Highly Selective Listings
A thoughtful, discerning, and carefully compiled list of the most notable, promising and unique musical events for the months of December and January in New York City.
Hip-hop artist Mike Ladd has spent the past eleven years of his life calling Paris home. From James Baldwin to Langston Hughes, the lineage of African-American artists fleeing their American birthplace for Parisian equality is wide and illustriousa notion that Ladd challenges on his 2005 album Negrophilia.
When the news broke in October that Condé Nast had bought Pitchfork, I was out of the country. If there were think pieces, I missed them.
Just across the Hudson River in Jersey City, directly opposite the World Trade Center in what might best be described as a parallel universe, sits Monty Hall, the live music venue run by free-form radio station WFMU.
We’ve had The Secret Garden. Grey Gardens. The Garden of Earthly Delights. The King of Marvin Gardens. Green Mansions, Home and Garden, and now: The Creeping Garden. So what exactly is slime mold? Well, it’s been decided that it’s not a fungus, but, rather than me giving away too much information, see the aforementioned The Creeping Garden, which played recently at the Film Forum.
Acclaimed vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant was raised in Miami as the American-born daughter of a French school principal mother and a Haitian doctor father. Her newest release, For One To Love, is her finest yet. It is an album of twelve songs, five written by Cécile, and seven standards that she is interpreting. The entire band’s performance makes this album phenomenal. The group is made of Aaron Diehl on piano, Paul Sikivie on bass, and Lawrence Leathers on drums.
Walking down the stairs at Le Poisson Rouge on Sunday, November 15a desolate fish tank hanging overheadfor the only New York appearance of Tre Voci, I can’t stifle my skepticism about the choice of venue. It is sadly paradoxical that a world-class chamber ensemble finds itself, in New York City, where chamber music has a huge following, performing in a basement club, with strobe lights flashing and food and drinks being consumed during the concert.
“If only everybody in the world read The New Republic, the world would solve all its problems.” Ian Buruma Those wordsspoken to neo-liberal warmonger, and New Republic contributing editor Paul Berman, and for which I will eternally love Ian BurumaI would paraphrase as: if only everybody in the world embraced political art ” The appeal of political declarationswhether they come from the endless herd of white men in blue suits yammering on TV or in the pages of political journals, or from an artist painting a slogan in the wilds of, well, there are no wilds left in New York Cityis that of a consumer product: a simple, easy to swallow meme that provides instant satisfaction because it goes down agreeably.
I sat down for Opus, at BAM, with a certain amount of skepticism. A French string quartet, the Quatuor Debussy, playing three Shostakovich string quartets while a troupe of Australian acrobats gamboled around them onstage? And the musicians were going to be blindfolded for part of the performance? The word gimmicky wasn’t the furthest thing from my mind as I tried to warm to this scenario.