Brooklyn Rail Highly Selective Music Events
By the Editors
- April 7: Christopher Zuar’s Musings at the Jazz Gallery. Composer Zuar has just released Musings, his debut recording, which collects and elegant and lovely set of pieces written for jazz big band. One sign of the quality of the music is the terrific musicians he has in his ensemble, and the depth of their solo contributions. This debut/release gig (two sets, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.) will feature the likes of Ben Kono, Brian Landrus, John Hébert, and Jo Lawry. Make sure you can say, “I remember him when …”
- April 7 - 8: David Krakauer at National Sawdust. David Krakaeur plays everything on the clarinet you can imagine, and more: classical, jazz, klezmer, and also free, film music, and exceptional funk (no music library should be without Tweet Tweet, his collaboration with Fred Wesley). These two nights, he’ll be playing music from his new recording, Checkpoint, an exploration of his Eastern European roots. If that seems dry, check out this band, Ancestral Groove: Sheryl Bailey, Jerome Harris, Michael Sarin, and Keepalive. Check it:
- April 8: Parquet Courts at the Bell House. Brooklyn’s Parquet Courts celebrate the release of Human Performance, the band’s third LP. Given the band’s vaunted status, at least among the diminishing number of people who still care about this kind of thing, as the Great White Hope of American rock music in the 21st century, it’s fair to assume that singles from this record will follow you into most every cool bar you go to this summer. Don’t let the hype get you down—the music is solid; the kids are alright.
- April 9 - 10: ACME at the Kitchen. Not Roadrunner’s favorite wholesaler, but the American Contemporary Music Ensemble. For this two night stand in Chelsea, they are bringing some extraordinary, and rarely heard, compositions in contemporary American music. Saturday, the programming is vintage Reich—Violin Phase—and Glass—Piece in the Shape of a Square—along with under-appreciated music from Joseph Byrd. Sunday’s concert is The Holy Presence of Joan D’Arc by Julius Eastman, in a world premiere transcription by ACME cellist Clarice Jensen, Meredith Monk’s Water Music, and Charlemagne Palestine’s stunning and wonderful Strumming Music.
- April 11 - 16: MATA 2016 Festival. There’s no one way to get a handle on what young composers are doing—they are all going in different directions—but the MATA Festival comes close. This year, five days of concerts in three venus (Scandinavia House, National Sawdust, and Dixon Place) will deliver music from twenty-five different composers. The central performers will be Ensemble neoN, in their US debut, from Norway, and France’s excellent Ensemble Linea. There will be four world premieres, including a piece by Matthew Welch, and guaranteed that you’ve heard none of this music before. Opening night concert at the Paula Cooper Gallery is a combination music and reception, with correspondent ticket prices, but things get simple and hardcore after that. Listen to our talk with MATA Artistic Director Du Yun for a taste of what’s to come.
- April 12 - 17: Andy Biskin Residency at the Stone. The Stone is the place to go for new music of all kinds, and clarinetist Biskin is going to deliver a lot of new music for this week. He’ll be playing with terrific improvising musicians such as Rob Schwimmer, Tony Malaby, and Matt Wilson. But he’ll also be touching on some of the older roots of the contemporary creative tradition: his Reed Basket ensemble of four clarinets will deliver music touching on Pee Wee Russell, Jelly Roll Morton, Frederick Lowe, and Mozart and Schubert. His 16 Tons band (clarinet, three trumpets, drums) will also reinterpret songs from Alan Lomax’s The Folk Songs of North America.
- April 13 - 24: Science Fair, An Opera with Experiments, at HERE. One simile we have been using for years is that music is like science, both accumulate knowledge and use the past as the foundation to explore the future. Now it seems mezzo-soprano Hai-Ting Chinn has the same idea, and her show at HERE is described as “an opera singer’s love-song to science,” in the form of a live science show with lessons and lectures in song. Science writing, original music, the opera idiom, and dramatic staging
- April 14: Musical Ecologies at the Old Stone House. Our own Dan Joseph runs this exploratory local series, and for April the house hosts Ghost Ensemble, a colleciton of classical and experimental musicians who, despite their modest profile, have played some of the most memorable concerts in New York the last few years. On the program is Scelsi, Klaus Lang, Marc Sabat, Pauline Olivers, and a piece guest vocalist Vitkova. The ensemble tends towards a resonant, meditative power, perfect in this setting.
- April 14: ensemble mise-en: Portrait of Claude Vivier at the Americas Society. Composer Vivier was murdered just before his 35th birthday, leaving behind a body of work that was both accomplished and tantalizing. A spectralist but with a feeling for ritual and quasi-religious ecstasy that set him apart from the abstract gossamer of much of that style. It is almost impossible to hear performances of his work, and so this concert is extraordinary: four pieces that will at least outline his aesthetic visage.
