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Live Music Calendar for New York City and Brooklyn For September 2022

All these concerts are free of restrictions on entry. Weekly events first followed by the daily calendar. If a venue is unfamiliar, look for it on the old guide to NYC music venues here, which is more of a worksheet now, but it has links to most of the places on this calendar.

Mondays at the Django 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.

Sundays at around 1 PM trumpeter Jon Kellso and (frequently) guitarist Matt Munisteri lead the Ear-Regulars in NYC’s only remaining weekly hot jazz jam session at the Ear Inn

9/1-2, half past noon lyrical jazz pianist Frank Owens at Bryant Park

9/1, 6 PM Gaijin A Go Go – the satirical J-pop equivalent of Les Sans Culottes – under the Dumbo archway

9/1, 7 PM  psychedelic Afrobeat band Super Yamba and the rousingly soulful Harlem Gospel Travelers at Baby’s All Right, $15

9/1, 8 PM surfy psychedelic instrumentalists Daikaiju at the Sovereign, $20

9/1, 7:30 PM lyrical jazz pianist Henry Hey leads a trio at the Django, $25

9/1, 8:30ish artsy, brooding. 80s-tinged band the Dream Eaters at Mama Tried

9/1-4, 8/10:30 PM  reliably acerbic alto sax powerhouse Kenny Garrett leads his band at the Blue Note, $20 standing room avail

9/2, 4 PM singer Veronica Davila’s twangy, Bakersfield-flavored hard honkytonk band Low Roller at Skinny Dennis. They’re back here on 9/13 at 9

9/2, 7 PM singer Artemisia LeFay’s Ghosts of Weimar Past celebrates the music of Jewish composers Spoliansky, Weill, Hollaender, Jary saluting the spirit of cabaret and vaudeville from the birth to the death of Weimar Berlin at the downstairs room at the Rockwood, $20

9/2, 7:30 PM purist postbop jazz guitarist Ed Cherry  leads a trio followed at 10 by  noir-inspired alto saxophonist/composer Nick Hempton with his quartet  at the Django, $25

9/2, 9 PM intense, rapturous Balkan/Middle Eastern ensemble the Secret Trio  at Drom, $15 adv tix rec

9/2, 10 PM the Hysterics play surf rock followed by the jangly Big Star-influenced Hasbros at Otto’s

9/3, 3 PM unstoppable 60s boogaloo and salsa icon Joe Bataan at Union Pool, free

9/3, 7ish Baby Copperhead – who do a good banjo driven take on the creepy psych-folk that O’Death was doing ten years ago – at Mama Tried

9/3, 7:30 PM “In North Indian classical violin Rupam Ghosh is the new millennium star” and he’s here with Utpal Ghosal on tabla at the Chhandayan Center For Indian Music, $25

9/3. 8 PM retro continental swing sounds with singer Tatiana Eva-Marie & the Avalon Jazz Band  at Drom, $20 adv tix rec

9/3, 9:30 PM ageless, jangly, purist NY surf rock originals the Supertones followed at 11 by kick-ass original third-wave surf group Tsunami of Sound  at Otto’s

9/3, 10:30  Danny Jonokuchi & The Revisionists play 1930s style swing jazz  at the Django, $25

9/3, 10:30 PM refreshingly unpredictable tenor saxophonist Eric Wyatt and band at Smalls.

9/3, 11 PM guitar-fueled purist groove/soul/psychedelic funk instrumentalists the Dark Sky Hustlers at the small room at the Rockwood

9/3, 11 PM sharply lyrical southwestern gothic/Americana songwriter Tom Shaner at LIC Bar

9/4, 7ish noir-inspired honkytonk crooner Sean Kershaw at Mama Tried. 9/19 at 8 he’s at Cowgirl Seahorse

9/4, 7:30 PM puckish avant-garde surrealists thingNY play their first live show since Dec 2019, featuring music by group members Gelsey Bell, Andrew Livingston, Paul Pinto, Isabel Castellvi, as well as composer Pamela Z; dadaesque multimedia from Nick Brooke/The Cabinet also on the bill at Coffey Street Studio, 153 Coffey St, Red Hook

9/4, 9 PM fiery, deviously fun oldtimey swing guitarist/crooner Seth Kessel at Skinny Dennis

9/5-9, half past noon purist jazz pianist Larry Ham at Bryant Park

9/5, 1:30 PM adventurous outdoor improvisation: Sam Newsome – soprano sax / Laura Cocks – flute / Daniel Carter – woodwinds followed by TA Thompson Sonic Matters: Ken Filiano – bass / Sara Schoenbeck – bassoon / TA Thompson – drums and at 4 by the Andrew Lamb Trio at the community garden at 129 Stanton St near Essex

9/5, 9 PM boisterously funny oldschool 60s C&W and brooding southwestern gothic with the Jack Grace Band at Skinny Dennis, 9/26, 10 PM he’s at the Ear Inn

9/6, 6 PM not a music event but politically important: an anti-discrimination protest outside Trinity School, 139 W 91st St. James O’Keefe of Project Veritas will be reporting on the scene.

9/6, 7 PM funk-jazz crew the Silver Arrow Band at Drom, free. They’re also here on 9/20

9/6, 8 PM hypnotic loopmusic vocalist Stephanie Lamprea at Roulette, $25 adv tix rec

9/7, 10:30 PM tuneful, refreshingly edgy pianist Rachel Z leads a quartet at the Django, $25

9/8, 7 PM not a music event but a roundtable meeting of important voices: hero attorney hero attorney Bobbie Ann Cox,, John Gilmore of CHD New York and Autism Action Network and legal researcher Greg Fisher discuss how we stop Kathy Hochul’s nanny state atttempts to set up concentration camps and forcibly inject our kids, at Havurat Israel, 106-20 70th Ave Forest Hills, $5

9/8, 7 PM stadium metal band Intranced, retro 80s British metal band Seven Sisters and excellent, tuneful post-Maiden band Haunt at the Sovereign, $20

9/8, 7 PM counterintuitive, erudite trombonist  John Yao and his chordless quartet at Culture Lab in Long Island City

9/8, 7 PM two very different, very distinctive jazz pianists: Aaron Diehl and Orrin Evans at Bryant Park\

9/8, 8 PM free jazz legend and pianist Marilyn Crispell leads a trio with Joe Fonda on bass and Harvey Sorgen on drums at Roulette, $25 adv tix rec

9/8, 8:30 PM Dark Streets play Celtic classics by the Pogues, Flogging Molly, the Dubliners and others at 11th St Bar. 9/29 at 7 they’re at Mama Tried

9/8, 10:30 PM PM  tuneful oldschool soul/jazz trombonist Dave Gibson  leads his quartet at Smalls. 9/15, 7:30 they’re at the Django, $25 and back at Smalls on 9/22

9/9, 7 PM technically dazzling trumpeter Summer Camargo leads a sextet at Bryant Park

9/9, 8 PM saxophonist Vinny Golia’s improvisational Large Ensemble at Roulette, $25 adv tix rec

9/9, 8:30 PM heavy blues stoner instrumental jamband Earthless at the Market Hotel, $25

9/9, 10 PM guitarslinger Phil Gammage plays his dark Americana and blues at Shrine. 9/26, 8 PM he’s at Cowgirl Seahorse

9/10, 10 AM-8 PM out of town but a fun lineup: the family-friendly Festival in a Field with bands including Americana soul jamband the Mammals, multi-instrumentalist Bibi Farber’s Action Figures 432, kirtan-rock jammers Samkirtan Band, the Red Threat, Journey Blue Heaven, Americana guitar picker Jude Roberts, mesmerizing gong soundsculptor Kevin Nathaniel. Plus some of the stars of the NY freedom movement: riveting singer/investigative journalist/satirist Tessa Lena, CHD general counsel and tv host Mary Holland, hero attorney Bobbie Ann Cox who just defeated the New York State regulation allowing to force-isolate people in quarantine camps (the power maniacs have since appealed), John Gilmore of CHD New York and Autism Action Network, Planet Waves’ investigative reporter Eric Francis Coppolino, Dr, Tom Cowan, and others. Plus a haybale maze for the kids, local homemade food and crafts at 55 Wenzels Lane in Hudson, NY, $25

9/10, 1:30 PM an auspicious improvisational bill: Fay Victor – voice, composition / Liany Mateo – bass / Lesley Mok – drums followed at 2:30 by Melanie Dyer – viola / Mara Rosenbloom – keyboard / Kyoko Kitamurra – voice, at 3 by Miriam Parker – dance / Luke Stewart – bass and at 4 by Mara Rosenbloom – piano / Anais Maviel – voice, percussion / Sean Conly – bass at First Street Green Culture Park, 33 East 1st St

9/10, 4 PM Sarah Durning & the Fun Sisters play twangy oldschool-style original honkytonk at Skinny Dennis

9/10. 5 PM Toronto band Beams – who are all over the place, from dreampop to new wave to edgier Paula Carino-style lyrical janglerock – at Culture Lab in Long Island City

9/10. 7:30 PM jazz organist Mike LeDonn leads a trio followed at 10:30 PM by intense, lyrical, politically fearless tenor saxophonist Roxy Coss and her quintet at the Django, $25

9/10, 8 PM largescale Moroccan, Indian and American jazz improvisation: Gift of Gnawa play a Don Cherry tribute; Brooklyn Raga Massive – a rotating cast of A-list Indian, jazz and rock musicians who love to jam out classic Indian themes – and drummer Adam Rudolph’s strikingly tuneful, rumblingly improvisational Go Organic Orchestra  with special guests Hassan Hakmoun and Dave Liebman at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park south of the east side 72nd St. entrance

9/11, 1:30 PM free outdoor improvisation with the politically fearless Irreversible Entanglements Quartet: Keir Neuringer – alto sax / Luke Stewart – bass / Aquiles Navarro – trumpet / Tcheser Holmes – drums followed at 2:30 PM by the Jason Kao Hwang violin jazz Trio, at 3:30 by Ellen Christi – voice / William Parker – strings / Jackson Krall – water phone, drums and 4:30 by Dave Sewelson – baritone sax / Bobby Kapp – drums / William Parker – bass at First Street Green Culture Park, 33 East 1st St

9/11, 7 PM eclectic cosmopolitan jazz singer Sivan Arbel with her band at Culture Lab in Long Island City

9/11, 7 PM mighty Brazilian drumline street band BatalaNYC outdoors in the back garden at Pioneer Works, free

9/11, 7:30/9 PM erudite, deviously entertaining bassist Martin Wind leads his trio at Smalls, $25

9/11, 7:30/9 PM soulful pan-Latin jazz chanteuse Claudia Acuña with Pablo Vergara on piano and Carlos Henderson on bass at Mezzrow, $25

9/11, 7:30 PM New Orleans marches and funky struts with Tuba Skinny at City Winery, $22 adm avail

9/12-16. half past noon purist jazz pianist Yuka Aikawa at Bryant Park

9/12, 10:30 PM expansive postbop pianist Miki Yamanaka at Smalls She’s back here on 9/19

9/13-18. 8/10:30 PM everybody’s favorite jazz bassist, Christian McBride with an interesting up-and-coming band: Nicole Glover, Ely Perlman, Mike King, Savannah Harris at the Blue Note, $30 standing room avail

9/13, 10:30 PM   fiery electric Cuban hill country music with Los Hacheros at the Django, $25

9/14, 10:30 PM lyrical, thoughtful tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander leads his quartet at the Django, $25

9/15, 7 PM iconic Afro-Cuban percussionist/bandleader Pedrito Martine plays his bday show at Drom, $20 adv tix rec

9/15, 7:30 PM night one of this year’s Momenta Festival with the reliably adventurous Momenta Quartet opens with Elizabeth Brown: Just Visible in the Distance (2013); Valentin Silvestrov: String Quartet no. 3 (2011)’ Shawn Jaeger: Thy Wondering Eyes (2010) at Broadway Presbyterian Church (601 W 114th St. free

9/15, 8 PM chamber ensemble Bearthoven, chamber ensemble Desdemona, pianist Isabelle O’Connell and percussionist Adam Holmes play a composer portrait of Cassie Wieland at Roulette, $25 adv tix rec

9/16, 6 PM the fiery, violin-driven Sedi Donka Balkan Band at a house concert at 328 Marlborough Rd., (Cortelyou/Beverley), Crown Heights, Q to C

9/16, 7 PM the annual accordion festival returns:  the lustrously uneasy Ukrainian Village Voices, Balkan band Balaklava Blues – a Lemon Bucket Orkestra spinoff – and Heart of Afghanistan, with Afghani TV star Ahmad Fanoos on vocals and harmonium, his sons Elham Fanoos on piano and Mehran Fanoos on violin, and Hamid Habibzada on tablā. and others at Bryant Park

9/16, 7:30 PM night two of this year’s Momenta Festival with the reliably adventurous Momenta Quartet continues with Carlos Chávez: Invention II (1965) for String Trio; José Pablo Moncayo: Viola Sonata (1934); Julián Carrillo: String Quartet No. 1 (1903) at Broadway Presbyterian Church (601 W 114th St. free

9/16, 7:30 PM wickedly sharp, politically fearless, funny psychedelic soul with Fantastic Negrito  at the Poisson Rouge, $30 adv tix rec

9/17, noon this weekend’s freedom rally to overturn the totalitarian lethal injection and social credit score schemes in NYC, at the south end of Hunters Point Park in Long Island City, 7 train to Hunters Point Ave

9/17, 1:30 PM reliably good free jazz veterans: Steve Swell – trombone / Kirk Knuffke – cornet / TA Thompson – drums, at 2:30 trumpeter Jaimie Branch’s group, at 3:30 the Larry Roland Urban Project: Larry Roland- poetry, bass / Kiyoko Layne – keyboard / Waldron Ricks – trumpet / TA Thompson – drums and Whit Dickey – drums / Rob Brown – alto sax at the community garden at 129 Stanton St near Essex

9/17, 4 PM energetic delta blues/Romany swing guitaris Felix Slim at Skinny Dennis. Sizzling electric bluegrass and C&W outfit Demolition String Band play after at 9.

