeat-tinged funk grooves at the Way Station

11/11 4 PMthe Erik Satie Quartet – Ron Hay (trombone), Max Seigel (bass trombone), Ben Holmes (trumpet), and Andrew Hadro (bari sax) –reinvent classic and obscure Satie chamber pieces as well as rare compositions by his obscure contemporaries, followed at 6 PM by eclectic, edgy soul/art-rock/funk/chamber-pop cellist/singer Marika Hughes & Bottom Heavy, at 8 by the reputedly amazing  Night Kitchen – Gene Yelin – guitar & vocals; Trip Henderson – harmonica; Joanna Sternberg – bass and vocals – playing “Hank Williams, old timey and country” and at 10 by La Mecanica Popular playing their original, psychedelic update on classic 70s Nuyorican salsa dura at Barbes

11/11, 7 PM Argentine songwriter Luna Sureña plays Patagonian music at St. Peter’s Church, 54th/Lex, free

11/11, 7 PM cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Christopher O’Riley play works by Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Shostakovich and others from the top at National Sawdust, $30 adv tix rec

11/11, 7:15ish dark psychedelic acoustic blues/klezmer/reggae/soca jamband Hazmat Modine at Terra Blues. They’re also here on 11/25

 11/11, 7:30 PM incomparable country/jazz/janglerock icon Amy Allison at Dixon Place, free. Brilliant new material, all kinds of rarities and devastatingly funny between-song banter

 11/11, 8:30 PM slinky, oud-fueled Middle Eastern/Nile Delta dance orchestra Alsarah & the Nubatones  at C’Mon Everybody, $12

11/11, 8:30/10 PM Transylvanian pianist Lucian Ban leads his Elevation sextet at Cornelia St. Cafe, $10 + $10 min

11/11, 9 PM hilarious, smartly political faux-French retro 60s psych-pop band les Sans Culottes at Bar Chord. 11/25 at around 10 they’re at Hank’s for $10.

11/11, 10 PM delicious original Americana/newgrass band Chamomile & Whiskey atHill Country

11/12, 2 PM lush Asian woodwind sounds with the Japan Kocarina Ensemble with  folk singer Kanemi Yaguchi and the Ai Chorus at Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, $25

11/12, 2 PM the Rolston String Quartet play Tschaikovsky’s String Quartet No. 1 plus works by Mozart and Murray Schafer at the New School Auditorium, 66 W 12th St., $!8

 11/12, 3 PM the Downtown Chamber Players play piano and woodwind music by female composers Llii Boulanger, Cecile Chaminade, Madeleine Dring, Louise Farrenc and Mira Spector at St. Marks Church, 2nd Ave/1oth St, $20

11/12, 3 PM catchy, darky entrancing Honduran beach party sounds with the Garifuna Jazz Ensemble at the BMHC space, 1303 Louis Niné Blvd in the Bronx, free; 2 or 5 train to Freeman St

11/12, 4 PM An die Musik – Mark Peskanov, violin; Nicholas Mann, viola; Robert Ingliss, oboe; Constance Emmerich, piano with special guest Thomas Demenga, cello play works by Beethoven, Handel, Mozart and Haydn at Merkin Concert Hall, $16

11/12, 4 PM the Enso String Quartet play works by Webern and Beethoven at the Dreck Center at the Brooklyn Public Library, free, no under-sixes.

11/12, 5 PM psychedelically machinegunning virtuoso Max ZT on the hammered dulcimer with Uri Sharlin on accordion followed at 9 by Romany jazz/psychedelic rock guitar mastermind Stephane Wrembel at Barbes

11/12, ​5 PM Ensemble Connect play works by Hartske, Brahms and Dvorak’s String Quintet in G Major, Op. 77 at Our Saviour’s Atonement, 178 Bennett Ave (one block west of Broadway at 189th St), free

11/12, 5:30 PM Baltimore Symphony flutist Emily Skala plays works by Debussy, Bach, Messiaen, Mendelssohn, and Franck at Baruch Performing Arts Center, 55 Lexington Ave,$25/$15 stud/srs

11/12, 7:30 PM 70s psychedelic Britfolk legends the Strawbs – whose Grave New World is more relevant than ever – at B.B. King’s, $26.50 adv tix rec

11/12, 7:30 PM soaringly explosive jazz composer/torch singer Nicole Zuraitis plays the album release show for her harrowing new one Hive Mind at Dron, $10 adv tix rec

11/12, 7:30 PM eclectic, tuneful accordionist/songwriter Ali Dineen, at the Owl

11/12, 9 PM legendary 70s postrock pioneers Pere Ubu at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, $25 adv tix rec

11/12, 9 PMArki play darkly classic Ethiopian funk grooves at Silvana

 11/13, 8 PM charmingly nuanced, erudite singer/pianist and Dinah Washington reinventor  Champian Fulton leads her trio at Radegast Hall, She’s also here on 11/20

11/13, 10 PM awesomely slinky, psychedelic Israeli Ethiopiques groove instrumentalists Anbessa Orchestra at the small room at the Rockwood

11/14, 7 PM eclectic, hard-hitting, lyrical composer/tenor saxophonist Stan Killian and group at 55 Bar

11/4. 7:30 PM fiery alto saxophonist Lucas Pino’s twin-guitar No No Nonet at Smalls

11/14, 7:30 PM an all-star benefit for the National Jazz Museum in Harlem with iconic North African scholar/pianist Randy Weston and bassist Reggie Workman, lyrical piano genius Marc Cary and blues dude Guy Davis at the Schomburg Center, $25 seats avail. Cary is also at the museum on 11/28 at 7 playing Ellington tunes, $10

11/14, 8 PM haunting, crepuscular folk noir songwriter Erin Regan  at Sidewalk

11/14-19, 8:30/10 PM various groups play John Zorn’s Masada Book 3 at the Vanguard, $30. Choice pick: Zorn’s monstrous surf band Abraxas with Aram Bajakian on guitar on 11/16

11/14, 8 PM Nancy Wu, violin; Kari Docter, cello; Vladimir Valjarevic, piano play works by Haydn and Dvorak at Mannes School of Jazz Performance Space, Arnhold Hall, 55 W13th St on the 5th floor, free

11/14-19, 8:30 PM legendary electroacoustic percussionist Ikue Mori leads a series of ensembles at the Stone, $20. Choice pick: Mephista on opening night with Sylvie Courvoisier (piano) Susie Ibarra (drums) Jim Staley (trombone)

