Brooklyn Rail Highly Selective Music Events
Staff Consensus Picks
- February 7: World Music Institute at Roulette, Cuba to Brooklyn, featuring Fuákata and José “Pepito” Gomez. Relations between the US and Cuba are warming just in time for the first 2015 installment of the World Music Institute’s World to Brooklyn series. As with all WtB events, the evening begins with a cocktail hour featuring free drinks from the featured culture (for Cuba it’ll be mojitos, natch), followed by Cuban dance instruction from Chris Rogicki, whose dance company Fuákata - Cuban Salsa New York opens the show with a live performance. Headliner José “Pepito” Gomez takes the stage next, and a DJ’d dance party closes the night.
- February 27 - March 7: Avant Music Festival at Wild Project. Enjoy two weekends of music, including performances of works by Paula Matthusen (Feb. 27), John Cage (Feb. 28), and Imani Uzuri (Mar. 6), then prepare to have all of it blasted out of your consciousness by the March 7 performance of Randy Gibson’s three and a half hour drone epic Apparitions of the Four Pillars in the Midwinter Starfield under the Astral 789 Duet, featuring Jen Baker, Drew Blumberg, Mariel Roberts, and Meaghan Burke, plus visual help from Oscar H. Scott and Kryssy Wright.
February 4: Jake Schepps at SubCulture. Banjoist Schepps fronts a quintet that puts the folk into folk and the roots into bluegrass. Human folks and roots, that is. He’s the kind of musician who will show you what Bartók’s folk music sounds like on folk instruments—great—and at SubCulture he and the band will be playing a set of pieces composed for them by Marc Mellits, Matt McBane, Gyan Riley, and Matt Flinner.
February 3–8: Henry Kaiser Stone Residency. Kaiser is a one-man experimental/avant-garde movement, and the guitarist is also hip enough to front the electric Miles Davis repertory band, Yo Miles!, with Wadada Leo Smith. He has a an excellent new CD out, The Celestial Squid, with English guitarist Ray Russell, and for his week at The Stone, he’ll be playing with a mind-boggling group of musicians, including Charles K. Noyes, Bill Laswell, Luka Ligeti, Melvin Gibbs, Weasel Walter, Nick Didkovsky, Alan Licht, Brandon Ross, and Samuel R. Delany will read aloud on the 6th. And if you want something that I do no understand at all, Brandy Gale will be doing “live psychic painting” that same night.
February 6: George Sand Record Release at Bohemian Grove. Michael Durek doesn’t just write “10 Listens” for the music section, he plays in a few bands, and George Sand (vocals, autoharp, theremin, piano) is celebrating the release of their new vinyl. They are part of an impressive bill that also includes Reg Bloor (Glenn Branca Ensemble), Rachel Trachtenburg and Greasy Grass.
February 8: Gamelan Dharma Swara at (le) Poisson Rouge. A chance to hear an authentic Balinese Gamelan is already a draw. Besting that, Dharma Swara will play the North American premiere of Geregel, a contemporary composition from Dewa Ketut Alit that brings the tradition into the 21st century.
February 9: Hypercolor at Jack NY. Prog-rock lives! It’s burgeoning in New York, which is full of excellent musicians who want are serious and want to have fun. This all-star band has a swaggering debut CD coming out on Tzadik, and Dither electric guitar quartet will also play music of their own new Tzadik release, Volume 1 of John Zorn’s Olympiad. And if you need more, Philip White will open with a solo set. This will be the most.
February 14–15, 21: Live + Sound + Cinema presents Beauty and the Beast. Cocteau’s film with live music—no, not the Philip Glass score, but a new one, played by the Reel Orchestrette. A week later, the Bakia Quartet, led by bassist Zack Nestel-Pratt, plays more live music with film for the residency at Videology (308 Bedford Avenue): the video includes silent films from the surreal and avant-garde traditions, and Bakia will improvise their accompaniment.
February 26: 1032K presents Hard Time Killin’ Floor Suite, The Skip James Project. The rugged trombone/bass/drums trio of Ku-umba Frank Lacy, Kevin Ray and Andrew Drury, one of the best jazz groups you have yet to hear, received a commission from Lincoln Center, and are rewarding all of us with a FREE concert at the David Rubenstein Atrium. The music is a contemporary dialogue with the mysterious James, one of the most haunting artists in American vernacular music. J.D. Allen and Justin Hicks will help with the music, and the music starts at 7:30 p.m.
February 11: Eli Keszler, Synth Nights at the Kitchen. February’s installment of the Kitchen’s Synth Nights features the premiere of “filtrations,” an installation-composition from Eli Keszler that will reportedly feature three separate instrumental ensembles playing on top of one another. The “large-scale project” will fit well in Keszler’s oeuvre, judging at least from this video of him using a parking garage as an instrument.
February 12: Night Out with Richard Hell: Donald Cumming at Symphony Space. The lead Voidoid—and author, most recently, of an autobiography, reviewed in the Rail—takes over the Leonard Nimoy Thalia theatre at Symphony Space for a series of events in which he highlights artists that interest him. Tonight’s guest is Donald Cumming, a fixture of the downtown scene who fronted the band the Virgins and has a solo debut due out this year. Following a conversation between him and Hell, Cumming will perform a set of solo material.
February 19: Composer Portrait: Stefano Gervasoni at Miller Theatre, featuring Yarn/Wire, Mivos Quartet, Ekmeles. Italian composer Stefano Gervasoni presents three of his works, together with three of the city’s most highly acclaimed ensembles: Yarn/Wire, Mivos Quartet, and Ekmeles.
February 19–28: Sheila Heti’s All Our Happy Days Are Stupid, with music by Dan Bejar at the Kitchen. Lyrics play such a central role in Dan Bejar’s music with Destroyer and the New Pornographers that it’s almost unimaginable to think of him ceding the pen to anyone else. Nevertheless, that seems to be the case here, with Bejar providing the sonic accompaniment for this play by Sheila Heti, most well-known for her novel How Should a Person Be.