9/17, 4 PM seven-year-old fiddle sensation Isla Gray Ross and her dad Clay Ross from Ranky Tanky at a house concert at 225 Argyle Rd just off Beverley, Crown Heights, a benefit for Operation Gig, Q to Beverley Road

9/17, 7 PM the American Symphony Orchestra play music by William Grant Still, Mahler and Louise Talma at Bryant Park

9/17, 7:30 PM night three of this year’s Momenta Festival with the reliably adventurous Momenta Quartet continues with Hirofumi Mogi: In Memory of Perky Pat (2021) for string quartet and horn; Brahms: Trio for Violin, Horn, and Piano in E-flat Major, Op. 40 (1865); Grażyna Bacewicz: Piano Quintet No. 2 (1965) at Broadway Presbyterian Church (601 W 114th St. free

9/18, 1:30 PM an eclectic improvisional afternoon: Chris Williams – trumpet / Luke Stewart – bass / Cinque Kemp – drums; at 2:30 Daro Behroozi – flutes, woodwinds, percussion / Éléonore Weill – flutes, voice / Martin Shamoonpour – flutes, percussion and at 4 the powerful Sarah Manning – alto sax / Jair-Rohm Wells – bass / William Hooker – drums at the community garden at 710 E 5th St.

9/18, 4 PM latin jazz pianist Bennett Paster‘s Understated Trio at a house concert at 171 Westminster Rd (Beverley/Albemarle), Q to Beverley Road

9/18, 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

9/18, 7:30 PM closing night of this year’s Momenta Festival with the reliably adventurous Momenta Quartet includes Julián Carrillo: String Quartet No. 11 (1962); Mario Davidovsky: Synchronisms No. 9 (1988) for violin and electronics; Glaser: String Quartet No. 5, in memoriam Mario Davidovsky (2022) and Beethoven: String Quartet No. 11 at Broadway Presbyterian Church (601 W 114th St. free

9/18, 9 PM darkly cinematic, ornate surf instrumentalists the TarantinosNYC.at Otto’s

9/20, 7:30/9 PM adrenalizing postbop vibraphonist Mark Sherman leads a quartet at Smalls, $25

9/20, 8ish powerpop en Espanol band Estos Gritos followed by edgy King Crimson-influenced Woodhead at Mama Tried

9/20-25, 8/10:30 PM darkly lyrical, phantasmagorical jazz vocal sage Cecile McLorin Salvant at the Blue Note, , $30 standing room avail

9/20, 9ish wickedly torchy noir songwriter Julia Haltigan at 11th St Bar

9/20, 10:30 PM Manuel Valera & New Cubana Express at the Django, $25

9/21, 9 PM catchy, lyrically edgy, anthemic janglerock tunesmith Greta Keating at the small room at the Rockwood

9/21, 10:30/midnight  the great unsung NYC hero of darkly purposeful, noir-tinged jazz guitar, Saul Rubin leads his trio at Mezzrow $25

9/22, 7:15 PM timeless, haunting, playful octogenarian Armenian jazz sage and multi-reedman Souren Baronian‘s Taksim at Drom, $20 adv tix rec

9/22, 8:30 PM Pussy Riot at the Poisson Rouge, $25 adv tix rec. Probably more of a show for the bucket list and a good cause than actual musical enjoyment.

9/23, 5 PM the S.E.M. Ensemble stage a very rare performance of Petr Kotík’s epic six-hour 1978 Gertrude Stein-themed choral work Many Many Women to celebrate the composer’s 80th birthday. at Willow Place Auditorium, 26 Willow Place, Brooklyn Heights. 9/29 at 6 PM they’re staging it at Roulette, $20 gen adm. Come and go as you like!

9/23, 7:30/9 PM energetic, inventive, gospel-inspired jazz pianist Pete Malinverni leads his trio at Mezzrow, $25

9/23, 9 PM urban Americana vet Alex Battles at the small room at the Rockwood. Next door at the big room, Brandi & the Alexanders play oldschool-style soul ballads at 9:30 for $10 and downstairs crystalline-voiced noir Americana songwriter Jessie Kilguss  plays a rare show with a string section! at 8:30 for $10

9/24, 1:30 PM outdoor improvisation: Juan Pablo Carlett – drums / Rob Brown – alto sax followed at 2:30 by bassist Brandon Lopez, at 3:30 Patrick Holmes – clarinet / Sarah Sandaval – dance and at 4 brilliant saxophonist James Brandon Lewis‘ Trio at First Street Green Culture Park, 33 East 1st St

9/24, 6 PM lurid ghoulabilly band Lara Hope & the Ark-Tones at Otto’s

9/24, 8 PM slinky Rocky Mountain jamband legends Poi Dog Pondering at the Poisson Rouge, $18 adv tix rec

9/24, 8 PM Afghan rubab lute virtuoso Homayoun Sakhi with sitarist Josh Feinberg at Roulette, $30 adv tix rec

9/24, 9 PM badass Americana dobro player and singer Cristina Vane at Skinny Dennis, note that there is a $12 cover

9/25, 1 PM a retro latin music dance party with two of the city’s best: slinky, horn-driven retro bugalu band Spanglish Fly and oldschool salsa dura band Avenida B  at Park 52, (St. John/Leggett Aves) in the Bronx, 2/5 to Prospect Ave

9/25, 1:30 PM a great improvisational triplebill: Aakash Mittal – sax, clarinet / Jasmine Wilson – vocals, spoken word / Lesley Mok – percussion, drums; at 2:30 William Parker – gimbre, percussion, double reeds / Hamid Drake – frame & drumset, vocals and at 4 Alexis Marcelo – keyboards / Adam Lane – bass / Michael Wimberly – drums at First Street Green Culture Park, 33 East 1st St

9/25, 3 PM brilliant bassist Debby Schwartz‘s psychedelic band Psych-O-positive at Sunday Social, 17 Frost St off Lorimer in Williamsburg, L to Lorimer St

9/25, 4 PM irrepressibly lyrical multi-reedman Ned Rothenberg plays a rare solo show of original and traditional solo Japanese themes at the Noguchi Museum, 9-01 33rd Road, Long Island City, free w/museum adm, N/W to Broadway and about a 10 minute walk, free w/museum adm.

9/25. 9 PM Nashville female-fronted heavy blues power trio the Minks at Skinny Dennis, note the $5 cover

9/26, 7 PM noir guitar legend Jim Campilongo leads his trio at the big room at the Rockwood, $20

9/27, 6:30 PM guitarist Dustin Carlson and saxophonist Michael Attias improvise. followed at 7:30 by savagely incisive violinist Sana Nagano, guitarist Jonathan Goldberger and drummer Kevin Shea at Downtown Music Gallery

9/27, 8 PM intriguing free jazz saxophonist Zoh Amba plays the album release show for her new one with Marc Edwards, Matt Hollenberg, Micah Thomas, thomas Morgan at Roulette, $25 adv tix rec

9/28, noon eclectic jazz/tropical/psychedelic violinist Skye Steele at the pedestrian plaza at Willoughby and Pearl in downtown Brooklyn

9/28, 7 PM cutting-edge Indian music collective Brooklyn Raga Massive at Branded Saloon

9/28, 7:30 PM the best singing pianist (and the best piano-playing singer) in jazz, Champian Fulton at the Django, $25

9/28, 8 PM scorching jazz violinist Sana Nagano‘s Atomic Pigeons at Mama Tried

9/28, 8 PM hauntingly innovative cellist Erik Friedlander with Satoshi Takeishi, percussion and Mark Helias, bass at Zurcher Gallery, $20

9/29, 7 PM  fiery newschool honkytonk/janglerock bandleader Michaela Anne  at Union Pool, $20

9/30, starting at 6 PM a benefit for Ukraine at Otto’s, sug don. to benefit Razom For Ukraine. Artists on the bill include songwriter and visual artist Kassaye Selassie, Granite to Glass, Americana harmony duo Raising Daughters, the reliably ferocious Giftshop at 8, edgy powerpop songwriter Abbie Roper, country-folk two-piece Plane Station, sardonic powerpopstress Carissa Johnson and others

9/30, 8 PM snidely satirical new wave/80s rock spoofers Office Culture at C’Mon Everybody, $13

10/1, 1:30 PM an improvisational afternoon: the Devin Brahja Waldman Trio, 2:30 PM Triosphere with Reggie Nicholson – drums, percussion / Don Chapman – tenor sax / On Ka’a Davis – guitar and at 4 Nick Lyons – alto sax / Pete Swanson – bass / John Wagner – drums at the community garden at 129 Stanton St near Essex

10/2, 1:30 PM eclectic improvisation: Aquiles Navarro – trumpet / Tchesser Holmes – drums followed at 2:30 by Freedom First: Keith LaMar, Albert Marquès, William Parker, at 3:30 singer Lisa Sokolov and at 4 drummer Dan Kurfirst with his Trio at the community garden at 129 Stanton St near Essex

10/2, 1:30 PM catchy, slinky psychedelic funk/punk band Eliza & the Organix at the stage near 556 Atlantic Ave (3rd/4th Aves) at the Atlantic Antic street fair. 10/7, 7 PM they’re playing an acoustic set at Oliver’s Astoria, 3719 Broadway @ 38th St. in Astoria

10/3, 7:30 PM hilariously acerbic, perennially relevant purist rock/Americana songwriter Amy Rigby at City Winery

10/8, 1:30 PM a great free jazz lineup: Karen Borca – bassoon / Hilliard Greene – bass / Jackson Krall – drums, at 3:30 Djassi / Shayna Dulberger – bass and at 4 the guitar duo of Ava Mendoza & Mike Baggeetta at First Street Green Culture Park, 33 East 1st St

10/9, 2:30 PM 75 Dollar Bill’s Che Chen – percussion, homemade instruments / Daniel Carter – reeds, flute, trumpet / Chris Williams – trumpet, at 3:30 Raina Sokolov-Gonzalez voice with Mara Rosenbloom keyboard and at 4 PM Francisco Mora Catlett – drums / Sam Newsome – soprano sax & sonic diversity / Roman Diaz – percussion at First Street Green Culture Park, 33 East 1st St

10/10, 1:30 PM outdoor improvisation: Ayumi Ashito – sax / Daniel Carter – reeds / Demian Richardson – trumpet; 2:30 PM Darius Jones – alto sax / William Parker – bass / Scott Clark – drums and at 4 PM saxophonist Avram Fefer‘s Trio of Freedom at First Street Green Culture Park, 33 East 1st St

10/15, 3 PM  Burnt Sugar play lush Braxton-ish largescale improvisation, hard funk, James Brown and Bowie covers at 300 Ashland Pl. just down the block from BAM

10/16, 6 PM a fascinating Japanese-American instrumental ensemble: Lish Lindsey, ryuteki ; Thomas Piercy, clarinet/hichiriki; Masayo Ishigure, koto, Daniel Hass, cello, Tengku Irfan, piano play works by Masatora Goya, Seth Boustead; Gilbert Galindo and Beata Moon at Martha Graham Studio One, 55 Bethune St in the West Village, $25/$10 stud/srs

10/25 hilariously lyrical protest songwriter/pianist Dawn Oberg at Freddy’s

Live Music Calendar for New York City and Brooklyn For August 2022

All these concerts are free of restrictions on entry. Weekly events first followed by the daily calendar. If a venue is unfamiliar, look for it on the old guide to NYC music venues here, which is more of a worksheet now, but it has links to most of the places on this calendar.