11/14, 8:30 PM torchy, eclectically brilliant dobro player Abbie Gardner of Red Molly  followed at 9:30 by her darkly lyrical ex-bandmate, multi-instrumentalist/songwriter Carolann Solebello, at Pete’s

11/14, 9:30 PM the Bronx Conexion play their mighty salsa big band jazz at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, $10

11/15, 6 PM music by brilliant, darkly cinematic composer Dobrinka Tabakova in a multimedia performance at the Bulgarian Consulate, 221 E 62nd St, free

11/15. 6 PM sensational Indian classical violinist/improviser Arun Ramamurthy with his group at the Rubin Museu of Art, free w/museum adm

11/15, 6 PM charismatic, darkly eclectic cellist/songwriter Meaghan Burke  leads her Creature Comforts parlor pop trio at Cornelia St. Cafe, $10 + $10 min

11/15, 7 PM pianist and harpsichordist Magdalena Baczewska plays works by Clementi, Monterverdi and Berio at the Italian Academy at Columbia University, 1161 Amsterdam Ave north of 116th St., free

11/15, 7:30 PM vividly lyrical rising star pianist Chris Pattishall and sensational trumpeter Adam O’Farrill play a live score to projections by visual artist Kambui’s new project Where Does the Time Go starring Irungu Mutu and Jessica Allie at the Lincoln Center Atrium, free, early arrival advised

11/15, 7:30 PM the gentler side of powerpop: the Low Doses, Jay Gonzalez & the Guilty Pleasures and the Eyelids doing their post-Dream Syndicate thing at WFMU’s Monty Hall, 43 Montgomery Street, Jersey City. 11/18, same time they’re at Cape House, 2 Knickerbocker Ave in Bushwick for the same deal

11/15, 8 PM Glas (riveting singer/percussionist Corinna Snyder’s Macedonian duo with Vedran Boskovski) followed by singer Jenny Luna’s haunting, oud-and-clarinet-driven Turkish band Dolunay and oud/kora wizard Kane Mathis at Trans-Pecos, $10

11/15, 8 PM eclectic, lyrical jazz bassist/composer Pedro Giraudo and his Tango  Trio joins the string quartet Quartetto Tomassini at Barbes. Giraudo and band are also at Terraza 7 the following night, 11/16 at 9 for $10

11/15, 8:30 PM noir slowcore art-rock with Black Heart Procession at Baby’s All Right, $20. They’re at the Mercury the following night, 11/16 at 10:30 for three bucks less in advance

11/16, 7 PM intense Greek classical pianist Vassilis Varvaresos plays a program tba at Merkin Concert Hall, free, rsvp req

11/16,  7 PM latin jazz alto sax luminary Yosvany Terry leads a trio at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, $15. They’re also at the Jazz Gallery on 11/30 at 7:30/9:30 for the same price

11/16, 7:30 PM the album release show for the new one by paradigm-shifting, irrepressibly edgy, fun Dominican bandleader Irka Mateo & La Tirindanga at the Lincoln Center Atrium, free, early arrival advised

11/16. 7:30/9:30 PM ambitious, lustrous trumpeter/composer Jonathan Finlayson & Sicilian Defense at the Jazz Gallery, $22

11/16, 8 PM singer Jenny Luna’s haunting, oud-and-clarinet-driven Turkish band Dolunay followed at 10 by a killer tuneful improvisational trio::Hearing Things‘ JP Schlegelmilch – organ; Jonathan Goldberger – guitar and Jim Black – drums – at Barbes 

11/16, 8:30 PM all-star klezmer trio Midwood with Jake Shulman-Ment on violin, Yoshie Fruchter on guitar and Klezmatic Richie Barshay on drums at the Jalopy, $15

10/16, 8:30 PM killer improvisation: Cheryl Richards on vocals, Claire De Brunner on bassoon and the feral Mara Rosenbloom on piano at I-Beam, $15

11/17, 5:30 PM gentle, topical original folk songwriter Jeremy Aaron at the American Folk Art Museum

11/17, 7:30 PM the Arion Chamber Music trio play works by Beethoven and Dvorak at at Christ & St. Stephen’s Church, 120 W 69th St., $25/$12 stud

11/17, 7:30 PM salsa piano legend Arturo Ortiz Y Los 7 Con Calle at the Lincoln Center Atrium, free, early arrival advised

 11/17, 8 PM catchy, fiery, female-fronted janglerockers/powerpop band Above the Moon – like a more forceful take on Versus – at the Delancey, $10

11/17, 8 PM the NYU01 new music ensemble plays Philip Glass’ Symphony No. 1 at the NYU  Skirball Center, LaGuardia and Washington Square South, free

11/17, 8 PM baritone saxophonist Carol Sudhalter’s Astoria Big Band play swing classics at Flushing Town Hall, $16/$10 stud

 11/17, 8 PM golden age pottymouth dancehall reggae nostlgia:  Yellowman and band at SOB”s, $25

11/17, 8 PM Monika Krajewska, mezzo-soprano, and Natasha Ulyanovsky, pianist and organist, join forces for a program of ancient Jewish music, Yiddish art songs, Russian romances and Argentine tango, at Barnard College’s Sulzberger Parlor, 3rd Floor Barnard Hall, 117th St and Broadway, free

11/17, 8:30 PM haunting, gorgeously lyrical pianist Satoko Fujii’s darkly slinky, Romany-inspired Gato Libre at I-Beam, $15

11/17, 8:30  PM violinist Jennifer Choi with the Secret Quartet play works by Ljova Zhurbin and Ursula Chinn at the New School’s Glass Box Performance Space, 55 W 13th St, $20. She’s also there on 11/18 with pianists Kathleen Supove and Alexandra Joan playing works by Jen Shyu and Stravinsky.