- April 14: Adam Rudolph at Roulette. Under the auspices of the excellent Interpretations series, Rudolph is following up the deep impression he made with his recent Go: Organic Guitar Orchestra album with a concert of music for string quartet and percussion. Momenta Quartet and the Oberlin Percussion Group will play two world premieres and two NY premiers, with Rudolph himself sitting in on percussion and hand drums for Orbits II. Music that belongs to no known genre except that of the world.
- April 15: Sarah Neufeld, Eartheater at (le) poisson rouge. Montreal violinist Neufeld, late of Arcade Fire, celebrates the release this past February of her second full-length solo record, The Ridge. Neufeld is a formidable performer, as witnessed most recently in New York by her set with Colin Stetson at this year’s Winter Jazzfest. Her style encompasses a range of melodic folk, improvisatory, and minimalist sensibilities.
- April 15 - 24: Open Plan—Cecil Taylor at the Whitney. This has been eagerly anticipated since the first hint reached us from the Whitney last fall. The museum’s Open Plan series has ten days set aside for the most monumental improvising musicians since Bach. It starts the evening before, on April 14, with Taylor playing with Min Tanaka and Tony Oxley, his most sympathetic drummer, and continues with installations, video—including the feature length performance film, The Silent Eye, shot in Taylor’s Fort Greene home in January—and performances from Andrew Cyrille, Henry Grimes, William Parker, Enrico Rava, and our own Steve Dalachinksy.
- April 16: Improvisers Chamber Orchestra at Greenwich House. Down from Woodstock, the legendary Karl Berger is bringing the fruits of his Creative Music Studio 2.0. His ensemble features some of the finest creative muscians on the contemporary scene, including Graham Haynes, Peter Aplfelbaum, Steve Gorn, Ken Filiiano, Billy Martin, and Jason Hwang. They will be playing under Berger’s direction: Berger has developed his own style of conducted improvisation (part of a small but vital method that goes back more than fifty years). A very special engagement.
- April 16: Svjetlana Bukvich Traces at La Guardia Performing Arts Center. Dance and music, from musician and composer Bukvich and choreographer Carolyn Dorfman. Bukvich is one of the notable musicians who have embraced the energetic complexity of prog-rock via contemporary composition (and to dispel any reactionary social beliefs, prog-rock is cool, just ask Steve Reich). Her trademarks are sonority, color, texture, and a feeling for the metaphysical, and her collaboration with Dorfman has earned raves.
- April 17: Roy Nathanson at Littlefield. Roy Nathanson is a musician who is a microcosm of New York City thinking and creativity—a consummate player, band leader, poet, and teacher who has been a stalwart of the scene since he first appeared as the most notable instrumental voice in the Lounge Lizards, way back when. His irreverence and humor enhance the depth of feeling and excitement of his music. This one night only gig is meant to celebrate his new CD of duets, Nearness and You (Clean Feed), but it’s mainly a way to create new memories with old friends like Marc Ribot, Anthony Coleman, Curtis Fowlkes, Myra Melfod, and more.
- April 17: Glenn Jones at Union Pool. Glenn Jones plays instrumental music for guitar and banjo in the John Fahey American Primitivist tradition, and his latest record, Fleeting, is a powerful argument for the enduring power that tradition holds. Jones’s playing seems purged of all dross; it resonates with strange beauty.
- April 23: Juiceboxxx at Trans-Pecos. Much ado has been made of Leon Neyfakh’s The Next, Next Level and the questions the book raises—about art, taste, class rap. Less attention has been paid to the musician at the core of the book: the indomitable Juiceboxxx. Here’s your chance to see the man himself, heading a stacked Saturday-night bill. You’ve read Neyfakh’s gloss; now see if the letter slayeth:
- April 23 - 24: WMI “Dancing the Gods” at Symphony Space. Two nights of classical Indian music and dance, with performances from Mythili Prakash and Sanjukta Wagh, two of this generation’s leading dancers. We pretend toward no expertise with the details of this genre, but can certainly say that the combination of music and movement will be utterly gorgeous and enthralling.
- April 26: Compositora: Songs by Latin American Women at Merkin Concert Hall. The New York Festival of Song presents a night of compositions from Mexico, Chile, Cuba, Peru, and Brazil—a celebration of a long-overlooked class of women composers. Singers María Valdés and Efraín Solís perform to the piano accompaniment of NYFOS’s Steven Blier and Michael Barrett. A complimentary wine reception with the artists follows the performance, in case you needed more incentive.
- May 4: Muuy Biien at Shea Stadium. Athens, Georgia’s Muuy Biien brings its frenetic yet subtly polished attack up to Brooklyn. This is moody Southern scuz punk, pure embodied anguish, the sonic equivalent of Benjy Compson’s reaction at the end of The Sound and the Fury when the cart turns the wrong way.