Mondays at the Django 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.

Sundays at around 1 PM trumpeter Jon Kellso and (frequently) guitarist Matt Munisteri lead the Ear-Regulars in NYC’s only remaining hot jazz jam session at the Ear Inn

8/1, 7 PM loopy art-rock instrumentalists Thee Reps followed by uneasy female-fronted psychedelic abstract rock band Gold Dime at Mama Tried in Gowanus

8/1, 7:30 PM lyrical, cinematic pianist  Alan Broadbent leads a trio at Mezzrow, $25

8/1, 9 PM boisterously funny oldschool 60s C&W and brooding southwestern gothic with the Jack Grace Band at Skinny Dennis.

8/1, 10:30 PM expansive, expressive jazz pianist Miki Yamanaka at Smalls, $25. She’s back on 8/15

8/2, noon feral tenor saxophonist Eric Wyatt and band at Columbus Park, Cadman Plaza East and Johnson St. in downtown Brooklyn. He’s also at Smalls on 8/13 and 8/27 at 10:30 PM for $25

8/2, 7 PM clever, fiery, eclectic ten-piece Balkan/hip-hop/funk brass maniacs Slavic Soul Party  at Gantry State Park in Long Island City

8/2, 7:30 PM  lush, majestic string ensemble the East Coast Chamber Orchestra play works by Adolphus Hailstork, Maureen Nelson and Schubert’s String Quartet No. 14 in D minor, D 810, ‘Death and the Maiden’ at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park

8/2, 7:30 PM cellist Ismail Ali, tenor saxophonist Will Greene and drummer Raf Vertessen kick out the jams at Downtown Music Gallery

8/2, 7:30 PM powerhouse postbop saxophonist Mike DiRubbo’s quartet at Smalls, $25. 8/4 he’s at the Django at 7:30 followed by guitarist Mark Whitfield at 10:30 for the same price.

8/2, 8 PM Rocky Mountain jamband legends Leftover Salmon – still trippy after all these years – at City Winery, $30 adm avail

8/2, 8:30 PM intense janglerock/Americana/soul songwriter Matt Keating and guitarist Steve Mayone’s catchy project the Bastards of Fine Arts at 11th St. Bar

8/2, 9 PM  Veronica Davila’s twangy, Bakersfield-flavored hard honkytonk band Low Roller at Skinny Dennis

8/2, 10:30 PM  fiery electric Cuban hill country music with Los Hacheros at the Django, $25. They’re back here on the 23rd

8/3, 1 PM purist oldschool jazz guitarist Bill Wurtzel resumes his long-running stand at the American Folk Art Museum. He’s back on 8/17

8/3, 8 PM intense, charismatic oldschool soul belter Sami Stevens at the small room at the Rockwood. Downtown jazz guitar icon Elliott Sharp leads a trio at the downstairs room for $20 at 10:30 PM

8/3, 7:30 PM hard-hitting tenor saxophonist Troy Roberts leads a quartet at Smalls, $25

8/4, 5 PM thunderous all-female Brazilian drumline Fogo Azul at Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens

8/4, 7 PM darkly psychedelic Afrobeat groove group Budos Band at Corporal Thompson Park in Staten Island

8/4, 7 PM thoughtful, dynamic pianist Manuel Valera & New Cuban Express outdoors at Terraza 7, $15

8/4, 7:30 PM sizzling salsa dura band the Spanish Harlem Orchestra  on the plaza at Lincoln Center

8/4. 10:30 PM tuneful oldschool soul/jazz trombonist Dave Gibson leads a quartet at Smalls, $25. He leads a nonet on 8/20 at 10:30 PM at the Django, same deal

8/5, 3 PM a bunch of Red Baraat-adjacent artists and then the hypnotically explosive live bhangra dance band itself at Central Park Summerstage

8/5, 7:30 PM purist oldschool swing with the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra on the plaza at Lincoln Center

8/5, 10:30 PM purist oldschool tenor sax player Craig Handy leads New Orleans-flavored band at the Django, $25

8/5, midnight guitar-fueled purist groove/soul/psychedelic funk instrumentalists the Dark Sky Hustlers take a break from their Central Park busking at the small room at the Rockwood

8/6, 6 PM psychedelic tropicalia band the Meridian Brothers and psychedelic cumbia/reggaeton bandleader Ana Tijoux at Corporal Thompson Park in Staten Island

8/6, 7:30 PM powerhouse oldschool-style soul husband-wife team the War & Treaty at Damrosch Park

8/6, Unsteady Freddie‘s monthly surf rock extravaganza at Otto’s begins at 8 PM with the Reverb Kings, at 9:30 the darkly haphazard Monomatics and at 11 Link Wray cover band the Wraycyclers,

8/6, 9 PM  deviously entertaining hot 20s swing chanteuse Sweet Megg Farrell puts on her cowboy hat at Skinny Dennis

8/6, 10:30 PM purist postbop tenor saxophonist Stacy Dillard with his band at Smalls, $25. He’s back on 8/20

8/6, 11 PM sharply lyrical southwestern gothic/Americana songwriter Tom Shaner  at LIC Bar

8/7, 1 PM blazing all-female street band the Brass Queens at the Blue Note, $20

8/7, 3 PM Dominican stars in reverse order; bachatero El Rey Supremo” Luis Vargas / El Gran Alcover / and merengue group Max Banda at Rumsey Playfield south of the Summerstage shell in Central Park

8/7, 4 PM intense Balkan chanteuse Jenny Luna‘s haunting, traditional Turkish band Dolunay  at a house concert at 131 Buckingham Rd. (Albemarle/Church Ave) in Crown Heights, B/Q to Church Ave, sug don

8/7; 6:30 PM noir-inspired low-register reedman Ben Goldberg and tuneful, state-of-the-art postbop jazz guitarist Will Bernard play their “porch concert” set at Downtown Music Gallery

8/7, 7 PM brasy second-wave Ethio-jazz band Molly Tigre at Culture Lab

8/7, 7:30/9 PM purist vocal jazz stylist Melissa Stylianou leads an intimate trio at Mezzrow, $25

8/7, 8 PM dynamically shifting postrock band Hiroe at Lucky 13 Saloon, $12

8/7, 10 PM garage-punk band the Trash Bags at Our Wicked Lady, free

8/9, 7:30 PM art-rock singer and former October Project frontwoman Mary Fahl at City Winery, $22 adm avail

8/10, 7:30/9 PM ambitiously tuneful jazz pianist Steven Feifke leads a trio at Mezzrow, $25

8/11, 5 PM not music-related but important: a rally to fight Attorney General Letitia James’ appeal of Kathy Hochul’s overturned concentration camp order at the Harlem Summer Stage, 163 W 125th St at Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. sponsored by Teachers For Choice. If you miss this one, there’s another on 8/14, time/location tba

8/11, 6 PM psychedelic funk/Afrobeat jammers the People’s Champs  under the Dumbo archway, F to York St.

8/11, 7:30/9 PM cinematic Middle Eastern-inspired bass clarinetist Todd Marcus leads a quartet at Smalls, $25

8/11, 7 PM Video Music Box legend Ralph McDaniels hosts a mostly nostalgic hip-hop multiple-bill with Sweet Tee, Girl Codee, Black Sheep, Smif n Wessun, Special Ed at at the Coney Island Amphitheatre. free, get here early or else

8/11, 9 PM Afro-Cuban percussion legend Pedrito Martinez leads his rumbling, jazz-tinged salsa project at Drom $25 adv tix rec, $25 adv tix rec

8/12, 6 PM the Space Merchants – the missing link between the Stooges and X – at a house concert at 284 Stratford Rd at Slocum Pl in Ditmas Park, Q to Cortelyou Rd.

8/12, 7 PM ferocious, female-fronted Afrobeat band Underground System at Pier 45 in Hudson River Park – take W 10th St to the river

8/12, 7 PM Lucia Pulido leads a killer bolero band with Sebastian Cruz on guitar at Terraza 7, $15

8/12, 7:30 PM trombonist Conrad Herwig leads his latin-flavored Mingus project followed at 10:30 by trombonoist Mariel Bildstein leading her bandat the Django, $25

8/12, 8ish thrash metal band Lies Beneath, stormy cinematic black metal band Body & Blood and melodic underground metal legends Lost Legacy at Lucky 13 Saloon, $12

8/13, 1 PM a blues and blues-adjacent bill in reverse order: Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers, powerhouse guitarist Jackie Venson, elegant New Orleans legend Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Bette Smith and Don Bryant at Pier 76, 408 12th Ave north of 34th St.

8/13, 3 PM 90s hip-hop nostalgia with Ja Rule and the Lox at Roy Wilkins Park in Queens Merrick Boulevard and Baisley Boulevard

8/13, 7 PM psychedelic pan-latin jamband Festejation with Juancho Herrera on guitar at Culture Lab

8/13, 7:30 PM expressive carnatic singer Anirban Bhattacharya with Chandrachur Bhattacharya on sitar, Utpal Ghosal on tabla and Naba Kumar Pal on harmonium at the Chhandayan Center For Indian Music, $25

8/14, 1 PM soaringly explosive jazz composer/torch singer Nicole Zuraitis at the Blue Note, $20

8/14, 5 PM jazz pianist Hyuna Park leads her lyrical trio at Culture Lab

8/15-19, half past noon classical pianist Victor Lin at Bryant Park

8/16, noon  iconic latin percussionist Willie Martinez leads his classic salsa/mambo group at Columbus Park, Cadman Plaza East and Johnson St. in downtown Brooklyn

8/16 7 PM playful avant garde cancion singer Sofia Rei at Gantry State Park in Long Island City

8/16, 7:30 PM trumpeter Dave Scott with microtonal violin sorceress Sarah Bernstein, bassist Hillyard Greene and drummer Billy Mintz at Downtown Music Gallery

8/16-21, 8/10:30 PM bassist Avishai Cohen with pianist Elchin Shirinov & drummer Roni Kaspi at the Blue Note, $20 standing room avail

8/16, 8 PM  funk-jazz crew the Silver Arrow Band at Drom, free. They’re also here on 8/31

8/16, 8:30 PM resonator guitarist Jackson & the Janks play New Orleans rock with bass sax at 11th St Bar

8/17, 1 PM not a music event but important: Children’s Health Defense & CHD NY lead a rally in front of New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office at the State Office Building,, 163 W 125th St to let her and Governor Hochul know that New Yorkers say NO to the unconstitutional quarantine and isolation measures they are trying to get reinstated after they were overturned in court. The regulation allowed for a massive expansion of powers to force isolate and quarantine New Yorkers with no due process or evidence of illness. Even though Hochul lost in court, she is appealing the decision..

8/17, 7 PM Video Music Box’s Ralph McDaniels hosts a 90s dancehall reggae bill with Wayne Wonder and others at Central Park Summerstage

8/18, 8ish a surf rock triplebill at the Sovereign in reverse order: opaque, surrealistically creepy Russian stars Messer Chups, the darkly cinematic Wiped Out, the edgy, more lo-fi Jagaloons, $20

8/18, 9:30 PM wildly charismatic, menacing gutter blues band the Reid Paley Trio behind the “worn door” at the Main Drag Community Center at 50 S 1st St. in Williamsburg, about equidistant from the Bedford Ave. L and the J/M to Marcy

8/18, 10:30 PM serpentine, cinematic art-rock instrumentalists You Bred Raptors at the big room at the Rockwood, $10

8/19, 7 PM atmospheric jazz guitarist Rafiq Bhatia at Bryant Park

8/18-19, 7:30 PM the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra with Anna Fedorova on piano play works by Valentin Silvestrov, Beethoven, Chopin. Dvorak and Brahms at Damrosch Park

8/20, 4 PM punk/rockabilly band the Screaming Rebel Angels  followed by the NYC Ska Orchestra at Culture Lab

8/20, 4 PM  fiery, deviously fun oldtimey swing guitarist/crooner Seth Kessel & the Two Cent Band  at Skinny Dennis.