11/17, 9 PM hauting female-fronted Turkish art-song trio Neotolia at Silvana

11/17, 9 PM goth-tinged arena rock with Swanky Tiger at Shrine

 11/17, 9:30 PM urban country legends Miller’s Farm – who did the original dis song about the L train – at Hill  Country

11/17, 10 PM accordionist/sitarist Kamala Sankaram’s hot surfy Bollywood/cumbia/psychedelic rock project Bombay Rickey – a launching pad for her spellbinding four-octave voice –  at Barbes

11/17. 10 PM darkly playful, epic piano-based art-rock singer Eve Lesov followed by the darkly eclectic, enigmatic Lorraine Leckie  – equally adept at Slavic and Americana noir and dark cabaret – at Sidewalk

11/17, 10 PM the Shockwaves – a catchy blend of glam, psychedelia, stoner boogie and a little edgy Raybeats thrown in – at Greenpoint Gallery 

11/17, 11 PM ferociously fun, menacing psychobilly/horror rockers the Omega Men at Otto’s

 11/18, 1;30 PM the Kunqu Society perform dramatic Chinese opera pieces at Flushing Town Hall, $16/$10 stud

11/18 4 PM pyrotechnic klezmer clarinetist and Dave Tarras protege Michael Winograd  and lyrical trumpeter Ben Holmes join forces for edgy new klezmer tunes followed at 6 byeclectic, edgy soul/art-rock/funk/chamber-pop cellist/singer Marika Hughes & Bottom Heavy, at 8 by playfully lyrical, fearlessly political superduo Kill Henry Sugar – guitar/banjo mastermind Erik Della Penna and drummer Dean Sharenow – and at 10 by haunting Puerto Rican bolero revivalists and Sylvia Rexach reinventors Miramar. Best quadruplebill of the year!

11/18, 7 PM charming oldtimey trio the Crimson Ragdolls:  Joanna Sternberg, Ali Dineen & Lucine Yeghiazaryanne at Terra Blues

11/18, 7:30 PM sharply lyrical, sometimes uproariously amusing purist janglerock songwriter Sharon Goldman at the People’s Voice Cafe, sugg don, $20; “More if you choose; less if you can’t; no one turned away”

11/18, 7:30 PM the Dover String Quartet play music by Mendelssohn, Laks, Schumann and Viktor Ullmann at Washington Irving HS Auditorium, 16th St./Irving Place, $15

11/18, 8 PM early music ensemble Vox Luminis sing royal funeral music at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, 145 W 46th St between 6th and 7th aves, $30 seats avail. We need a royal funeral in this country right about now! 

11/18, 8 PM purist, lyrical pianist/singer Kelly Green leads her plays the album release show for her new one with her sextet at the Cell Theatre, $10

11/18, 8 PM haunting minimalist/cinematic multi-keyboardist Dominique Lawalrée at the San Damiano Mission, 85 N 15th St, Williamsburg, $20

11/18, 8 PM Athens’ #1 gangster hash-smoking 1920s/30s style rebetiko music band, Rebetiki Istoria at Roulette, $25

11/18, 9 PM the NY Jazzharmonic Trio with the amazing ArcoIris Sandoval on piano at Bar Thalia adjacent to Symphony Space, free

11/18, 10 PM epic, cinematic Indian violin-fueled art-rock themes with Rini and her explosive band at  at Legion Bar, $10

11/18, 10 PM oldschool psychedelic soul/groove band Empire Beats at the Way Station

11/18, 10:30 PM wild, intense, frequently satirical newgrass/oldtimey hellraisers the Dustbowl Revival at the big room at the Rockwood, $15

11/18, time tba a subset of fiery latin noir/circus rock band Kotorino with the similarly phantasmagorical Not Waving But Drowning at House of Collections, 315 Berry St, Williamburg

11/19, 3 PM Omega Ensemble play chamber and string works by Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Beethoven and Gershwin at Christ & St. Stephen’s Church, 120 W 69th St. free

11/19, 4 PM the Apollo Trio play works by Mozart and Brahms  at the Dreck Center at the Brooklyn Public Library, free, no under-sixes.

 11/19, 4 PM the Navatman Music Collective – the only carnatic choir on this continent – sing their innovative, lustrous, lush new arrangements of ancient Indian themes at Symphony Space, $32 but worth it. Like the choir says, “Think you know Indian classical music? Think again!”

11/19, 4 PM the Orchestra Now play Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4 plus Goossens’ Jubilee Variations at Symphony Space, free, rsvp req 

11/19, 5 PM cleverly lyrical, edgily funny, spine-tingling powerpop/acoustic rock singer Tamara Hey at the small room at the Rockwood

11/19. 5 PM clarinetist Matt Rosen and ensemble play works by Bartok, Dolphy and Brahms at the New School’s Glass Box Performance Space, 55 W 13th St, free

11/19. 7 PM NYC’s own rippling, hypnotic, epic Javanese gamelan, Gamelan Dharma Swara at the Fat Cat

 11/19, 8 PM lush, lustrously haunting Balkan art-rock ensemble Dashina at Silvana

11/19, 8ish recently revitalized, careening ten-piece Balkan brass crew Veveritse followed by explosive, creepy, colorful psychedelic rembetiko metal band Greek Judas at Starr Bar, 214 Starr St. (Irving/Wyckoff) in Bushwick, L to Jefferson St.

11/19, 8 PM explosively thundering Ukrainian art-folk band DakhaBrakha at Littlefield, $30

11/20, 7:30 PM Trident Ensemble with Miranda Cuckson, violin and Raman Ramakrishnan, cello play Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time. Also on the bill: vocal works  by Pérotin, Francis Poulenc, Arvo Pärt, Mariano Garau at Music Mondays, Advent Church, northwest corner of 93rd and Broadway, free 

11/20, 8:30 PM pianist Karl Larson plays dystopic new piano music by Wollschleger at Spectrum, $15

11/20, 9:30ish Chicha Libre spinoff Locobeach play trippy electro-cumbia at Barbes

11/20, 10 PM dark psychedelic Americana rock – electric Neil soundalikes Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, $20

 11/21, drinks at 5:30, show at 6: rustic Brazilian jungle guitar-and-accordion sounds with Regional de NY at the Miller Theatre, free

11/21, 7 PM longtime Piazzolla sideman and tango jazz piano luminary Pablo Ziegler l & brilliant violinist Lara St. John revisit Piazzolla’s Central Park concert at the Poisson Rouge, $25 adv tix rec

11/21, 7 PM Daniel Binelli‘s Bandoneorama, the world’s only four-bandoneon group play classic and nuevo tango plus works by Bach, Stravinsky and more followed at 8 by Baden Goyo, piano and Eddy Marcano, violín playing works by Binelli, Galindez, Camacaro, Piazzolla, Hernández, at St. Peter’s Church, 54th/Lex, $20

