September 5–12: Festival of New Trumpet Music. A week-long festival of all-trumpet, all the time invades New York City headlined by a staggering eighty musicians and concerts held at five different locations. At the director’s helm since 2003, celebrated trumpeter Dave Douglas and his all-volunteer board have put together a dazzling program of brass all-stars including, Jaimie Branch, Tom Harrell, David Adewumi, and more performing at such go-to venues as Dizzy’s Club, The Stone at The New School, Threes Brewing, and The Jazz Gallery.
September 5: Stern Missive: Sister Ships Album Release Show with Hunter Hunt Hendrix, Chain Gang Grave, Unnatural Ways at St. Vitus Bar. With animalistic weirdness, off-kilter rhythms, and a ghostly ambience, art-metal unit Stern—led by its namesake, vocalist Chuck Stern, with members of Kayo Dot—concoct a chilling metal and goth fusion on Missive: Sister Ships (Sleeping Giant Glossolalia) that is its own uniquely constructed beast.
September 6: Milford Graves & Shahzad Ismaily/Marina Rosenfeld/Charmaine Lee at First Unitarian Congregational Society. Legendary percussionist Milford Graves is a New York City avant-garde treasure who revolutionized the art of free-improvisation on seminal records with the New York Art Quartet, Paul Bley, Sonny Sharrock, and his own recordings as leader. He was the subject of a feature-length documentary portrait, Milford Graves Full Mantis, and tonight he joins forces with multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily, of Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog, in what will certainly be an out-of-this-world collaboration. This stellar bill is completed by composer and experimental artist Marina Rosenfeld and improvising vocalist Charmaine Lee, whose Ggggg (via Philip White’s Anticausal label) is a warped and entrancing sound-world.
September 7: Zevious Lowlands Record Release w/ Cleric and Mick Barr at Ceremony224. On its fourth record, Lowlands (Nefarious Industries), local all-instrumental prog-metal trio Zevious have jacked up the dizzying complexities and eardrum-busting sonics with their math-iest effort to date. Tech-metal mad scientists Cleric and Krallice’s Mick Barr open what is the guitar-note-heaviest event of the year.
September 8–30: Arts for Art presents InGardens Afternoons of Free Jazz: Music, Poetry, Justice 2018 in Community Gardens. Over four weekends in September, Arts for Art presents “Afternoons of Free Jazz: Music, Poetry, Justice” featuring an epic lineup of downtown avant-garde jazz legends and rising stars. Set to perform at Children’s Magical Garden (129 Stanton Street) are the William Parker/Daniel Carter Duo and the Steve Swell/Whit Dickey Duo, on September 8, no wave-inspired punk-jazz quartet CP Unit (led by saxophonist Chris Pitsiokos) on September 15, and tons more.
September 9: Kelly Moran at Roulette. Pianist and composer Moran goes beyond the indie-classical label, taking the tools of her trade (which include electronics and prepared piano techniques) and using them as director of Oneohtrix Point Never’s live ensemble. At Roulette you’ll be able to hear her personal voice, which is rigorous and mesmerizing.
September 13–30: The Image is a Seed at mh PROJECT nyc. Talibam! co-founder and keytar-slinging improviser Matt Mottel presents The Image is a Seed, an inter-media and interactive performance-based exhibition. For two hours a day over two weeks, Mottel will present his father Syeus Mottel’s entire archive of 35mm color slides, much of which has never been viewed. This work will function as a public “image shiva” for the collection of approximately 3000 slides, all shot by Syeus between 1967 and 1975. The exhibition will also feature performances from Anthony Coleman, Cooper-Moore, Steve Dalachinsky, the Daniel Carter duo, and many more. Check the Facebook event page for details.
September 13: Leila Bordreuil, Julia Santoli, and Tamio Shiraishi Trio at The Drawing Center. Three heavyweights of the free-improvisational world—cellist Leila Bordreuil, sound artist Julia Santoli, and alto saxophonist Tamio Shiraishi—come together as part of The Drawing Center’s series at the intersection of music and performance.
September 14–15: Softly: Music of Morton Feldman at The Provincetown Playhouse. Pianist Marilyn Nonken pays tribute to the pioneering music of experimental composer Morton Feldman, curating and performing solos, duos, and accompanied by a large ensemble. Some of Feldman’s smaller pieces will be presented, and some short films about Feldman and more fill out the program.