8/20, 7 PM haunting, lyrical, noir-tinged songwriter Nina Nastasia at Union Pool, $20

8/20, 8 ish Burnt Sugar celebrate 20+ years of lush Braxton-ish largescale improvisation, hard funk, James Brown and Bowie covers at Marcus Garvey Park

8/21, 5 PM carnivalesque Balkan punk monstrosity Funkrust Brass Band outdoors at Newkirk Ave & E 17th St in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Q to Newkirk Ave

8/21. 7:30/9 PM purist postbop tenor saxophonist Nicole Glover leads a chordless trio at Smalls, $25

8/22-26, half past noon eclectic jazz pianist Jon Weber at Bryant Park

8/22, 10 PM singer Kevin Harris with jazz organ paradigm-shifter Brian Charette at the Ear Inn

8/23, 7 PM trombonist Curtis Hasselbring’s playfully cinematic Curhestra at Mama Tried in Gowanus

8/23, 8 PM Americana banjo songwriter Hilary Hawke  at the small room at the Rockwood

8/23-28, 8/10:30 PM jazz piano legend Abdullah Ibrahim at the Blue Note, $30 standing room avail

8/24, noon purist jazz pianist Mala Waldron at Dante Park, Broadway betw 63/64

8/24, 7:30 PM rising star pianist Luther S. Allison leads his group at the Django, $25

8/24, 9 PM darkly cinematic chanteuse Alice Cohen at Union Pool, $16

8/26, 7 PM a “habibi festival” that transcends the style: North African dancer Esraa Warda & the Châab Lab, kanun virtuoso Firas Zreik, and haunting French-Tunisian saxophonist Yacine Boulares’ Ajoyo project at Bryant Park

8/26, 7 PM jaunty female-fronted original retro rocksteady band the Big Takeover at Pier 45 in Hudson River Park – take W 10th St to the river

8/26, 8 PM psychedelic funk instrumentalists the Zoo Berries at Culture Lab

8/26, 8 PM a third-wave ska nostalgia quadruplebill with soundtrack instrumentalist Jo Mercado, Beat Stu. the End Times and then ska trombone legend Buford O’Sullivan and the Roosters at Otto’s

8/27, 4 PM all-female salsa band Lulada Club at a house concert at 121 Marlborough Rd. (Albemarle/Church Ave), Crown Heights, Q to Church Ave

8/27, 4 PM ish socially conscious jazz chanteuse Nikara’s Black Wall Street project, bassist Buster Willliams and his band and trumpeter Terence Blanchard with the Turtle Island Quartet at Marcus Garvey Park

8/27, 7 PM oldschool soul grooves with Square Won at Culture Lab

8/27, 7:30 PM jazz organist Mike LeDonne with Vincent Herring on sax at the Django, $25

8/27, 10 PM sardonic all-female ghoulabilly/garage band the Black Widows at Otto’s

8/28. 1:30ish soul-folk songwriter Wyndham Baird, satirical tunesmith legend Erik Frandsen. Americana swing songwriter Katie Martucci and  eclectic pan-latin and Middle Eastern-inflected acoustic songwriter Miriam Elhajli at Washington Square Park /bio

8/28, 2 PM the Sun Ra Arkestra  make their yearly appearance at the free outdoor concert series at Union Pool

8/28, 3 PM purist jazz guitarist Pasquale Grasso, swing trumpeter/singer Bria Skonberg, intense tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana and Archie Shepp and Jason Moran with Cecile Mclorin Salvant at Tompkins Square Park

8/28 legendary, playful ex-Ellington Band trombonist Art Baron and his group at a house concert at 131 Buckingham Rd. (Albemarle/Church Ave), Crown Heights, Q to Church Ave

8/28, 4 PM darkly torchy southwestern gothic/Europolitan songwriter/guitarist Miwa Gemini, followed at 6 by exotic vibraphone-driven surf band the Vibro-jets at LIC Bar

8/28, 4 PM oldschool-style high plains C&W singer Hope Debates & North 40 at Skinny Dennis

8/28, 7 PM sizzling clarinetist Zisl Slepovitch leads his klezmer trio at the downstairs room at the Rockwood, $20

8/28. 8:30 PM a rare solo show by intense, wickedly tuneful jazz oudist/guitarist Gordon Grdina at Downtown Music Gallery

8/28, 10:30 PM charismatic, adventurous postbop/avant garde trombonist/crooner Frank Lacy leads a quartet at Smalls, $25

8/29-9/2, half past noon lyrical jazz pianist Frank Owens at Bryant Park

8/29, 7 PM noir guitar legend Jim Campilongo leads his trio at the big room at the Rockwood, $15

8/30, 6:30 PM guitarist Aron Namenwirth and keyboardist Eric Plaks improvise; guitarist Simon Hanes, cellist Aliya Ultan and drummer Kevin Murray do the same afterward at Downtown Music Gallery

8/31, 7:30 PM rising star jazz vibraphonist Sasha Berliner leads her group at the Django, $25

9/1-2, half past noon lyrical jazz pianist Frank Owens at Bryant Park

9/1, 6 PM Gaijin A Go Go – the satirical J-pop equivalent of Les Sans Culottes – under the Dumbo archway

9/1, 7 PM  psychedelic Afrobeat band Super Yamba and the rousingly soulful Harlem Gospel Travelers at Baby’s All Right, $15

9/1, 8 PM surfy psychedelic instrumentalists Daikaiju at the Sovereign, $20

9/1, 7:30 PM lyrical jazz pianist Henry Hey leads a trio at the Django, $25

9/1, 8:30ish artsy, brooding. 80s-tinged band the Dream Eaters at Mama Tried

9/1-4, 8/10:30 PM  reliably acerbic alto sax powerhouse Kenny Garrett leads his band at the Blue Note, $20 standing room avail

9/2, 4 PM singer Veronica Davila’s twangy, Bakersfield-flavored hard honkytonk band Low Roller at Skinny Dennis. They’re back here on 9/13 at 9

9/2, 7:30 PM purist postbop jazz guitarist Ed Cherry  leads a trio followed at 10 by  noir-inspired alto saxophonist/composer Nick Hempton with his quartet  at the Django, $25

9/2, 8 PM hilarious, lyrically devastating pianist and protest song maven Dawn Oberg at Freddy’s

9/2, 9 PM intense, rapturous Balkan/Middle Eastern ensemble the Secret Trio  at Drom, $15 adv tix rec

9/2, 10 PM the Hysterics play surf rock followed by the jangly Big Star-influenced Hasbros at Otto’s

9/3, 3 PM unstoppable 60s boogaloo and salsa icon Joe Bataan at Union Pool, free

9/3, 7ish Baby Copperhead – who do a good banjo driven take on the creepy psych-folk that O’Death was doing ten years ago – at Mama Tried

9/3, 7:30 PM “In North Indian classical violin Rupam Ghosh is the new millennium star” and he’s here with Utpal Ghosal on tabla at the Chhandayan Center For Indian Music, $25

9/3. 8 PM retro continental swing sounds with singer Tatiana Eva-Marie & the Avalon Jazz Band  at Drom, $20 adv tix rec

9/3, 9:30 PM ageless, jangly, purist NY surf rock originals the Supertones followed at 11 by kick-ass original third-wave surf group Tsunami of Sound  at Otto’s

9/3, 10:30  Danny Jonokuchi & The Revisionists play 1930s style swing jazz  at the Django, $25

9/3, 10:30 PM refreshingly unpredictable tenor saxophonist Eric Wyatt and band at Smalls.

9/3, 11 PM guitar-fueled purist groove/soul/psychedelic funk instrumentalists the Dark Sky Hustlers at the small room at the Rockwood

9/3, 11 PM sharply lyrical southwestern gothic/Americana songwriter Tom Shaner at LIC Bar

9/4, 7ish noir-inspired honkytonk crooner Sean Kershaw at Mama Tried. 9/19 at 8 he’s at Cowgirl Seahorse

9/4, 7:30 PM puckish avant-garde surrealists thingNY play their first live show since Dec 2019, featuring music by group members Gelsey Bell, Andrew Livingston, Paul Pinto, Isabel Castellvi, as well as composer Pamela Z; dadaesque multimedia from Nick Brooke/The Cabinet also on the bill at Coffey Street Studio, 153 Coffey St, Red Hook

9/4, 9 PM fiery, deviously fun oldtimey swing guitarist/crooner Seth Kessel at Skinny Dennis

9/5-9, half past noon purist jazz pianist Larry Ham at Bryant Park

9/5, 1:30 PM adventurous outdoor improvisation: Sam Newsome – soprano sax / Laura Cocks – flute / Daniel Carter – woodwinds followed by TA Thompson Sonic Matters: Ken Filiano – bass / Sara Schoenbeck – bassoon / TA Thompson – drums and at 4 by the Andrew Lamb Trio at the community garden at 129 Stanton St near Essex

9/5, 9 PM boisterously funny oldschool 60s C&W and brooding southwestern gothic with the Jack Grace Band at Skinny Dennis, 9/26, 10 PM he’s at the Ear Inn

9/6, 7 PM funk-jazz crew the Silver Arrow Band at Drom, free. They’re also here on 9/20

9/7, 10:30 PM tuneful, refreshingly edgy pianist Rachel Z leads a quartet at the Django, $25

9/8, 7 PM stadium metal band Intranced, retro 80s British metal band Seven Sisters and excellent, tuneful post-Maiden band Haunt at the Sovereign, $20

9/8, 7 PM counterintuitive, erudite trombonist  John Yao and his chordless quartet at Culture Lab in Long Island City

9/8, 7 PM two very different, very distinctive jazz pianists: Aaron Diehl and Orrin Evans at Bryant Park

9/8, 8:30 PM Dark Streets play Celtic classics by the Pogues, Flogging Molly, the Dubliners and others at 11th St Bar. 9/29 at 7 they’re at Mama Tried

9/8, 10:30 PM PM  tuneful oldschool soul/jazz trombonist Dave Gibson  leads his quartet at Smalls. 9/15, 7:30 they’re at the Django, $25 and back at Smalls on 9/22

9/9, 7 PM technically dazzling trumpeter Summer Camargo leads a sextet at Bryant Park

9/9, 8:30 PM heavy blues stoner instrumental jamband Earthless at the Market Hotel, $25

9/9, 10 PM guitarslinger Phil Gammage plays his dark Americana and blues at Shrine. 9/26, 8 PM he’s at Cowgirl Seahorse

9/10, 10 AM-8 PM out of town but a fun lineup: the family-friendly Festival in a Field with bands including Americana soul jamband the Mammals, multi-instrumentalist Bibi Farber’s Action Figures 432, kirtan-rock jammers Samkirtan Band, the Red Threat, Journey Blue Heaven, Americana guitar picker Jude Roberts, mesmerizing gong soundsculptor Kevin Nathaniel. Plus some of the stars of the NY freedom movement: riveting singer/investigative journalist/satirist Tessa Lena, CHD general counsel and tv host Mary Holland, hero attorney Bobbie Ann Cox who just defeated the New York State regulation allowing to force-isolate people in quarantine camps (the power maniacs have since appealed), John Gilmore of CHD New York and Autism Action Network, Planet Waves’ investigative reporter Eric Francis Coppolino, Dr, Tom Cowan, and others. Plus a haybale maze for the kids, local homemade food and crafts at 55 Wenzels Lane in Hudson, NY, $25

9/10, 1:30 PM an auspicious improvisational bill: Fay Victor – voice, composition / Liany Mateo – bass / Lesley Mok – drums followed at 2:30 by Melanie Dyer – viola / Mara Rosenbloom – keyboard / Kyoko Kitamurra – voice, at 3 by Miriam Parker – dance / Luke Stewart – bass and at 4 by Mara Rosenbloom – piano / Anais Maviel – voice, percussion / Sean Conly – bass at First Street Green Culture Park, 33 East 1st St

9/10, 4 PM Sarah Durning & the Fun Sisters play twangy oldschool-style original honkytonk at Skinny Dennis

9/10. 5 PM Toronto band Beams – who are all over the place, from dreampop to new wave to edgier Paula Carino-style lyrical janglerock – at Culture Lab in Long Island City

9/10. 7:30 PM jazz organist Mike LeDonn leads a trio followed at 10:30 PM by intense, lyrical, politically fearless tenor saxophonist Roxy Coss and her quintet at the Django, $25

9/10, 8 PM largescale Moroccan, Indian and American jazz improvisation: Gift of Gnawa play a Don Cherry tribute; Brooklyn Raga Massive – a rotating cast of A-list Indian, jazz and rock musicians who love to jam out classic Indian themes – and drummer Adam Rudolph’s strikingly tuneful, rumblingly improvisational Go Organic Orchestra  with special guests Hassan Hakmoun and Dave Liebman at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park south of the east side 72nd St. entrance

9/11, 1:30 PM free outdoor improvisation with the politically fearless Irreversible Entanglements Quartet: Keir Neuringer – alto sax / Luke Stewart – bass / Aquiles Navarro – trumpet / Tcheser Holmes – drums followed at 2:30 PM by the Jason Kao Hwang violin jazz Trio, at 3:30 by Ellen Christi – voice / William Parker – strings / Jackson Krall – water phone, drums and 4:30 by Dave Sewelson – baritone sax / Bobby Kapp – drums / William Parker – bass at First Street Green Culture Park, 33 East 1st St