11/21, 7 PM lyrical pianist Angelica Sanchez leads her group followed at 9:30 by clever, fiery, eclectic ten-piece Balkan/hip-hop/funk brass maniacs Slavic Soul Party  at 9 PM at Barbes

11/21, 7:30/9:30 PM Gamelan Yowana Sari with the Queens College Percussion Ensemble and special guests  at the Jazz Gallery, $15

11/21, 8 PM Manhattan Chamber play music by Richard Auldon Clark, Howard Cass, Seymour Barab, Eric Ewazen and Alan Symphony Space, $20 adv tix rec

11/21-26, 8:30/10 PM one of this era’s great, purist blues-based jazz pianists, Jason Moran & the Bandwagon at the Vanguard, $30

11/21, 8:30 PM haunting folk noir duo Karen & the Secret Documents f.k.a.  Pear Claw at Sidewalk 

11/21, 10 PM brilliant drummer/percussionist Willie Martinez & La Familia Sextet play classic salsa grooves at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe

11/22, 3 PM irrepressible trumpeter Steven Bernstein leads an allstar 14-piece band with Marc Cary on piano, Luis Bonilla on trombone, Marika Hughes on cello and more at the Town Hall, “revisiting Coretta Scott King’s Freedom Concerts,  a milestone collaboration between Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo,  and cantor Moishe Oysher’s anti-Nazi fundraising rally,” $27 tix avail. at the box office

11/22, 7:30 PM, repeating 11/24-25 at 8 the NY Phil play  Rachmaninoff’s Third Symphony, with concertmaster Frank Huang as soloist in Saint-Saëns’s Violin Concerto No. 3 at Avery Fisher Hall, $35 tix avail

11/22. 8/9:30 PM concise, tuneful jazz pianist Marta Sanchez leads her  quintet at Cornelia St. Cafe, $10 + $10 min

11/22, 8:30 PM intense, rapturous Balkan/Middle Eastern ensemble the Secret Trio –Tamer Pinarbasi, Ismail Lumanovski & Ara Dinkjian – at Bar Lunatico

11/23, 9:30 PM lyrical trumpet powerhouse Nadje Noordhuis leads her Quintet at 55 Bar

11/24-25, 7:30/9:30 PM drummer Johnathan Blake’s “My Life Matters” with Dayna Stephens – saxophones / EWI; Joel Ross – vibraphone; Fabian Almazan – piano; Rashaan Carter – bass at the Jazz Gallery, $25

11/24, 8 PM rustic Brazilian jungle guitar-and-accordion sounds with Regional de NY followed at 10 by Pangari & the Socialites playing classic ska and rocksteady – most of it from the 60s Skatalites catalog – at Barbes

11/25, 6 PM eclectic, edgy soul/art-rock/funk/chamber-pop cellist/singer Marika Hughes & Bottom Heavy  followed at 8 by a very rare US appearance by Australian pedal steel player Lucky Oceans and his band at Barbes  

 11/25, 7:30 PM the Aviary bassoon and cello duo  play a program tba at Scholes St. Studios

11/25, 8;30 PM violinists Conrad and Pauline Kim Harris play compositions for solo violin by Eric Lyon and the NY premiere of Paul Marquardt’s Variations on a theme from “Young Frankenstein” at Spectrum, $15

11/25, 9 PM cleverly lyrical, murderously witty murder ballad/chamber pop allstars Charming Disaster  at Pete’s

11/25, 9 PM popular, purist blue-eyed soul crooner Eli Paperboy Reed at Union Pool, $12

 11/26, 2  PM fiery agitator Rev. Billy & the Church of  Stop Shopping Choir – sort of the Dead Kennedys or Public Enemy of original, politically spot-on original gospel music at Joe’s Pub, $10

 11/26, 10:30 PM tuneful soul-jazz trombonist Dave Gibson leads his quintet at Smalls

1/27, 7:30 PM the Juilliard String Quartet play works by Haydn and Dvorak plus Bartok’s searing String Quartet No. 5 at Alice Tully Hall, $20

11/27, 8/10:30 PM ageless, perennially hard-hitting jazz piano sage and ex-Coltrane bandmate McCoy Tyner at the Blue Note, $30 standing room avail

11/27-28, 8 PM drummer Adam Rudolph’s strikingly tuneful, rumblingly improvisational Go Organic Orchestra at Roulette, $15

11/27, 10ish haunting, powerful Afro-Colombian trance choir Bulla en El Barrio at Barbes 

11/28, 7 PM tuneful, terse guitarist/singer Camila Meza and her Nectar Orchestra chamber jazz septet at at the third stage at the Rockwood, $10

11/28, 7 PM the world’s funniest improvising ensemble, Mostly Other People Do the Killing play a trio show with Ron Stabinsky on piano, Moppa Elliott on bass and Kevin Shea on drums followed at 8 by sometimes haunting baritone sax player Charles Evans’ quartet at Shapeshifter Lab, $10

11/28, 7 PM the Cassatt String Quartet and clarinetist Vasko Dubrovski premiere Gerald Cohen’s new spacescape with projections at the Hayden Planetarium (use the 81st St. entrance), $13.50

11/28, 7:30 PM Bomsori Kim, violin and Drew Petersen, piano play works by Messiaen, Faure, Ravel and Saint-Saens at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, free tix available at 6:30 PM day of show

11/28, 7:30 PM brilliantly cinematic, kinetic violinist Dana Lyn  & guitarist Kyle Sanna do their Irish thing followed byintense, fearlessly relevant Middle Eastern clarinetist Kinan Azmeh and his group at the Owl. Azmeh and his haunting, epic Songs for Days to Come project are at Symphony Space on 11/30 at 7:30 PM for $30

11/28, 7:30/9:30 PM eclectic drummer/vibraphonist Kate Gentile‘s new quartet with Matt Mitchell on piano at the Jazz Gallery, $25

11/27-28, 8 PM synth player/composer Laurel Halo and guest percussioist Eli Keszler play selections from her recent album Dust, “revolving around loose and languid songs; warped, sun-filled, melted and at times, heavy-hearted and obscure. A collection of breezy, broken songs, based on woody instrumentation, sub bass and restlessness” at the Kitchen, $20

 11/29, 1 PM the Howard Williams Jazz Orchestra play big band standards at St Peter’s Church, Lex/54th

 11/29, 6 PM harmonium player Doyal Gauranga at the Rubin Museum of Art, free w/museum adm

 11/29, 7:30/9:30 PM a large ensemble assembled by the brilliant, epic Miho Hazama plays new big band jazz tunes by similarly awesome composers: Christopher Zuar, Erica Seguine, Jon Schapiro, Martha Kato, Chuck Iwanusa, Michael Thomas, Andy Clausen, Jihye Lee and Hazama herself at the Jazz Gallery, $15, wow.

