Brooklyn Rail Highly Selective Music Events
By the Editors
- September 30 - October 4: Momenta Festival at Tenri Cultural Institute. In a triumph of intelligent eclecticism, Momenta Quartet presents the inaugural Momenta Festival. Boasting “Four Programs Spanning Five Centuries,” the festival includes guests such as Gilbert Kalish and performances of works by Ives, Feldman, Dan Visconti, and Yusuf Lateef. The festival coincides with the release of Momenta Quartet’s debut album, Similar Motion, with music by Glass, Kampela, and Debussy.
- October 4: Modern Sky Festival in Central Park. This festival, born on mainland China, is relatively recent to New York—2014 was its inaugural appearance. The recently announced headliner is the Yoko Ono Plastic Band, making a rare and historically notable appearance, and the promise is she will be joined by some “very special New York guests.” Also on the bill is Gang of Four, Mark Sultan, Lower, New Pants, Song Dongye, Hedgehog, and Miserable Faith. A powerful day of music. And keep an eye out for Ono’s tribute to John Lennon, scheduled for October 6.
- October 6: Dan Trueman’s Nostalgic Synchronic at (le) poisson rouge. Dan Truman is a fine composer, teacher, and fiddle player, and he’s now also invented an instrument he calls the bitKlavier, “a prepared digital piano.” It’s the center of his enjoyable and stimulating new release, Nostalgic Synchronic, which you should listen to but also experience in person. Not only will So Percussion’s Adam Sliwinksi play the music live, but there will be audio workstations set up in the LPR gallery space, so you can try the piece out for yourself. What’s more, there’s an app for that.
- October 6: Lonnie Holley at Artist Space Books and Talks. You could call the work of musician and visual artist Lonnie Holley outsider art and capture some its oddness, but you wouldn’t come close to the mystery or the sheer beauty of what Holley is doing. As Chris Nelson wrote in the Rail in 2013, “I can’t tell if Lonnie Holley is from some place deep in the past or if he’s lurking in our future.”
- October 7: Matthew Friedberger at Mercury Lounge. Not since 2012’s Matricidal Sons of Bitches have we heard from Matthew Friedberger, at least not officially. The former Fiery Furnace has been living in prolific exile in Paris, churning out pocket symphonies of exquisite weirdness, part Van Dyke Parks, part Andrew Lloyd Weber; to track Friedberger’s doings online is to follow the breadcrumb trail of an irascible digital vaudevillian. All this to say that Friedberger will emerge for a few US shows in October, offering a chance to catch a glimpse of the circus in person.
- October 10: Jack DeJohnette/Ravi Coltrane/Matt Garrison at Shapeshifter Lab. A new ensemble from the great, great Jack DeJohnette, and the sideman are pretty damn stellar too. This group will be heading in to Avatar studios this fall to make their first recording (for ECM), and here’s a chance to experience the formation of their concepts and music, live. This promises to be an invaluable corollary to Noah Preminger’s newly release live recording from 55 Bar.
- October 12: Eric Nathan Multitude Solitude release show at (le) poisson rouge. It’s a Momenta month, this time with composer Eric Nathan. Last year, the Quartet played a terrific concert of Nathan’s music, and now they featured on his new CD. At the basement club, they’ll play Nathan’s Four to One and his mesmerizing Omaggio a Gesualdo and the title piece, along with music for trumpet, oboe, and the dazzling Three by Three for piano.
- October 13 - 18: James Ilgenfritz residency at the Stone. Bassist Ilgenfritz is one of the key figures in the contemporary experimental scene, playing modern classical music, jazz, improvising, composing his own music and leading his own ensembles. It’s a pleasure to hear his exact intonation, full sound, and fine-tuned sense of rhythm, and he is one of the finest interpreters of Anthony Braxton’s music. During this week, he’ll be leading his Anagram Ensemble and Experiments in Opera in his own William Burrough’s opera, The Ticket that Exploded, as well as the collaborative event, The Travel Agency is on Fire. Ilgenfritz will also play music by Braxton, Pauline Oliveros, Annie Gosfield, JG Thirlwell, and others, and he’ll be playing with a panoply of great musicians, including his band Hypercolor, Miya Masaoka, Steve Swell, Pauline Kim Harris, Amirtha Kidambi, Elliott Sharp, Lukas Ligeti, and Chris Nappi. Listen to him discuss his residency on our July/August podcast.
- October 14 - 17: Maya Beiser’s All Vows at BAM. Beiser’s solo cello show explores the spiritual dimensions of rock—via Zep, Nirvana, Howlin’ Wolf, and others—and the musical dimension of the spirit, with music by Michael Harrison, Michael Gordon, Glenn Kotche, and Mohammed Fairouz. But this is nothing like any classical “crossover” project. Beiser will stun you with how she rocks on the cello, and then the compositions, especially Harrison’s luminous Just Intonation piece Just Ancient Loops, will enthrall you. And Beiser will be accompanied by films from Bill Morrison—hear her talk about the show, and some of her playing, on our September podcast.