9/11, 7 PM eclectic cosmopolitan jazz singer Sivan Arbel with her band at Culture Lab in Long Island City

9/11, 7:30/9 PM erudite, deviously entertaining bassist Martin Wind leads his trio at Smalls, $25

9/11, 7:30/9 PM soulful pan-Latin jazz chanteuse Claudia Acuña with Pablo Vergara on piano and Carlos Henderson on bass at Mezzrow, $25

9/11, 7:30 PM New Orleans marches and funky struts with Tuba Skinny at City Winery, $22 adm avail

9/12-16. half past noon purist jazz pianist Yuka Aikawa at Bryant Park

9/12, 10:30 PM expansive postbop pianist Miki Yamanaka at Smalls She’s back here on 9/19

9/13-18. 8/10:30 PM everybody’s favorite jazz bassist, Christian McBride with an interesting up-and-coming band: Nicole Glover, Ely Perlman, Mike King, Savannah Harris at the Blue Note, $30 standing room avail

9/13, 10:30 PM   fiery electric Cuban hill country music with Los Hacheros at the Django, $25

9/14, 10:30 PM lyrical, thoughtful tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander leads his quartet at the Django, $25

9/15, 7 PM iconic Afro-Cuban percussionist/bandleader Pedrito Martine plays his bday show at Drom, $20 adv tix rec

9/15,, 7:30 PM night one of this year’s Momenta Festival with the reliably adventurous Momenta Quartet opens with Elizabeth Brown: Just Visible in the Distance (2013); Valentin Silvestrov: String Quartet no. 3 (2011)’ Shawn Jaeger: Thy Wondering Eyes (2010) at Broadway Presbyterian Church (601 W 114th St. free

9/16, 7 PM the annual accordion festival returns:  the lustrously uneasy Ukrainian Village Voices, Balkan band Balaklava Blues – a Lemon Bucket Orkestra spinoff – and Heart of Afghanistan, with Afghani TV star Ahmad Fanoos on vocals and harmonium, his sons Elham Fanoos on piano and Mehran Fanoos on violin, and Hamid Habibzada on tablā. and others at Bryant Park

9/16,, 7:30 PM night two of this year’s Momenta Festival with the reliably adventurous Momenta Quartet continues with Carlos Chávez: Invention II (1965) for String Trio; José Pablo Moncayo: Viola Sonata (1934); Julián Carrillo: String Quartet No. 1 (1903) at Broadway Presbyterian Church (601 W 114th St. free

9/16, 7:30 PM wickedly sharp, politically fearless, funny psychedelic soul with Fantastic Negrito  at the Poisson Rouge, $30 adv tix rec

9/17, 1:30 PM reliably good free jazz veterans: Steve Swell – trombone / Kirk Knuffke – cornet / TA Thompson – drums, at 2:30 trumpeter Jaimie Branch’s group, at 3:30 the Larry Roland Urban Project: Larry Roland- poetry, bass / Kiyoko Layne – keyboard / Waldron Ricks – trumpet / TA Thompson – drums and Whit Dickey – drums / Rob Brown – alto sax at the community garden at 129 Stanton St near Essex

9/17, 4 PM energetic delta blues/Romany swing guitaris Felix Slim at Skinny Dennis. Sizzling electric bluegrass and C&W outfit Demolition String Band play after at 9.

9/17, 7 PM the American Symphony Orchestra play music by William Grant Still, Mahler and Louise Talma at Bryant Park

9/17, 7:30 PM night three of this year’s Momenta Festival with the reliably adventurous Momenta Quartet continues with Hirofumi Mogi: In Memory of Perky Pat (2021) for string quartet and horn; Brahms: Trio for Violin, Horn, and Piano in E-flat Major, Op. 40 (1865); Grażyna Bacewicz: Piano Quintet No. 2 (1965) at Broadway Presbyterian Church (601 W 114th St. free

9/18, 1:30 PM an eclectic improvisional afternoon: Chris Williams – trumpet / Luke Stewart – bass / Cinque Kemp – drums; at 2:30 Daro Behroozi – flutes, woodwinds, percussion / Éléonore Weill – flutes, voice / Martin Shamoonpour – flutes, percussion and at 4 the powerful Sarah Manning – alto sax / Jair-Rohm Wells – bass / William Hooker – drums at the community garden at 129 Stanton St near Essex

9/18, 7:30 PM closing night of this year’s Momenta Festival with the reliably adventurous Momenta Quartet includes Julián Carrillo: String Quartet No. 11 (1962); Mario Davidovsky: Synchronisms No. 9 (1988) for violin and electronics; Glaser: String Quartet No. 5, in memoriam Mario Davidovsky (2022) and Beethoven: String Quartet No. 11 at Broadway Presbyterian Church (601 W 114th St. free

9/20, 7:30/9 PM adrenalizing postbop vibraphonist Mark Sherman leads a quartet at Smalls, $25

9/20, 8ish powerpop en Espanol band Estos Gritos followed by edgy King Crimson-influenced Woodhead at Mama Tried

9/20-25, 8/10:30 PM darkly lyrical, phantasmagorical jazz vocal sage Cecile McLorin Salvant at the Blue Note, , $30 standing room avail

9/20, 9ish wickedly torchy noir songwriter Julia Haltigan at 11th St Bar

9/20, 10:30 PM Manuel Valera & New Cubana Express at the Django, $25

9/21, 9 PM catchy, lyrically edgy, anthemic janglerock tunesmith Greta Keating at the small room at the Rockwood

9/21, 10:30/midnight  the great unsung NYC hero of darkly purposeful, noir-tinged jazz guitar, Saul Rubin leads his trio at Mezzrow $25

9/22, 7:15 PM timeless, haunting, playful octogenarian Armenian jazz sage and multi-reedman Souren Baronian‘s Taksim at Drom, $20 adv tix rec

9/22, 8:30 PM Pussy Riot at the Poisson Rouge, $25 adv tix rec. Probably more of a show for the bucket list and a good cause than actual musical enjoyment.

9/23, 7:30/9 PM energetic, inventive, gospel-inspired jazz pianist Pete Malinverni leads his trio at Mezzrow, $25

9/23, 9 PM urban Americana vet Alex Battles at the small room at the Rockwood. Next door at the big room, Brandi & the Alexanders play oldschool-style soul ballads at 9:30 for $10 and downstairs crystalline-voiced noir Americana songwriter Jessie Kilguss  plays a rare show with a string section! at 8:30 for $10

9/24, 1:30 PM outdoor improvisation: Juan Pablo Carlett – drums / Rob Brown – alto sax followed at 2:30 by bassist Brandon Lopez, at 3:30 Patrick Holmes – clarinet / Sarah Sandaval – dance and at 4 brilliant saxophonist James Brandon Lewis‘ Trio at First Street Green Culture Park, 33 East 1st St

9/24, 8 PM slinky Rocky Mountain jamband legends Poi Dog Pondering at the Poisson Rouge, $18 adv tix rec

9/24, 9 PM badass Americana dobro player and singer Cristina Vane at Skinny Dennis, note that there is a $12 cover

9/25, 1:30 PM a great improvisational triplebill: Aakash Mittal – sax, clarinet / Jasmine Wilson – vocals, spoken word / Lesley Mok – percussion, drums; at 2:30 William Parker – gimbre, percussion, double reeds / Hamid Drake – frame & drumset, vocals and at 4 Alexis Marcelo – keyboards / Adam Lane – bass / Michael Wimberly – drums at First Street Green Culture Park, 33 East 1st St

9/25. 9 PM Nashville female-fronted heavy blues power trio the Minks at Skinny Dennis, note the $5 cover

9/26, 7 PM noir guitar legend Jim Campilongo leads his trio at the big room at the Rockwood, $20

9/28, 7:30 PM the best singing pianist (and the best piano-playing singer) in jazz, Champian Fulton at the Django, $25

9/28, 8 PM scorching jazz violinist Sana Nagano‘s Atomic Pigeons at Mama Tried

9/29, 7 PM  fiery newschool honkytonk/janglerock bandleader Michaela Anne  at Union Pool, $20

10/1, 1:30 PM an improvisational afternoon: the Devin Brahja Waldman Trio, 2:30 PM Triosphere with Reggie Nicholson – drums, percussion / Don Chapman – tenor sax / On Ka’a Davis – guitar and at 4 Nick Lyons – alto sax / Pete Swanson – bass / John Wagner – drums at the community garden at 129 Stanton St near Essex

10/2, 1:30 PM eclectic improvisation: Aquiles Navarro – trumpet / Tchesser Holmes – drums followed at 2:30 by Freedom First: Keith LaMar, Albert Marquès, William Parker, at 3:30 singer Lisa Sokolov and at 4 drummer Dan Kurfirst with his Trio at the community garden at 129 Stanton St near Essex

10/8, 1:30 PM a great free jazz lineup: Karen Borca – bassoon / Hilliard Greene – bass / Jackson Krall – drums, at 3:30 Djassi / Shayna Dulberger – bass and at 4 the guitar duo of Ava Mendoza & Mike Baggeetta at First Street Green Culture Park, 33 East 1st St

10/9, 2:30 PM 75 Dollar Bill’s Che Chen – percussion, homemade instruments / Daniel Carter – reeds, flute, trumpet / Chris Williams – trumpet, at 3:30 Raina Sokolov-Gonzalez voice with Mara Rosenbloom keyboard and at 4 PM Francisco Mora Catlett – drums / Sam Newsome – soprano sax & sonic diversity / Roman Diaz – percussion at First Street Green Culture Park, 33 East 1st St

10/10, 1:30 PM outdoor improvisation: Ayumi Ashito – sax / Daniel Carter – reeds / Demian Richardson – trumpet; 2:30 PM Darius Jones – alto sax / William Parker – bass / Scott Clark – drums and at 4 PM saxophonist Avram Fefer‘s Trio of Freedom at First Street Green Culture Park, 33 East 1st St

Playful and Pensively Picturesque Themes with the Knights at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park

Last night at the Naumburg Bandshell was the second performance of the summer by irrepressible, shapeshifting orchestra the Knights. It wasn’t as deviously thematic as their first night here last month, where they paired Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata with Janacek’s String Quartet No. 1, “Kreutzer Sonata.” In a more general sense, yesterday evening’s theme was pastiches, both musical and visual.

The group opened with the world premiere of a collaboration between several of their members, Keeping On, whose genesis dates back a few years to when they were messing around with a famous Beethoven riff during practice.

Fast forward to the 2020 lockdown: conductor Colin Jacobsen pondered what John Adams might have done with it, then emailed his sketch to members of the orchestra – which disgraced Governor Andrew Cuomo had infamously put on ice – and asked for their contributions. Several sent theirs back; horn player Mike Atkinson wove them together into a contiguous whole. The famous, fateful riff eventually revealed itself midway through; otherwise, it was a characteristically entertaining little work, from its insistent, minimalist intro to a series of briskly crescendoing phrases making their way around the orchestra, Carl Nielsen style, then bells from the percussion section and hip-hop-influenced vocal harmonies from violinist Christina Courtin and flutist Alex Sopp! An insider orchestral joke that translates to general audiences, who would have thought?

Violin soloist Lara St. John then joined them for the New York premiere of Avner Dorman‘s Violin Concerto No. 2, Nigunim, based on a series of traditional Jewish melodies. The opening Adagio Religioso rose from a hazy theme in the hauntingly chromatic freygische mode to a brief, somber stateliness, then St. John immediately slashed her way through her first cadenza. The pregnant pause afterward was a striking setup for the otherworldly drift and then the undulatingly acidic dance afterward, St. John’s razorwire waltz sailing overhead.

Her fleeting, ghostly incisions flitted over a mist as the second movement got underway, the orchestra almost imperceptibly returning to the astringency and chromatic bite of the previous interlude. Their leap into a suspensefully pulsing klezmer dance was irresistibly fun; St. John led the procession back to disquieting close harmonies and strangely celestial harmonics radiating throughout the string section, up to a jaunty coda.

She and a handful of the string players then surprised the crowd by literally dancing through a lightning-fast, wryly harmonically-infused jam on a traditional klezmer dance.

After the intermission, they concluded with an insightfully picturesque take of Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony. A Bach-like somberness pervaded the anthemic, initial andante movement, underscoring how much that rugged coastline had impacted a 20-year-old urban Jewish classical rockstar. The brief, massed stilletto passages from the brass were all the more impressive considering that this was an outdoor show, although by half past eight the temperature had dropped to a perfect mid-seventies calm.