1/29, 8 PM haunting, atmospheric brass band Slavic Soul Party spinoff the Mountain Lions at Barbes. They’re here the following night, 11/30 opening for the Eastern Blokhedz – who specialize in the catalog of legendary Polish singer Edita Piaha – who play at 10.

11/29, 9 PM gamelanesque downtown percussion icon Susie Ibarra plays the album release show for her new one, Perception with her DreamTime Ensemble at the Park Church Coop in Greenpoint, $15 adv tix avail at the Poisson Rouge box ofc

11/29. 9 PM the New School Punk & Noise Ensemble at Mannes School of Jazz Performance Space, Arnhold Hall, 55 W13th St on the 5th floor, free. Hey ho, let’s go! 

11/29, 9 PM smart, cleverly lyrical original swing chanteuse/songwriter/trombonist Emily Asher’s Garden Party at Radegast Hall.

11/29, 9 PM funky, lyrically intense dark folk jamband the Sometime Boys– with the riveting Sarah Mucho on vocals  at the small room at the Rockwood. Darkly jangly, catchy, new wave-ish rockers Melissa & the Mannequins  are at the big room an hour later for $10

11/30, 6 PM tuneful postbop jazz guitarist Dave Juarez leads his trio at Cornelia St. Cafe, $10 + $10 min, followed at 8/10:30 by cinematic, nocturnally-inclined pastoral jazz vibraphonist Chris Dingman in a rare trio performance

 11/30, 7:30 PM indie classical chamber luminaries Talea Ensemble  play the NY premiere of FACE for voice and ensemble by Pierluigi Billone at the Italian Academy at Columbia University, 1161 Amsterdam Ave north of 116th St., free

11/30, 7;30 PM the edgy, microtonal Frikativ String Quartet: Sarah Bernstein , Scott Tixier, Mat Maneri, Tomeka Reid at the Owl

11/30, 8 PM Hans Tammen & the eleven-piece electroacoustic Dark Circuits Orchestra play “a controlled chaos of loud, visceral blast of colors, flashes and polyrhythmic machinations” at the Knockdown Center, $10

11/30, 9 PM one of the year’s best triplebills: Balkan bands Tipsy Oxcartt, Raya Brass Band and Dolunay at Littlefield, $10

11/30, 9:30 PM smartly populist oldtimey-flavored Americana band 2/3 Goat  at Hill Country

11/30. 9:30 PM enigmatically intense, sometimes assaultive jazz/postrock group Desert Foxx  at Pine Box Rock Shop

 11/30, 9:30 PM bouncy, catchy, sardonically lyrical 90s style Britrock band Maximo Park at Bowery Ballroom, $20 adv tix rec

12/1, 7:30 PM 10-piece Austrian new music ensemble Studio Dan play works rarely heard in the US including a Christian Schiller premiere at the Austrian Cultural Center, 11 E 52nd St., free, res req 

12/1, 8 PM  don’t let the name fool you – Fairy Tale are more Brothers Grimm than Cinderella – in Korean. Amazing Korean psychedelic folk sounds from this mostly-female group at Flushing Town Hall, $16/$10 stud

12/1, 9 PM searing, theatrical Romany/Balkan punk rockers Bad Buka at Radegast

12/1, 10 PM iconic second-wave roots reggae road warriors John Brown’s Body at Bowery Ballroom, $20 adv tix rec

12/2, 7 PM dark, intense, psychedelic guitarist/songwriter Anna Coogan at the small room at the Rockwood

12/2, 8 PM Gamelan Kusuma Laras with Javanese gamelan luminaries Darsono Hadiraharjo, “the best young Javanese gamelan player of his generation;” master musician Midiyanto; and rising star singer Heni Savitri; at Roulette, $25

12/2, 9 PM Television’s Richard Lloyd and his band open for Steve Wynn’s iconic, amazingly vital 80s darkly psychedelic, noisyjamband the Dream Syndicate at Bowery Ballroom, $25 gen adm

12/9, 4 PM the Desoff Choir sing Handel’s Messiah at Union Theological Seminary, 3041 Broadway @ 121st St, $15

12/9,  5 PM tenor sax explorations by Ras Moshe Burnett and open jam session along with speakers from Take the Stands and the Stop Mass Incarceration Network at Dacia Gallery, 53 Stanton St

12/11, drinks at 5:30 PM, show at 6, all-female punk classical French horn quartet Genghis Barbie play works from Bizet to Queen to Badfinger at the Miller Theatre, free

12/13, 7:30 PM eclectic mostly-female klezmer/cumbia/tango jamband Isle of Klezbos  at Piano on Park, 10 Park Ave #22D, $25

12/16, 9 PM very diverse works by rising star jazz composer Sarah Weaver: a solo bass piece written for and played by the great Mark Dresser followed by Weaver’s killer twelve-piece orchestra featuring Min Xiao-Fen on pipa and Ned Rothenberg on reeds, among others, at the DiMenna Center, $25/$15 stud/srs

12/31, 11 PM organist William Trafka performs works by Bach, Guilmant and Mendelssohn at St. Bartholomew’s Church, free, champagne after midnight!

Playful, Entertaining Solo Cello Improvisation and an Album Release Show in Queens by Daniel Levin

There are plenty of cellists who can jam, but Daniel Levin is as fearless and sometimes devastatingly intense as an improviser can get. He has an irresistibly fun new  album of solo improvisation, Living, streaming at Bandcamp and an album release show coming up this Saturday night, Oct 28 on a killer twinbill with guitarmeister Brandon Seabrook‘s pummeling two-drum Die Trommel Fatale at Holo, 1090 Wyckoff Ave. in Ridgewood. The show starts at 8, the club’s web page is dead and nobody is saying publicly who’s playing when, but it doesn’t really matter. Seabrook and Levin cap it off with what could be a seriously volcanic duo set. Cover is $10; take the L to Halsey St.