- October 15: Dan Friel and ETHEL string quartet at Secret Project Robot. Friel performs songs from his new album, Life, backed by a full horn section; ETHEL will also perform a piece composed by Friel.
- October 16: AACM and Roscoe Mitchell at Pioneer Works. Through time, endurance and sheer brilliance, Roscoe Mitchell (a founder of the AACM) has proved himself to be one of the towering figures in creative jazz and contemporary classical music. His playing and thinking use what seems the most natural means to explore the deepest and most abstract ideas. At Pioneer Works, he’ll be performing with winds player Scott Robinson, baritone Thomas Buckner, and percussionists Tani Tabbal and Gerald Cleaver. Expect greatness.
- October 16: Eartheater at Shea Stadium. Alexandra Drewchin celebrates the release of RIP Chrysalis, her second album under the Eartheater moniker, with a show in Brooklyn. The music has a tangible substance despite its atmospheric free-flowing structure, making Drewchin glitchier kin to electronic artists like Motion Sickness of Time Travel.
- October 18: Allen Lowe concert/recording session at I-Beam, Brooklyn. Allen Lowe, the deeply learned, wildly accomplished, and bull-in-a-china-shop jazz revisionist is back! He and a cohort of impressive musicians are going to hold a seven hour performance and live recording: updates on old-time ideas, music from Mary Lou Williams, a celebration of Jaki Byard, original music, and what Lowe calls “an ADHD version of a big band” playing a new piece, The Five Stages of Grief/Meditations on Disintegration. An appropriate title, as Lowe is one of the few who can approach the sprawling, manic brilliance of Mingus. (3 - 10 p.m., 168 7th Street, Brooklyn, across from the Bell House.)
- October 26: C. Spencer Yeh at Artist Space Books & Talks. C. Spencer Yeh is artist-in-residence at ISSUE Project Room for 2015, and for this show, he’ll be presenting his mesmerizing vocals, music that balances composition and improvisation and filters them through the lens of pure sound. Also promised is a new work “created from acoustic recordings of the historic and electronically-defunct RCA Mark II Sound Synthesizer,” which should be something for nostalgic futurists.
- October 17: Sinatra at 100 at Symphony Space. One day you turn around and it’s Summer, next day you turn around and it’s Fall, third day you turn around and it’s 100 very good years since Sinatra’s birthday, and Tony Danza and a whole bunch of others are planning a marathon performance of 100 songs out of the Sinatra orbit, each presumably doing it his or her way, all under the watchful (and perhaps ol’ blue) eye of host Jonathan Schwartz.
- October 19: Video Program at Trans-Pecos. As part of the PRACTICE series presented by Jeff Tobias and Diamond Terrifier, musician and video artist Julian Bozeman returns from a hiatus of sorts with a new lineup. Bozeman’s band Quiet Hooves set a new bar for lo-fi Randy Newman-ish pocket maximalism back in the late twenty-oughts and early twenty-teens in Athens, GA. Since moving to Brooklyn, Bozeman’s video endeavors have been featured in venues such as ISSUE Project Room and Clocktower Gallery.
- October 22: Reg Bloor at Trans-Pecos. Guitarist Reg Bloor celebrates the release of her album, Theme from an Imaginary Slasher—heavy shredding that’s both sinister and beautiful, like a bandsaw echoing through an empty warehouse. Talibam!, the Use, and Skronklife fill out the bill.
- October 23 - 25: Julian Koster and the Music Tapes at Pier 62 Carousel. Julian Koster’s theatre troupe the Orbiting Human Circus presents three performances of Night, Janitor, Carousel, an immersive theatrical experience. A member of Neutral Milk Hotel, Koster brings whimsy and wonder to all his projects—this is the kind of thing you think you’re too jaded to enjoy but enjoy anyway.
- October 26: Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew book release at BookCourt. The latest 33–1/3 series book, Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew, on one of the most unforgettable albums ever made, is out October 22, and is written by our very own music editor, George Grella—enjoy an excerpt in this month’s music section. Grella will be reading from the book, talking about Miles Davis, and playing some of the music at this event. Rumor has it he will sign any copy presented to him, so come present.
- October 30 - 31: Zorn-oween! If Night on Bald Mountain and the soundtrack to Night of the Living Dead don’t do it for you anymore, then try celebrating Halloween musically with John Zorn. Why not? His interest in hermeticism, esoteric wisdom and the occult has produce his Moonchild band and compositions like Walpurgisnacht and Hexentarot. On the 30th, and extending into the next day, National Sawdust is presenting “John Zorn’s Extended Halloween Weekend”—Zorn will play one of his Hermetic Organ Offices on the organ at St. Bartholomew’s Church, starting at midnight on the 30th. And at Bargemusic on the 31st, there’s a special Halloween chamber music program, with Zorn’s Piano Trio “Ghosts” leading the way.
- October 31: Joanna Gruesome at Shea Stadium. Cardiff punks Joanna Gruesome continue to pound out their glucose-glazed shoegaze. This year the band released its second record, Peanut Butter, though 2013’s Weird Sister is still as crunchy, fresh, and sweet as a sealed bag of Cap’n Crunch—especially the single “Sugarcrush.”