The luscious textural contrast between the midrange brass and strings fell away for a ragged run through the goofy country dance that introduced movement two: a moment of sarcasm, maybe? Whatever the case, it worked with the crowd.

The somber lushness of the adagio third movement was inescapable: it’s one thing to credit the young composer for his balance of brass, winds and strings throughout moody and occasionally portentous, martial themes, but the orchestra nailed them, one by one. The succession of Mozartean motives and punchy Germanic phrases on the way out – and deftly executed melismas from the strings – wound it up with a characteristic ebullience.

The final Naumburg Bandshell concert in Central Park this summer is on August 2 at 7:30 PM with self-conducted string ensemble the East Coast Chamber Orchestra playing works by Adolphus Hailstork, Peruvian themes arranged by Maureen Nelson and the group’s arrangement of Schubert’s String Quartet No. 14 in D minor, “Death and the Maiden.” Take the 72nd St. entrance; get there an hour early, at least, if you want a seat.

A Far Cry Bring Their String-Driven Elegance Back to Central Park Under Friendlier Skies

A little over a year ago, A Far Cry played the first Naumburg Concert since 2019, to relaunch the annual series of Central Park performances which had run uninterrupted for 114 years until the 2020 lockdown. This blog joked at the time that the chamber orchestra stormed back into action – something of an understatement. In a decade of covering concerts in all sorts of thunderous and near-thunderous conditions, that was, shall we say, the most immersive of them all. After awhile, the hundred or so of us who stuck around for the whole thing would break out laughing when yet another thunderclap exploded overhead, and what felt like a bucket of summer rain would be dumped on us.

Tuesday night, the group picked up where they left off under similarly ominous skies with an alternately lilting and lulling series of imaginatively voiced string orchestra arrangements of Bartok’s Lullabies For Children. The ensemble had the most fun with the bouncy, minor-key Hungarian folk-flavored numbers, ornamenting them with plucky pizzicato and acerbic accidentals. Interspersed among them were traditional tunes from the Canary Islands and Japan arranged by A Far Cry violinist Alex Fortes, along with a cantabile miniature by Emily Irons

Next up was Franghiz Ali-Zadeh‘s Shyshtar: Metamorphoses for String Orchestra, in an arrangement expanded beyond the original version for twelve cellos. Tectonically shifting, persistent unease drifted through an allusive chromaticism reflective of the composer’s Azeri heritage. A strutting Bartokian edge gave way to hazy suspense that grew more surrealistically foreboding with a series of gentle downward glissandos. They took it out by digging in for a buoyantly wary march. Maybe it wasn’t the optimal segue, but what a gorgeously bracing piece of music!

Fortes also contributed a new arrangement of the famously mystical, hymnal third movement from Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 16 in F Major, Op. 135, which the group approached steadily, soberly, and a little on the fast side. With its lushness and sweep, it left the crowd breathless. Fortes has arranged the whole quartet; hopefully we’ll get to hear all of it someday.

By the time the intermission was over, the skies had cleared for a similarly sweeping take of Dvořák’s Serenade for Strings. There seemed to be extra deliciousness from the low strings in the cheerful sway of the first movement; likewise, the waltzing second movement was steely and robust, the third especially vivace, yet with an uneasy undercurrent. The group resisted any temptation to simply roll with the lullaby quality of the fourth movement, opting for symphonic grandeur, then dancing through the conclusion. The final piece on the bill was Castles, a baroque-tinged piece with a carefree chorale by one of the ensemble’s own, bassist Karl Doty.

This year’s series of Naumburg Bandshell concerts continues on July 26 at 7:30 PM with perennial favorites the Knights and colorful violinist Lara St. John playing Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony plus works by Avner Dorman. Enter at 72nd St.; get there early (like, an hour, at least) if you want a seat.

A Haunting, Picturesque Portrait of an Iconic Black Sea Port by Ukrainian Pianist Vadim Neselovskyi

Over the past ten years, Ukrainian pianist Vadim Neselovskyi has built a career out of writing brooding, evocative songs without words that draw equally on jazz, the High Romantic classical tradition and 21st century composition. He takes the inspiration for his new solo album Odesa: A Musical Walk Through a Legendary City – streaming at Bandcamp – from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. It’s a colorful, picturesque, and aptly stormy portrait of the pianist’s home turf.

He opens his salute to the city’s railway station with a turbulent, stygian lefthand, rising to a bouncing but emphatic drive with hints of Tschaikovsky and a bustling minor-key folk dance. As the train moves out of the city, the ride calms and the tormented mood lifts on the wings of Neselovskyi’s righthand accents. Ultimately, the message is hopeful: you can’t keep this train off the rails for long.

Winter in Odesa is a steady, icy stroll, Neselovskyi’s glistening melody rising and falling canonically. Potemkin Stairs, inspired by the famous city landmark, has a thorny, intricate, frequently crosshanded melody, its rippling variations echoing late 70s art-rock as well as Herbie Hancock’s Rockit. Neselovskyi fires off lightning upper-register clusters over a strutting lefthand in Acacia Trees, drawing on a famous movie theme by Odessan composer Isaac Dunaevsky.

There’s similarly rapidfire articulacy but also lingering disquiet in Waltz of Odesa Conservatory, a shout-out to Neselovskyi’s teenage alma mater. October 1941 is an outright chilling tableau that commemorates the massacre of Jews there at the hands of the Nazis: machine gun fire. civilians falling left and right and after a pregnant pause, a stunned wisp of what could be a playground song. It’s one of the most harrowing pieces of music released in recent months.

He lifts the mood with Jewish Dance, a diptych with a bright, allusively chromatic intro that grows more glittery, percussive and North African-flavored. It brings to mind the work of Lebanese composer Tarek Yamani.

My First Rock Concert is Neselovskyi’s playfully contrapuntal, incisively kinetic tribute to defiant Russian rock songwriter Victor Tsoy and his new wave hit Blood Type (and also Jimi Hendrix, maybe).

As he winds up the album, Neselovskyi references Mussorgsky with a couple of brief, grimly bounding interludes, the second to introduce the final cut, The Renaissance of Odesa, a pensive, muted pavane that offers (very, very) guarded hope for the future once the twin nightmare of the Putin invasion and the Zelensky dystopia is over.

Neselovskyi starts a European tour at the end of the month. Those interested in how he plays similarly moody but more postbop-influenced material can catch him as part of drummer Christian Finger‘s trio tomorrow, July 3 at the Blue Note with sets at half past noon and 2:30 PM; cover is $15.

Live Music Calendar for New York City and Brooklyn For July and August 2022

All these concerts are free of restrictions. Lots of listings being added, almost daily, like the good old days before March 2020!

Weekly events first followed by the daily calendar.

Sundays at around 1 PM trumpeter Jon Kellso and (frequently) guitarist Matt Munisteri lead the Ear-Regulars in NYC’s only remaining hot jazz jam session at the Ear Inn

7/13, 7/20 and 7/27, 7 PM the Attacca Quartet play music by 21sst century composers at Madison Square Park

7/1, 7 PM sizzling, politically fearless latin jazz pianist/composer Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra at Bryant Park

7/1, 7:30 PM purist postbop jazz guitarist Ed Cherry leads a two-guitar quartet with fellow axeman Mike Moreno at the Django, $25

7/1-2, 7:30/9 PM saxophonist John Ellis – as adept at postbop jazz as he is with haunting, theatrical noir art-song – leads a quartet at Smalls, $25. 7/2  feral tenor saxophonist Eric Wyatt and band follow at 10:30 and returns on 7/9, same time

7/2, 4 PM oldschool-style high plains C&W singer Hope Debates & North 40 at Skinny Dennis

7/2, 7:30 PM  tuneful oldschool soul/jazz trombonist Dave Gibson at the Django, $25

7/2, 8 PM the monthly surf rock show has resumed with the eclectic Weisstronauts, surfed-out tv themes from Commercial Interruption sand the majestic, darkly cinematic TarantinosNYC. at Otto’s

7/3, half past noon/2:30 PM drummer Christian Finger leads his moody European jazz trio with the haunting Vadim Neselovskyi on piano at the Blue Note, $15

7/3, 3 PM ish the ageless godfather of boogaloo, Joe Bataan in the courtyard at Union Pool, free

7/3, 5:30 PM art-rock chanteuse Andromeda Anarchia followed by Queens of the Stone Age soundalikes the Velvicks – at Culture Lab in Long Island City

7/3, 7:30/9 PM baritone saxophonist Frank Basile leads a two-baritone quintet with Gary Smulyan at Smalls, $25

7/3, 9 PM first-class bluegrass bandleader/bassist Allison Kelly at Skinny Dennis

7/4, 9 PM one of the alltime most thrilling guitarists in Americana, Rosie Flores at Skinny Dennis. Note that there is a $5 cover

7/4, 10:30 PM  expansive, expressive jazz pianist Miki Yamanaka at Smalls, $25. She’s back on 7/11

7/5, 6:30 PM Cuban saxophonist Hery Paz improvises with trumpeter Nate Wooley and drummer Tom Rainey followed at 7:30 by bassist Henry Fraser and violinist Cleek Schrey at Downtown Music Gallery

7/5, 10:30 PM  fiery electric Cuban hill country music with Los Hacheros at the Django, $25

7/7, 6 PM Brain Cloud western swing mastermind and multi-instrumentalist Dennis Lichtman and band under the Dumbo archway, F to York St

7/7, 7 PM pensive, eclectic, tuneful jazz/art-rock songwriter Becca Stevens with intense, rapturous Balkan/Middle Eastern ensemble the Secret Trio at the big room at the Rockwood, $20. It’s a good night there. She’s followed at 8:30 by steamboat soul crooner/pianist Nat Osborn. Downstairs irrepressibly sardonic janglerock/folk-punk songwriter, New Yorker illustrator and White Hassle alum Marcellus Hall plays at 7 for $10

7/7, 7:30/9 PM trombonist Alan Ferber leads his immersively innovative, sometimes symphonic nonet at Smalls, $25

7/8, 7 PM  brilliant, fearlessly political B3 organist Greg Lewis in the park on the Hudson at 125th St.

7/8, 7:30 PM the NYChillharmonic – who play lushly intricate art-rock with big band jazz orchestration – at Culture Lab in Long Island City

7/8, 7:30 PM catchy oldschool roots reggae with a fearlessly populist Senegalese feel from Meta & the Cornerstones at the Poisson Rouge, $20 adv tix rec

7/8, 10:30 PM an absurdly cheap triplebill of latin artists from Canada and Chile: Mexican folk guitarist Quique Escamilla, psychedelic latin rockers Battle of Santiago – the missing link between Willie Colon and Pink Floyd – and cumbia songwriter Ramon Chiccarron at Drom, $10

7/10, 5 PM Red Baraat trumpeter Sonny Singh plays funky bhangra psychedelia at Culture Lab in Long Island City

7/10, 7 PM jaunty female-fronted original retro rocksteady band the Big Takeover at Pier 1 at 70th St. and the Hudson

7/8, 7 PM every kind of swing jazz you could imagine with the Baylor Project at Bryant Park

7/10, 7 PM oldschool salsa triplebill: Lower East Salsa, Domingo Quinones and Puerto Rican Power at the Coney Island Amphitheatre. free

7/11-14, half past noon eclectic, often haunting Armenian jazz pianist Armen Donelian at Bryant Park

7/11, 8:30 PM satirical smooth-soul crooner Smoota and the Beast with Yusuke Yamamoto on synth, Ricky Quiñones on guitar, Tim Allen on bass and special guests Ryan Sawyer on drums and Moist Paula Henderson on bari sax at Bacaro (136 Division St.) just north of the East Broadway F station in Chinatown, free

7/12, 6:30 PM tuneful, state-of-the-art postbop jazz guitarist Will Bernard in a rare solo show at Downtown Music Gallery

7/12. 7 PM blazing all-female street band the Brass Queens at Gantry State Park in Long Island City. They’re at Radegast Hall on 7/30 at 1 PM

7/12, 7:30 PM  A Far Cry  play an innovative program of string arrangements of Bartok miniatures plus works by Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, Dvorak, Beethoven and Karl Doty at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park

7/12, 7:30 PM  kinetic Cuban jazz pianist Elio Villafranca at the Django, $25

7/12, 7:30/9 PM charismatic, adventurous postbop/avant garde trombonist/crooner Frank Lacy leads a quartet at Smalls, $25 cash at the door.