The album’ first track, Assemblage, is a lot of fun.  Shivers, pops, a monkey barking, a motorcycle revving, a tree being felled with a saw and a wolf whistle or two finally lead to steps to a door.

Generator is full of squiggles, furtive squirreliness. a few microtonal variations that bounce off a low pedal note and a droll interlude that could be breakfast in a coffee shop.

Baksy-buku goes from whispers to screams, then back, with an animated one-sided conversation. Levin can mimic pretty much everything on his four strings without any electronic effects.

The Dragon, an eleven-minute, amusingly detailed epic, focuses on what could be the prep work for fire-breathing devastation. These tracks are all close-miked with plenty of reverb, so every flick of the bow or tap of the fingers on the body of the cello is picked up. Levin uses this trope everywhere, especially in Symbiotic, which rises toward the kind of frenetic sawing he’s capable of generating before the piece fades to spacious warps and blips.

The album winds up with the whispery, rustling Mountain of Butterflies. Levin’s relentless dedication to evincing unexpected sounds out of his axe ought to be heard beyond the audience of cellists and bass players trying to figure out how he does it. And it makes a good soundtrack for a haunted house.

Pensively Entertaining Cinematic Soundscapes From the Mexican Avant Garde

This year’s Celebrate Mexico Now festival wound up yesterday at the Queens Museum with the multimedia performance of Paisajes Sonoros, a deliciously textural, boisterously entertaining, relentlessly catchy electroacoustic score to powerfully metaphorical projections by Vanessa Garcia Lembo, performed by violinist/keyboardist Carlo Nicolau and percussionist Vicente Rojo Cama.

The projections pondered humankind’s dubious impact on nature, and its many ramifications. One recurrent, provocative image was fingerprints or zoning diagrams superimposed on imposingly out-of-focus images of a massive, grey Mayan temple. Another persistent image was a twisted, bright crimson heart. The funniest sequence of all  was when the percussionist crinkled a couple of empty plastic water bottles together, running them through heavy-duty reverb while an old, faded black-and-white turn-of-the-century German postcard of bathers at Coney Island faded into and then out of the picture: look what I found in the waves, ma!

Another amusing interlude involved an old 1950s beatnik avant garde trope: rubbing two balloons together. Put enough reverb on them, and suddenly the squeak and squonk take on an unanticipated menace. Symbolism anyone?

The rest of the program’s twelve pieces, segueing into each other, were more pensive and often downright troubled. A handful turned out to be intimate arrangements of orchestral pieces from Nicolau’s recent album Music For the Moving Imagination. One of the more animated themes was a Romany-flavored violin melody and variations, which could have been Schubert. When Nicolau wasn’t playing that on the violin, he was layering shadowy ambience and white noise, bubbling through an uneasy microtonal patch on the keyboard. In more concretely melodic moments, he built lingering, austerely moody piano themes. Meanwhile, the percussion echoed and whooshed in and out, other times evoking steel pans or a gamelan via an array of singing bowls and small gongs spun through a vortex of effects.

The video aspect was often similarly grim. Something that could have been a mossy rock but also some kind of dead cetacean washed up on a beach; gritty industrial decay contrasting with serene, ornate doorways and architectural ornaments from bygone centuries. Yet ultimately both the music and visuals reflected a resolute optimism, hope residing in the handmade and the artistic rather than the machine. At the end, the musicians dedicated the suite to the survivors of the Mexico City earthquake, and also to the hope that cross-cultural collaboration will trump conflict. It made a vivid reminder that long before the days of Frida Kahlo or Luis Buñuel, Mexican artists have been a force in the avant garde.

Colin Stetson Hauntingly Reinvents an Iconic Eulogy For the Victims of Genocide

What’s more Halloweenish than the arguably most evil event in human history? Friday night at the World Financial Center, saxophonist Colin Stetson led a twelve-piece jazz orchestra through his inventive, intensely immersive original arrangement of Henryk Gorecki’s third Symphony, better known as the “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs.” The Polish composer dedicated it to victims of the Holocaust and World War II; the 1992 recording by the London Sinfonietta with soprano Dawn Upshaw remains one of the very last classical recordings to sell a million copies worldwide.

Stetson pointedly remarked before the show that he’d remained true Gorecki’s original melodies, beyond extending or sustaining certain climactic passages, “Amplified for these times.” That ominousness rang especially true right from the start. The main themes are a solemn processional and a round of sorts, both of which rose to several mighty crescendos that were far louder than anything Gorecki ever could have imagined.

Spinning his axes – first a rumbling contrabass clarinet, then his signature bass sax and finally an alto – through a pedalboard along with his looming vocalese, Stetson anchored the dense sonic cloud. Bolstering the low end on multi-saxes and clarinets were Matt Bauder (of darkly brilliant, psychedelic surf rockers Hearing Things) and Dan Bennett, along with cellist Rebecca Foon and synth players Justin Walter and Shahzad Ismaily. Violinists Amanda Lo and Caleb Burhans were charged with Gorecki’s most ethereal tonalities, while guitarists Grey Mcmurray and Ryan Ferreira got a serious workout, tirelessly chopping at their strings with endless volleys of tremolo-picking. It’s amazing that everybody got through this without breaking strings.

The addition of Greg Fox on drums resulted in an unexpected, sometimes Shostakovian satirical feel, adding a twisted faux-vaudevillian edge to a section of the second movement. Stetson’s sister Megan ably took charge of the Upshaw role with her dramatic but nuanced arioso vocal stylings. After the smoke had risen and fallen and risen again across the battlefield, the air finally cleared, an apt return to the stillness and meditative quality of the original score, matching the guarded optimism of the ending as much as the group had channeled the grief and muted anguish of the rest of the work. One suspects the composer – who toiled under a repressive Iron Curtain regime for much of his life – would have approved.

You’ll be able to hear this when the performance airs on John Schaefer’s New Sounds Live on WNYC, most likely early in November.

A Brooding, Resonant Subterranean Soundscape for Halloween Month

Today’s installment for Halloween month is Philip Blackburn’s album Music of Shadows – streaming at Spotify – which was written to be played in the St. Paul, Minnesota sewer system. Innova Records put out this bleak, tectonically and ineluctably shifting triptych in 2014, and it may be the high point of the composer’s career so far.