September 14–16: ITSOFOMO at the Whitney Museum. As part of the Whitney’s gripping show, David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night, the museum is presenting three performances of Wojnarowicz’ multi-media work, ITSOFOMO. Trumpeter and electronic musician Ben Neill created the music in collaboration with the artist, and Neill and percussionist Don Yallech, both of whom played at the world premiere, will bring the work back to life.
Sept 14–16, 21–23: Dave’s Waves (David First) Sonic Luncheonette at Sunview Luncheonette. David First is a composer of the most prolific order. He’s mastered electronics, harmonica, minimalist drone, solo acoustic guitar, analog synth, and is an unsung hero of the punk rock movement with his 1970’s-era band, Notekillers. After “pop-up shops” seen in Belgium, Berlin, The Netherlands, and Russia, First is finally bringing the sound/video installation he calls Dave’s Waves Sonic Luncheonette here for its American debut. As First explains, “there will a series of performances by others with my Schumann Resonance Drones.” Check the Facebook page for performance information.
September 14–15: Gran Pianola Project at the Americas Society. Across two nights, Music of the Americas presents newly commissioned works from Carlos Sandoval, Kyle Gann, Tatiana Catanzaro, Jaime Oliver, and Sabrina Schroeder that are all based around the Disklavier. The project is a tribute to the continuing inspiration of Conlon Nancarrow.
September 15: Charlemagne Palestine & Steve Dalachinsky, Dawn Kasper at ISSUE Project Room. Co-presented by the 2018 Brooklyn Book Festival and BOMB Magazine, Brooklyn-born, Belgium-based composer and artist Charlemagne Palestine, a revolutionary figure in modern minimalist composition and visual art, reunites with the Rail’s Steve Dalachinsky for what is loosely described as a “kibbitz session in old style Brooklynese,” possibly involving electronics, voice, and poetry. Opening the evening is interdisciplinary artist and 2015 ISSUE Artist-In-Residence Dawn Kasper.
September 15: Wet Ink 20th Season Opener & Double Album Release – Wet Ink: 20 / Josh Modney: Engage at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music. The Wet Ink Ensemble is celebrating its twentieth season as a leader of the most forward-thinking programming and performance in the new-music world with this mega night. Not only is it the season opener, but Wet Ink is ringing in the double release of Wet Ink: 20 (Carrier Records), an album featuring the twenty-eight musicians of the Wet Ink ensemble, and Engage (New Focus Recordings), Wet Ink violinist Josh Modney’s astoundingly rich three-disc solo violin debut.
September 15: Dreamcrusher / Conduit Drowning World Record Release / The Dreebs / Suckling at The Glove https://www.facebook.com/events/2243533025867587/ Noise-punk wrecking crew Conduit—featuring current and ex-members of White Suns, Pop. 1280, Twin Stumps, and Squad Car—launch bloodthirsty and nihilistic hell-scapes on Drowning World (Kitschy Spirit) that recall the dystopian cyber-punk of Uniform, The Body’s techno-metal, and White Suns’ own junkyard electronics-bathed noise-rock.
September 16: Red Hook Jazz Festival at the Urban Meadow. Though down to only one day this year, the combination of the line-up and the cost means this is still one of the finest jazz events in and around NYC. In the late summer sunshine, $15 (kids free) gets you two bands from drummer Andrew Drury, mandolinist Snehasish Mozumer & SOM, and Marc Ribot.
September 17: Mary Halvorson/Bill Frisell Duo & Robbie Lee/Mary Halvorson Duo (Double Album Release) at (le) Poisson Rouge. From Code Girl and Away With You to Ours and Theirs by collaborative trio Thumbscrew, the fretboard-hopping mastery of guitarist Mary Halvorson never ceases to amaze. Her mind-bending guitar work continues on not one, but two new records celebrated tonight. Halvorson will first break out unconventional guitars like a circa–1899 18-string Knutsen harp guitar, a 1930 Gibson L–2 guitar, and an 1888 SS Stewart 6-string banjo as she teams with multi-wind player Robbie Lee to loosely recreate the music found on their new rustic duo record, Seed Triangular (New Amsterdam). Then Halvorson and guitar luminary Bill Frisell will pay homage to 1950’s jazz guitar pioneer Johnny Smith from their new Tzadik release, The Maid With The Flaxen Hair– A Tribute To Johnny Smith.