7/12-17, 8/10:30 PM constantly shapeshifting hip-hop icon Talib Kweli & the Whiskey Boys at the Blue Note, $30 standing room avail

7/12. 9 PM noir Americana siren Eilen Jewell sings Loretta Lynn at Skinny Dennis, there is a cover charge $tba

7/13, noon  trumpeter Wayne Tucker – who veers between sunny postbop jazz, Afrobeat and goofy vocal shtick – at the pedestrian plaza at Willoughby and Pearl in downtown Brooklyn

7/13, 7:30 PM purist postbop tenor saxophonist Stacy Dillard with his band at the Django, $25, He’s also at Smalls on 7/16 and 7/23 at 10:30

7/14, noon thunderous all-female Colombian coastal trance-dance ensemble La Manga at the pedestrian plaza at Willoughby and Pearl in downtown Brooklyn

7/14, 7:30 PM imaginative indie classical choir Roomful of Teeth followed by a live interview with avant garde legends the Kronos Quartet at Prospect Park Bandshell

7/15, 7 PM the oldtimey band that started the whole revival back in the 90s, the Squirrel Nut Zippers at Bryant Park

7/15 7 PM psychedelic Afrobeat jammers the Brighton Beat at Culture Lab in Long Island City

7/15, 7 PM powerful, lyrical classical piainist Mimoza Keka plays works by contemporary Macedonian composers Tomislav Zografski and Dimitrije Buzarovski .at Gallery MC

7/15, 7:30 PM lyrical pianist Rich Germanson leads a quartet at the Django, $25. Followd at 10:30 by New Orleans reedman Craig Handy & Second Line Smith

7/16, 5 PM slinky new wave bassist/bandleader Yula Beeri at Culture Lab in Long Island City

7/16, 7:30 PM innovative, captivating carnatic singer Emmanuelle Martin with violinist Siddharth Ashokkumar and mridangam player Bala Skandan at the Chhandayan Center For Indian Music, $25

7/16, 8:30 PM slinky soul-influenced psychedelic band Chicano Batman at Prospect Park Bandshell

7/16, 9 PM haunting, reverb guitar-driven noir cinematic instrumentalists Big Lazy at Room 31 at the Arlo Nomad hotel, 11 E 31st St, $15

7/17, 7 PM smoldering female-fronted Colombian psychedelic band Yotoco at Culture Lab in Long Island City

7/17, 7 PM  Danny Jonokuchi & The Revisionists play 1930s style swing jazz at Pier 1 at 70th St. and the Hudson

7/18-22, half past noon lyrical jazz pianist Deanna Witkowski plays solo at Bryant Park

7/19, 7 PM  mighty, sweeping ensemble Mariachi Real de Mexico at Gantry State Park in Long Island City

7/19, 7:30 PM high-voltage Ukrainian folk ensemble Cheres play a benefit for the citizens of Ukraine, proceeds to Razom for Ukraine at the Cutting Room, $20 adv tix rec

7/19, 7:30 PM lyrical, thoughtful tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander leads a quintet at Smalls, $25 cash at the door.

7/19, 8:30 PM wickedly jangly surf/twang/country instrumentalists the Bakersfield Breakers at 11th St Bar

7/20, noon saxophonist John Ellis – as adept at postbop jazz as he is with haunting, theatrical noir art-song – at the pedestrian plaza at Willoughby and Pearl in downtown Brooklyn

7/20, 7:30 PM the best singing pianist (and the best piano-playing singer) in jazz, Champian Fulton at the Django, $25

7/20, 8 PM wild Danish klezmer band Mames Babagenush at Drom $20 adv tix rec

7/20, 9ish organ groovemeister Cory Henry at Central Park Summerstage

7/21, half past noon sizzling, politically fearless latin jazz pianist/composer Arturo O’Farrill’ leads a sextet at St. Marks Park, 2nd Ave/10th St

7/21, 7 PM bass trombonist Jennifer Wharton’s Bonegasm at Culture Lab in Long Island City

7/21, 7:30 PM erudite tenor saxophonist Wayne Escoffery leads his quartet at the Django, $25

7/21, 7 PM charming oldtimey swing band Fleur Seule at Astoria Park, Shore Boulevard between the Hell Gate Bridge and the pool

7/21, 8 PM bass goddess/soul singer Felice Rosser’s ageless reggae-rock-groove band Faith and wickedly catchy Americana/paisley underground rockers Girls on Grass – the American Sadies – at Mama Tried in Gowanus

7/22, 7:30 PM colorful,  eclectic, paradigm-shifting B3 jazz organist Brian Charette plays the album release show for his new one at the Django, $25

7/22-23, 7:30/9 PM innovative alto saxophonist Caroline Davis leads a quartet with Matt Mitchell on piano at Smalls, $25

7/22, 110 PM the slinky, fiery Macedonian-flavorted Sedi Donka Balkan Band at St. Mazie’s

7/22, 11:30 PM  pyrotechnic clarinetist Ismail Lumanovski’s ferociously kinetic NY Gypsy All-Stars with haunting Middle Eastern trumpeter Ibraham Maalouf at Drom, $30 adv tix rec

7/23, 11 AM the all-female Egalitarian Brass play new classical works to wake the neighborhood up at Washington Square Park

7/23, 3 PM lo-fi folk-punk songwriter Francesca LaMantia of A Multitude of Drops and all-female punk trio Left in the Attic outdoors BMH Plaza, 438 E. 163rd St just west of the Washington Ave intersection in the Bronx, B/D to 161st St/Yankee Stadium

7/23, 4ish bad segue, good twinbill: smart female-fronted gutter blues jamband Jane Lee Hooker followed at 5 by lyrical, thoughtful jazz pianist Eugenia Choe at Culture Lab in Long Island City

7/23, 7 PM cutting-edge big band salsa jazz with drummer Bobby Sanabria’s Big Band at Bryant Park

7/23, 7:30 PM santoor virtuoso Vinay Desai with tabla player Mir Naquibul Islam at the Chhandayan Center For Indian Music, $25

7/24, 3 PM ish 80s reggae star Sister Nancy in the courtyard at Union Pool, free

7/24, 7 PM saxophonist Joseph Herbst’s Ghost in the Mirror large ensemble jazz project with adventurous string ensemble Quartet Davis at Culture Lab in Long Island City

7/24, 7 PM brasy second-wave Ethio-jazz band Molly Tigre at 70th St. and the Hudson

7/24, 7 PM slinky piano-fueled soul band the Claudettes at the big room at the Rockwood $15

7/25-29, half past noon sly, cinematic, tuneful Microscopic Septet pianist Joel Forrester at Bryant Park

7/25, 7:30 PM purist, purposeful jazz guitarist Russell Malone with pianist Rick Germanson and bassist Luke Sellick at Mezzrow, $25

7/25, 8 PM in reverse order: trumpeter Nate Wooley‘s acidically enveloping, atmospheric Columbia Icefield, slashing guitarslinger Ava Mendoza, bassist Trevor Dunn and ambient composer Cecilia Lopez at TV Eye, 1647 Weirfield St., Ridgewood, $10

7/25, 8 PM busy surf rock cover group Band of Others at Cowgirl Seahorse

7/26. 7 PM Zikrayat play slinky, cinematic classics from the golden age of Arabic song at Gantry State Park in Long Island City

7/26, 7:30 PM edgy orchestra the Knights & Lara St. John, violin soloist play Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony plus works by Avner Dorman at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park

7/26, 7 PM soul/gospel belter (and Lenny Molotov collaborator) Queen Esther, Americana banjo songwriter Hilary Hawke  and bassist Mali Obomsawin and her band at the basement room at the Rockwood, $15,

7/26, 8 PM gritty downtown rocker Diane Gentile, dark blues/folk noir/oldschool soul songwriter Kelley Swindall and well-liked, fearlessly political LES soul-rock songwriter/chanteuse Dina Regine at 11th St Bar

7/26, 8 PM intrepid improvisational violist Jessica Pavone solo, the similarly-inclined surrealist Dave Ruder leading a quartet and retro 60s surf/spy/soundtrack chanteuse Dodi (fka Transistor Ray at Rubulad, $10

7/27, noon irrepressible, ebullient Brain Cloud jazz chanteuse Tamar Korn at the pedestrian plaza at Willoughby and Pearl in downtown Brooklyn

7/27, 7 PM Los Cumpleanos – with Nestor Gomez – vox/percussion; Lautaro Burgos – drums; Eric Lane – keyboards; Alex Asher – trombone and others playing trippy, dubwise tropical psychedelia aat Pier 45 in Hudson River Park – take W 10th St to the river

7/27, 8 PM a Lee Konitz tribute with saxophonist Ohad Talmor, pianist Dan Tepfer, bassist Jeremy Stratton and drummer George Schuller at Seeds

7/28, half past noon the self=explanatory Gipsy Jazz Caravan at St. Marks Park, 2nd Ave/10th St

7/28, 6 PM Cuban tres player Junniel Jiminez and band under the Dumbo archway, F to York St.

7/28, 7 PM the Horne Electric Band play brassy funk at Culture Lab in Long Island City

7/29, 7 PM one of the most haunting songwriters in folk noir, Emily Jane White opens for minimalist/darkwave chanteuse Eivor at the Poisson Rouge, $30 adv tix rec

7/29, 7 PM cosmopolitan retro Euro-swing band the Hot Sardines with Nellie McKay on vocals at Bryant Park

7/29, 7 PM the Hudson Horns play brass music from the Balkans to New Orleans at Culture Lab in Long Island City

7/30, 4:30 PM Heart of Afghanistan, with Afghani TV star Ahmad Fanoos on vocals and harmonium, his sons Elham Fanoos on piano and Mehran Fanoos on violin, and Hamid Habibzada on tablā, followed eventually at around 9 by feral female-fronted psychedelic cumbia/tropicalia/dub allstars Combo Chimbita on the plaza at Lincoln Center

7/30, 5 PM brilliant bassist Debby Schwartz‘s psychedelic band Psych-O-positive at Corgi’s Distillery, 1 Distillery Drive, Building P, Jersey City for directions (201)448-4184

7/30, 6 PM eclectic Palestinian chanteuse Amal Murkus & the Firas Zreik Quintet followed by ferociously powerful, politically fearless southern gothic guitar/banjo player Amythyst Kiah  and  thunderous Ukrainian folk-punk stompers Dakhabrakha at Damrosch Park

7/30, 7 PM Afro-Peruvian funk singer/bandleader Araceli Poma at Culture Lab in Long Island City

7/30.,7:30 PM electrifying vibraphonist Simon Moullier and band at the Django, $25 at the Django, $25

7/30, 9 PM first-rate purist honkytonk crooner/bandleader Cliff Westfall and his killer band at Skinny Dennis

7/30, 10:30 PM mighty Brazilian drumline street band BatalaNYC at Drom, $20 adv tix rec

7/31, 2 PM slinky, horn-driven retro bugalu band Spanglish Fly at the Harlem Meer Boathouse in Central Park south of 110th St.

8/2, noon feral tenor saxophonist Eric Wyatt and band at Columbus Park, Cadman Plaza East and Johnson St. in downtown Brooklyn

8/2, 7 PM clever, fiery, eclectic ten-piece Balkan/hip-hop/funk brass maniacs Slavic Soul Party  at Gantry State Park in Long Island City

8/2, 7:30 PM  lush, majestic string ensemble the East Coast Chamber Orchestra play works by Adolphus Hailstork, Maureen Nelson and Schubert’s String Quartet No. 14 in D minor, D 810, ‘Death and the Maiden’ at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park

8/4, 7 PM darkly psychedelic Afrobeat groove group Budos Band at Corporal Thompson Park in Staten Island

8/5, 3 PM a bunch of Red Baraat-adjacent artists and then the hypnotically explosive live bhangra dance band itself at Central Park Summerstage

8/6, 6 PM psychedelic tropicalia band the Meridian Brothers and psychedelic cumbia/reggaeton bandleader Ana Tijoux at Corporal Thompson Park in Staten Island

8/7, 3 PM a Dominican triplebill with merengue tipica band Grupo d’AhoraEl Gran Alcover and merengue star El Rey Supremo Luis Vargas at Central Park Summerstage

8/11, 6 PM psychedelic funk/Afrobeat jammers the People’s Champs  under the Dumbo archway, F to York St.