Blackburn is sort of the shadow image of Brian Eno – his enveloping, often darkly majestic electroacoustic soundscapes tend to whoosh and resonate in the lows, sometimes with provocative samples. His recent works have addressed the struggles of Vietnamese refugees and have lampooned right-wing bigotry. This one is more of a relentless mood piece. Even the mathrock-y bubbles as the second movement opens give way to a coldly echoing, oscillating resonance.

About five minutes into the icy lead-pipe ambience of the opening movement, there are doors slamming and children playing, but the effect evokes a prison vastly more than it does a playground. And the disembodied choir fading in and out eventually blend with the rest of the ghosts.

And for anyone living in an urban area, the album has value to match its gloomy, entrancing artistic merits. Your neighbors might bang on the ceiling if you crank a loud rock record in the middle of the night to drown out the crackhead or the creeps down the hall, but if you blast this, nobody can really complain – and if you’re tired enough, it will eventually lull you back to sleep.  After all, nobody can tell you that you can’t vacuum your floor at four in the morning, can they? That movie you were just blasting? What movie, wink wink! Any nightmares you might have are incidental. Or are they?

In Her First New York Solo Show, Seungmin Cha Invents a Riveting, Brand New Kind of Music

It’s impossible to think of anyone other than Seungmin Cha who could make a tiny dinner bell sound more menacing than she did at her first-ever New York solo concert last weekend. Or for that matter, who could get as much sound as she did out of a single Korean daegeum flute, sometimes serene and verdant, other times acidic or even macabre.

“Can I check out your rig?” an interested concertgoer asked her before the show.

“Sure,” she replied. On the floor in front of her were a couple of large pedalboards’ worth of stompboxes, hardly limited to reverb, delay, disortion, chorus, flange and an envelope filter. Hardly what you would expect a virtuoso of a centuries-old folk instrument to be playing her axe through.

“This is a guitar rig,” the spectator observed. “Is that a volume pedal?” 

“It’s a total guitar rig,” Cha smiled. “That’s a distortion pedal. For my vocals.”

But this wasn’t a rock show. Instead, Cha invented a brand new kind of music right there on the spot. This particular blend of ancient Korean folk themes, western classical, jazz improvisation and the furthest reaches of the avant garde might have only existed for this one night.

She began by slowly making her way in a circle around the audience. It took her a good fifteen minutes, playing subtle, meticulously nuanced variations on a gentle Korean pastoral theme. On one hand, this might have been a welcoming gesture, a comfortably lulling interlude. More likely, Cha was getting a sense of the room’s acoustics for when she really cut loose.

Which she did, eventually. At one point, she was getting two separate overtones out of the flute, without relying on the electronics. As it turned out, she’d been talking shop with her special guest, clarinetist Ned Rothenberg, before the show and he’d shown her a couple of overtones. Which, maybe half an hour after learning them, she incorporated into the show. Can anybody say fearless?

As Cha built her first improvisational mini-epic of the night, a mist of microtones wafted through the space, sometimes light and tingling, sometimes mysteriously foggy. Slow, judicious bends and dips flowed through a mix that she eventually built to a dark deep-space pulse, the flute’s woody tone cutting through like a musical Hubble telescope somewhere beyond Pluto but unwilling to relent on its search for new planets. Yet when she sang a couple of resigned “my love’s gone over the hills” type ballads, her vocals made a contrast, low and calm – until she hit her pedal to raise the surrealism factor through the roof.

As it turns out, Cha can also be very funny. She began an improvisation inspired by a snakelike Alain Kirili sculpture on the floor in front of her with a sort of one-sided Q&A…then decided to pick it up and play it as if it was a flute. Grrrr!! This thing is evil!

Rothenberg joined her for a lively duet to close the show: he tried goosing her with a few riffs early on, and she goosed back, but it became clear that she wanted to take this in a more serious direction and he went with it, adding judicious, mostly midrange, confidently bubbling motives while Cha took a slow, similarly considered upward path. It was a playful way to close what had been an intense and sometimes harrowing journey up to that point. You’ll see this on the Best Concerts of 2017 page here later this year.

Cha flew back to her home turf in Seoul the next day, but a return to New York is in the works: watch this space.

The Momenta Quartet’s Marathon Week Just Won’t Stop

If you’re regretting that you missed the Momenta Quartet’s marathon four-day festival that wound up last night, wait – there’s more! The indomitable string quartet are playing an all-Ursula Mamlok program to accompany Miro Magloire’s New Chamber Ballet performing Stray Bird, a tribute to the pioneering 20th century composer, tonight, Oct 5 and tomorrow night, Oct 6 at 7 PM. It’s happening at the German Academy New York, 1014 5th Ave. (between 82nd & 83rd Sts), and it’s free; an rsvp would be a good idea.

This year’s third annual Momenta Festival started on Sunday night at a classy Lower East Side black-box theatre and wound up in a dingy old church on the Upper West. Consider: doesn’t that mirror the career trajectory of how many thousand acts to play this city? Seriously, though, last night’s program might have been the most electrifying of all four nights (this blog was AWOL for the first one).

If you’re new to this page, each member of the quartet programs a night of music for the festival. The finale fell to violinist Alex Shiozaki to sort out, and he packed it with three acerbic, often chilling microtonal works and a favorite from the early third-stream canon. The theme (these are all theme nights) was the creation of the world, but destruction also played a part, to the point of being the night’s riveting centerpiece and arguable high point of the entire festival. 

The quartet celebrated the work of Danish composer Per Norgard last year; this performance revisited that otherworldly intensity, with a dynamic, white-knuckle version of his World War I-themed String Quartet No. 8. Awash in microtones, halftones and pretty much anything but the western scale, it’s a showstopper, and the group negotiated its barbwire thicket of harmonics, glissandos, eerie oscillations and brooding, sometimes macabre tonalities with a matter-of-factness that made it look easy.

Cellist Michael Haas’ coolly precise pizzicato contrasted with starkness, violist Stephanie Griffin echoing that dynamic while first violinist Emilie-Anne Gendron sailed and dove alongside Shiozaki through the similarly edgy leaps and steady pulse of another microtonal work, Hiroya Miura’s Singularity. Then to open the second half, Shiozaki played Joao Pedro Oliviera’s similar Magma, interspersed with electronics (mostly echo and reverb effects) that didn’t get in the way but were ultimately pretty superfluous. In fact, leaving Shiozaki alone with its big cadenzas punctuated by plenty of space would have ramped up the suspense. It was akin to a Berio Sequenza distilled to its basic hooks.

