By the Editors
- May 6: John Zorn Game Pieces at Roulette. The music that put Zorn on the map and the continues to be startling and cutting-edge to this day; John will present Cobra and Hockey, and while the former can be experienced every few years, the latter will be a rare treat. Zorn himself will play game calls for Hockey, and the large ensemble for Cobra will include Eyal Moaz, Ikue Mori, Sylvie Courvoisier, Trevor Dunn, Ches Smith, and Jim Black.
- May 6: Prove It All Night! with Pat Byrne at Monty Hall. Byrne hosts his radio show every Saturday at 9 p.m., and occasionally does so live from WFMU’s concert venue. Expect a mix of comedy and music, the latter suggesting the existence of a pure strain of jock rock and heavy metal untainted by the Van Halens and Bon Jovis of this world. Musical guests the Sunshine and the Rain round out the bill.
- May 7: Hunter Simpson at Alphaville. Brooklyn-by-way-of-North-Carolina songwriter Hunter Simpson celebrates the release of his new album Goldmine, out this month on Ernest Jenning Record Co. Early single “Goldmine” displays a lush mix of piano, saxophone, and fingerpicked guitar, Simpson’s lyrics the kind of self-questioning observations you find on Nico’s Chelsea Girls or any of Destroyer’s records.
- May 7: Ivo Pereleman and Matt Shipp at (le) poisson rouge. If you can’t catch them at the Vision festival later in the month, Pereleman and Shipp will be playing the release show for the new 7 volume set, The Art of Pereleman-Shipp. Some of the best in communicative, powerful free music will be augmented by the excellent avant-garde surf rock band, Italian Surf Academy.
- May 12: Colin Stetson at Baby’s All Right. If Baby’s All Right seems an unlikely setting for the sui generis saxophonist, it seems clear that Stetson will bring enough muscular droning force to drown out the clink of beer bottles and gentrified chatter. Michigan’s Justin Walter opens.
- May 13: Alarm Will Sound at the Ecstatic Music Festival. What started the indie/alt-classical scene? The strongest argument is that it began with the release of Alarm Will Sound’s Acoustica album, a set of transcriptions and arrangements of electronic music by Aphex Twin. Their upcoming set will deliver music from that modern classical, and compositions from Tyondai Braxton and Valgeir Sigurosson. And keeping near the crest of pop culture, there will be new arrangements of Brian Reitzell’s soundtrack music for the incredible Hannibal TV show, something better than a glass of nice chianti.
- May 16: Ken Vandermark and Nate Wooley at ISSUE Project Room. Trumpeter (and recent Rail Tracks podcast guest) Nate Wooley joins saxophonist Ken Vandermark, two leading lights of jazz marrying rhythm and melody to abstract texture and generally exploding—or reweaving—the fabric of time in the echoing expanse of ISSUE’s 22 Boerum St. space.
- May 20: Wrekmeister Harmonies at St. Vitus. With the release of last year’s Light Falls on Thrill Jockey, J.R. Robinson’s Wrekmeister Harmonies continued a string of major recordings, mammoth in their sonic and existential impact on the listener. Robinson and other core member Esther Shaw’s project is ambitious and challenging. Metal is often dismissed for coming off as too self-important, too wrapped up in its own significance. Don’t make that mistake here.
- May 22 - June 3: Vision 22 Free Jazz Festival at Judson Memorial Church. Take note you free music fans, this year’s Vision festival starts earlier on the calendar. The line up will be as strong as always, with sets from Black Host, In Order to Survive, Robert Dick, Trio 3, poet Fred Moten, BassDrumBone, and pretty much every leading voice on the free music scene. Make sure to look for Steve Dalachinksy, who will be everywhere, all the time.
- May 22: Ambrose Akinmusire, Shai Maestro, and Theo Bleckmann at National Sawdust. Call it a supergroup, but the inherent sympathy and sensitivity means this is more likely to be a super fascinating musical conversation. Pianist Maestro joins two of the most beautiful sounds—trumpet and voice—in contemporary music for an evening of collaboration and improvisation.
- May 27: Elf Power and Sunwatchers at Baby’s All Right. Long-running Elephant 6 band Elf Power comes to Brooklyn from Athens, GA. Led by Andrew Rieger, Elf Power has progressed from its lo-fi early recordings to collaborate with the likes of Dave Fridmann and Vic Chesnutt. The band brings a measure of pop bombast to its live shows. Sunwatchers, featuring several alumni of the Athens scene, provide support.
- May 30: Camila Meza and the Nectar Orchestra at the Jazz Gallery. One instant of hearing the liquid silver of Meza’s voice and you’ll know why she is one of the most in-demand singers on the contemporary scene. She’s also a hell of a guitarist, and this gig has her quartet augmented by a string quartet.