8/11, 7 PM Video Music Box legend Ralph McDaniels hosts a mostly nostalgic hip-hop multiple-bill with Sweet Tee, Girl Codee, Black Sheep, Smif n Wessun, Special Ed at at the Coney Island Amphitheatre. free, get here early or else

8/12, 7 PM ferocious, female-fronted Afrobeat band Underground System at Pier 45 in Hudson River Park – take W 10th St to the river

8/13, 7 PM Video Music Box’s Ralph McDaniels hosts a 90s dancehall reggae bill with Wayne Wonder and others at Central Park Summerstage

8/16, noon  iconic latin percussionist Willie Martinez leads his classic salsa/mambo group at Columbus Park, Cadman Plaza East and Johnson St. in downtown Brooklyn

8/16 7 PM playful avant garde cancion singer Sofia Rei at Gantry State Park in Long Island City

8/19, 7 PM atmospheric jazz guitarist Rafiq Bhatia at Bryant Park

8/20, 7 ish the all-female Resistance Revival Chorus sing epic, inspiring original populist gospel tunes and political broadsides, and Burnt Sugar celebrating 20+ years of lush Braxton-ish largescale improvisation, hard funk, James Brown and Bowie covers at Marcus Garvey Park

8/26, 7 PM a “habibi festival” that transcends the style: North African dancer Esraa Warda & the Châab Lab, kanun virtuoso Firas Zreik, and haunting French-Tunisian saxophonist Yacine Boulares’ Ajoyo project at Bryant Park

8/26, 7 PM jaunty female-fronted original retro rocksteady band the Big Takeover at Pier 45 in Hudson River Park – take W 10th St to the river

8/27, 4 PM ish socially conscious jazz chanteuse Nikara’s Black Wall Street project, bassist Buster Willliams and his band and trumpeter Terence Blanchard with the Turtle Island Quartet at Marcus Garvey Park

8/28, 2 PM the Sun Ra Arkestra  make their yearly appearance at the free outdoor concert series at Union Pool

8/28, 3 PM purist jazz guitarist Pasquale Grasso, swing trumpeter/singer Bria Skonberg, intense tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana and Archie Shepp and Jason Moran with Cecile Mclorin Salvant at Tompkins Square Park

9/8, 7 PM two very different, very distinctive jazz pianists: Aaron Diehl and Orrin Evans at Bryant Park

9/11, 6 PM Gaijin A Go Go – the satirical J-pop equivalent of Les Sans Culottes under the Dumbo archway

9/15-18, 7:30 PM this year’s Momenta Festival with the reliably adventurous Momenta Quartet resumes, rescheduled from July with a program tba at Broadway Presbyterian Church (601 W 114th St. free

9/16, 7 PM the annual accordion festival returns: Heart of Afghanistan, with Afghani TV star Ahmad Fanoos on vocals and harmonium, his sons Elham Fanoos on piano and Mehran Fanoos on violin, and Hamid Habibzada on tablā. and others at Bryant Park

9/17, 7 PM the American Symphony Orchestra play a program tba at Bryant Park

Max Richter Playfully Reinvents an Iconic Vivaldi Suite – Again

A decade after reinterpreting Vivaldi on his playfully innovative Recomposed album with the Britten Sinfonia and violinist Daniel Hope, keyboardist Max Richter has opted to revisit lucrative territory with his latest project The New Four Seasons. Violinist Elena Urioste and the Chineke Orchestra join the composer, who unobtrusively plays a vintage Moog synth as well as sprightly harpsichord on the new vinyl record, streaming at Spotify.

Is this art-rock? The avant garde? Modern classical? Ambient music? A little, or sometimes a lot of all of those labels come into play here. Spring is reconstituted in four parts, the other seasons in three. Frequently, Richter’s cuisinarted baroque barely resembles the original. All the same, it’s playful, sometimes affectingly pensive music and draws the listener into his allusive treasure hunt.

Birdsong-like strings chatter and flutter over a somber loop from the basses as Spring begins, shifting to a steady, often hypnotic pavane. Richter lets the composer’s hushed anticipatory riffs from Summer resonate; from there, he makes a striding march out of it and then brings it down to a suspenseful summer-evening pulse. The conclusion, with Urioste going lickety-split, is a visceral thrill.

The goofy quasi-flamenco syncopation of the intro to Autumn borders on the ridiculous, but Urioste’s quicksilver volleys quickly take charge. Richter’s shift to sheer luxuriance is a welcome contrast, as is the stately harpsichord movement and the kinetic conclusion. 

Winter is where Richter reaches furthest into the avant garde, notably with the microtonal introduction kicking off a memorably blustery, symphonic sweep. Urioste’s wary lyricism and then her precise run through the closing labyrinth take centerstage as the suite winds up. 

Where can you hear Vivaldi around New York this summer? Tonight, June 28 at 7:30 PM at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park, where Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society, led by violinist Aisslinn Nosky play works by Corelli, Vivaldi, Geminiani, Handel and Charles Avison. Get there early if you want a seat.

A Haunter of the New York City Subway Emerges From the Underground

It was past eleven on a raw, gloomy, pretty desolate Thursday night on the Lower East Side of New York in the fall of 2014. Waiting impatiently for the F train, a daily New York music blog owner leaned against a pole on the Second Avenue subway platform after a show by My Brighest Diamond. Across the way, a petite, black-clad woman wearing raccoon-eye mascara played instrumentals on an accordion.

The concert had been underwhelming. Shara Nova’s crystalline voice had soared as high as anyone could have wanted, but the band was a lot more stripped-down, compared to the symphonic lineup she’d had at an outdoor festival the year before. And the swirl and lushness of that performance was conspicuously absent. To the publicist who hooked up that show, this is a mea culpa, eight years late.

But the best was yet to come that night. Stationed in her usual spot on the platform, Melissa Elledge slowly worked her way into an absolutely chilling, gorgeously rubato take of Satie’s Gymnopedie No. 1. And then followed it with an even more spacious, haunting version of Gymnopedie No. 2! For those who have no idea how beautiful Satie sounds on accordion, fast forward to 2:30 of this video of Elledge in her element, five years later. In a split second, that whole night was redeemed.

Elledge also plays the occasional above-ground show, and she’s doing an official outdoor performance on the water behind Battery Park tomorrow, June 21 starting at 4:30. As a bonus, you can catch a more theatrically-inclined, accordion-wielding artist, Mary Spencer Knapp, beforehand starting at around 2 if you have some time in the middle of the day.

Elledge has recorded with groups including folk noir band Thee Shambels but not much as a solo artist. Her Bandcamp page has a single, For Beethoven, with Love and Distortion, a wry rearrangement of a famous theme which she jams out on the platform a lot and is too funny to spoil.

She also has a Soundcloud page. The first track is a steady, ominously pulsing, uber-gothic solo accordion version of Clint Mansell’s Luz Aeterna, from the Requiem For a Dream score. She echoes that ambience a little later on with Radiohead’s Exit Music For a Film.

The rest of the page is eclectic to the extreme, and a lot of fun. Most of this is live. Elledge takes Duke Elington’s Shout ‘Em, Aunt Tillie and basically makes noir cabaret out of it – at least until a train rumbles into the station. She fires off a strutting backing track to the Coolio hit Gangsta’s Paradise, along with a cleverly reharmonized standard that she calls You Must Take the A Train…It Doesn’t Stop Here, Though. That’s a reference to how, for years, the F was constantly rerouted at night, away from Elledge’s regular busking space. Little did we know how that was just a part of a slow lead-up to the divide-and-conquer of 2020.

Elledge comes out of a classical piano background, so the Soundcloud tracks also include a Romantically-tinged take of Philip Glass’ Wichita Vortex Sutra, complete with a voiceover of the Allen Ginsberg text. And if you have the time, there’s an irresistibly fun and unexpectedly tight accordion orchestra version of Terry Riley’s In C, with Elledge leading the ensemble.

The Knights Make History With Beethoven and Janacek at the Naumburg Bandshell

Last night at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park was a welcome return for one of New York’s most enduring cosmopolitan traditions. This was a particularly clever installment. It’s been done before: pairing Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata with Janacek’s String Quartet No. 1, “Kreutzer Sonata.” A Naumburg Concert favorite, chamber orchestra the Knights worked several levels of meta with new symphonic arrangements of both: the former a chart by violinist Colin Jacobsen, the latter a collaboration between his brother Eric and Knights horn player Mike Atkinson.

Orchestral scores for both works go back as far as Tschaikovsky, who did it with Beethoven. Likewise, there have been plenty of programs pairing both of the original pieces. But yesterday evening’s concert might have been the first time two orchestral versions of both have been played on the same bill. It turned out to be as colorful as expected, considering the ensemble’s penchant for surprise.

They opened with a Colin Jacobsen piece, playfully titled Kreutzings, rising from dizzyingly dissociative layers through jaunty microtonal glissandos from around the ensemble, to a coyly contrapuntal waltz. Flickers of each of the night’s main composers bubbled to the surface occasionally as the strings joined in precise, steady eighth notes while winding their way out.

Jacobsen, celebrating his birthday, served as soloist in the Beethoven. Crisp, elegant cheer interchanged with a little suspense and a bustling freshness that veered toward the raw side in the opening movement, confirming how well this material lends itself to orchestral sweep and majesty. Jacobsen quickly went for silkiness and ran with it amid anxious Vivaldiesque counterpoint. The restless thicket of low strings toward the end was a particularly juicy moment for the orchestra to sink their teeth into.

As if by design, a passing airplane introduced the andante second movement, bubbly woodwinds picking up the pace considerably before Jacobsen took over with a fine-toothed staccato. The bristling energy never dissipated, through lushness and a coyly pulsing bounce beneath the violinist’s spirals, flurries and animated pizzicato. Interestingly, the finale was on the spare and restrained side, despite the velocity: an urbane party that earned a contrastingly raucous standing ovation.

After the intermission, the ensemble tackled Anna Clyne’s Stride. Echoing the concert’s opening number, fleeting hints of Beethoven percolated amid tense close harmonies and microtones over a striding tempo flecked with rather suspenseful lulls and a long trajectory up to an anthemic, Dvorakian coda. Clyne doesn’t usually go for fullscale High Romantic: turns out she excels at it. This was a revelation.

Janacek’s first quartet follows the drama and familial mischegas of the Tolstoy tale, giving us an extra level of meta. Furtive Balkan chromatics quickly receded for an aching lushness and unexpected pageantry in the opening movement, only to reappear in a tensely gripping, Bernard Herrmann vein. Giving the anxious conversation in the third movement to the woodwinds paid magnificently poignant dividends on the way to an equally memorable stampede out. The ensemble encored with flutist Alex Sopp leading the group through a lickety-split, buoyant arrangement of a Taraf de Haidoucks Romany dance tune.

For those who missed the concert, the Knights managed to record the Beethoven and Janacek in February 2020, just under the wire before the fateful events that would crush the world a few weeks later. The next Naumburg Bandshell concert is on June 28 at 7:30 PM with the Handel and Haydn Society, led by violinist Aisslinn Nosky, playing works by Corelli, Vivaldi, Geminiani, Handel and Charles Avison.

Danny Holt Tackles the Fiery, Lyrical Music of a Legendary David Bowie Pianist

Many years ago, this blog’s owner had what turned out to be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see David Bowie in concert. As far as bucket-list shows go, this was at the very top.

It was a huge disappointment. The long-since-razed Roseland Ballroom in midtown Manhattan had notoriously bad, boomy sound. The Thin White Duke didn’t play guitar, the setlist was mostly forgettable 1990s material, and he had that awful, florid guitarist who played with him in his even more forgettable Tin Machine project.

One of the few upsides to the concert was that it was the first time that Bowie had performed with pianist Mike Garson since the 1970s. And Garson seemed to be jumping out of his shoes to be playing the gig, firing off one elegant, rapidfire cascade after another. Fast forward to 2022: Garson is making a rare Manhattan small-club appearance at Mezzrow on June 19 at 7:30 PM with Don Falzone on bass and Billy Mintz on drums. Cover is $25 cash at the door, but this could be an instance where you might want to make a reservation in advance.

One Garson album that fans need to hear actually doesn’t have Garson on it. He came up with the material while improvising on a Yamaha Disclavier (the digitally-empowered precursor to the Steinway Spirio). Pianist Danny Holt plays those transcriptions on his latest release, Piano Music of Mike Garson, streaming at Spotify. Most of them could be considered preludes, or suites of them.

Holt opens dramatically with the aptly titled Homage to Chopin and Godowsky, a look back at the kind of daunting, lyrical rivulets and meticulously articulated chords Garson wowed the crowd with at that Roseland show all those years ago. The second track, a Bowie homage, is a fondly Asian-tinged fugue of sorts.

There are fifteen other pieces on the album, spanning a characteristically wide swath of styles. Rampaging art-rock gives way to thorny Ligeti-esque interludes, labyrinthine passages that could be Schumann or Janacek, insistently rhythmic moments that come across as High Romantic Steve Reich, and a warmly inviting nocturne or two..

Needless to say, Garson’s skills creating this kind of intensity out of thin air are undiminished, and Holt deserves equal credit for having both the good taste and chops to deliver Garsons’s icepick lefthand and intricately harmonized two-handed passages with equal flair and precision.