Joined by Shiozaki’s wife, pianist Nana Shi, the group closed with a jaunty take of Darius Milhaud’s La Creation du Monde, a counterpart to Gershwin with its juxtaposition of late Romantic and ragtime tunesmithing. Milhaud mentored Dave Brubeck, so it was no wonder this brought to mind the jazz piano titan’s later, larger-ensemble works. There’s a sudden point about three quarters of the way through where the strings all of a sudden go off the rails together into a whirl of trouble, and the group didn’t miss a beat. In its own way, that strange and rather assaultive interlude was as radical and defiantly thrilling as anything else on the bill.

This Year’s Momenta Festival, Installment Three: Fun Night!

Even by the rigorous standards of the string quartet world, the Momenta Quartet have to assimilate an enormous amount of material for their annual Manhattan festival. Never mind the kind of stylistic leaps and bounds that would drive most other groups to distraction. This year’s festivities conclude tonight with a free concert at 7 at West Park Church at 86th and Amsterdam put together by violinist Alex Shiozaki. The centerpiece is Per Norgard’s mesmerizingly dark String Quartet No. 8, and reportedly there will be free beer. But the music will be better than the beer. What’s better than free beer? Now you know.

Each member of this irrepressible quartet programs a single festival evening. Violinist Emilie-Anne Gendron was in charge of night one, which was reputedly challenging and entertaining – this blog wasn’t there. Night two, assembled by violist Stephanie Griffin, was harrowingly intense and had enormous political relevance. Last night’s bill at Columbia’s Italian Academy auditorium, devised by celist Michael Haas, was the fun night – although the fun promises to continue tonight as well.

Last night’s theme was a tourists-eye view of Italy. Haas took that idea from the evening’s one world premiere, Claude Baker’s absolutely delightful Years of Pilgrimage: Italy. Baker found his inspiration in Italian-themed works by Liszt, Berlioz and Tschaikovsky, and there were jarring episodes interpolating snippets of some of those themes throughout an otherwise distinctively 21st century work. It wasn’t the easiest, segue-wise, but it was riotously funny. Otherwise, the piece didn’t seem to have much to do with Italy, from austere, minimalist insistence, to all sorts of allusive, enigmatic ripples and rises, a daunting and uneasily captivating microtonal interlude, and plenty of tongue-in-cheek glissandos and other only slightly less ostentatious uses of extended technique. The group had a great time with it: every string quartet ought to play it.

The party ended on a high note with Tschaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence, the quartet bolstered by their former teachers Samuel Rhodes and Marcy Rosen on second viola and cello, respectively. It was an unabashedly joyous, conversational performance: to the extent that this music can swing, the group swung it, through beery, punchy Beethovenesque riffage bookended by familiar Russian gloom.

It was as if Tschaikovsky was reassuring himself that it was ok to cut loose and have some fun. And did he ever. That buffoonish brass fanfare midway through, transposed for strings – whose doublestops and rat-a-tat phrasing are brutally tough to play, by the way? Check. That ridiculous faux-tarantella at the end? Doublecheck. Otherwise, the group reveled in nifty exchanges of voices as the mood shifted back and forth.

They’d opened with Britten’s String Quartet No. 3, which was more of a vehicle for individual members’ technical skill than anything else. Gendron spun silky filigrees while Haas and Shiozaki  provided elegant, precisely pulsing pizzicato alongside Griffin’s plaintive resonance. But ultimately, the piece – a late work based on Britten’s 1973 opera Death in Venice – didn’t really go anywhere. Obviously, the group can’t be faulted for the composer electing for a “this is what I look like when I’m sad” pose over genuine empathy. That the opera is based on the Thomas Mann novel explains a lot.

Brooklyn Raga Massive’s Version of Terry Riley’s In C: The Most Psychedelic Album of 2017

Considering how much Indian music has influenced Terry Riley’s work, It makes sense that the iconic composer and pioneer of what’s come to be known as indie classical would give the thumbs-up to Brooklyn Raga Massive’s recording of his famous suite. The irrepressible New York collective can’t resist mashing up just about anything with classical Indian sounds: their previous album tackled a bunch of famous John Coltrane tunes. They’re playing the album release show for the new one – streaming at Bandcamp – on Oct 6 at 8 PM at the Poisson Rouge; $20 adv tix are recommended.  

They open the album with an alap (improvisation) on Raga Bihag, strings fluttering and slowly massing behind a rather jubilant bansuri flute line (that’s either Eric Fraser or Josh Geisler), handing off to bandleader Neel Murgai’s sitar, then Arun Ramamurthy’s spiraling violin before the sitar takes the band into the first variation on Riley’s 48 cells. A cynic might say that this is the best part of the album – either way, the band could have gone on four times as long and nobody would be complaining. 

Riley wrote In C on the piano in 1964, but just about every kind of ensemble imaginable – from flashmobs with flash cards, to Serena Jost’s army of fifty cellists – have played it. Any way it’s performed, it’s very hypnotic, this version especially. The whole group is in on it from the first insistent rhythmic measure, vocally and instrumentally, with the occasional minutely polyrhythmic variation. This is a mighty, full-force version of the massive, blending Trina Basu and Ken Shoji’s violins, Aaron Shragge’s dragon mouth trumpet, Michael Gam’s bass, Max ZT’s hammered dulcimer,Adam Malouf’s cello, David Ellenbogen’s guitar, with Timothy Hill and Andrew Shantz on vocals, Lauren Crump on cajon, Vin Scialla on riq and frame drum, Roshni Samlal and Sameer Gupta on tabla.

As the piece goes on, dancing flute and sitar accents answer each other with a gleeful abandon. Echo effects pulse like a stoned quasar, then about halfway in a triplet groove emerges and then straightens out. Kanes Mathis’ oud scampers like a street urchin running from the cops, then provides a low-register anchor for the fluttering strings. Which shift to the foreground, then recede as individual voices throughout the group signal the next change.

There are places where it brings to mind Brian Jones’ trippy loop collages on Their Satanic Majesties Request; elsewhere, the White Album’s most surreal experimental segments. Bottom line is that there hasn’t been an album nearly as psychedelically enveloping as this one released this year. How does it feel to listen to this album without being high? Weird. Either way, it’s great late-night listening for stoners and nonsmokers alike.