September 19: Dan Weiss’ Starebaby at Nublu. Released earlier this year, Starebaby (Pi Recordings) will surely wind up on year-end best lists in both the jazz and metal categories. Drummer and composer Weiss, with Melvins/Mr. Bungle bassist Trevor Dunn, guitarist Ben Monder, and keyboardists and pianists Matt Mitchell and Craig Taborn, sublimely connected the metal and jazz dots. Part soul-crushing, part head-spinning, and part minimalist electronic composition, Starebaby is a masterwork.
September 20: Jonathan Goldberger/JP Schlegelmilch/Jim Black Visitors Album Release Concert at Nublu. Consisting of heavy-hitters culled from the Brooklyn jazz avant-garde, the trio of guitarist Jonathan Goldberger, keyboardist JP Schlegelmilch, and drummer Jim Black go prog-rock-heavy and spaced-out on Visitors (Skirl Records), a sprawling, otherworldly shred-fest that’s like Sun Ra jamming with King Crimson.
September 21: Zeal & Ardor at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Manuel Gagneaux’s Zeal & Ardor project began with a racist comment on the internet, and now his first two albums have entirely invented rock by cutting out decades of dead weight and melding the extreme present of metal with the extreme roots of black folk music. His music is violent, impassioned, and darkly beautiful (read John Amen’s look at the two Zeal & Ardor albums in our current issue).
September 22: Robert Rich at Ambient Church. For the Autumn Solstice, Ambient Church brings in one of the great contemporary electronic musicians and composers. Rich’s palette ranges from the iciest cold of empty space to an all-suffusing warmth, perhaps evoking memories of autumns past, lost to our current ongoing terraforming project.
September 28: Traden (Trad, Gras och Stenar) and Endless Boogie at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Guitar solo heroics and epic jams will be on full display when local scuzzy-blues veterans Endless Boogie and Traden, the Swedish psych-rock legends (formerly known as Trad, Gras och Stenar) touring behind the chilled-out, stoner psychedelia of this year’s Traden, hit the stage.
September 28: Golden Retriever, Byron Westbrook and LEYA at the Park Church Co-op. With modular synth and bass clarinet, the Portland-based experimental duo Golden Retriever (Matt Carlson and Jonathan Sielaff) create ecstatic and meditative sound fields teeming with harmonically gorgeous textures and patterns that draw from classical music, minimalism, jazz, and new age, as heard on their most recent record, 2017’s Rotations (Thrill Jockey). Tonight, Golden Retriever make a rare appearance here and the Park Church Co-op will be the perfect setting for their blissful tones, as it will be for the openers, sound artist Byron Westbrook and LEYA, a violin, harp, and voice duo.
September 29 and October 1: Fire Music (Tom Surgal: director) World Film Premiere at the NY Film Festival. After two decades of research, interviews, filming, and fundraising, Tom Surgal’s tireless quest to trace and tell the history of free jazz in his exhaustive documentary Fire Music is finally hitting the big screen with extensive interviews, rare footage and photographs, and a focus on giants like Albert Ayler, Eric Dolphy, Sam Rivers, Sun Ra and his Arkestra, and more such titans. On September 29 and October 1, catch Q&A sessions with the filmmaker himself, his wife, and White Out band-mate Lin Culbertson, and famed jazz critic Gary Giddins. Not to be missed.
September 30-October 6: Cafe d’ARTEK. From one of New York’s oldest and finest early music ensembles comes this concert of madrigals, solos, duets, and trios from early 17th-century composers Michelangelo Rossi and Biagio Marini. Both composers are shining examples of how modern early music still sounds. Presented in a cafe-style setting in two locations, St. Michael’s Church in Manhattan and 17 Frost Gallery in Williamsburg.
October 1: Brandon Seabrook Trio: Convulsionaries Album Release at Roulette. Notes-crazed guitar freak Brandon Seabrook has cranked out operatic metal with Die Trommel Fatale and math-metal with Needle Driver, and now on his new record he calls Convulsionaries (Astral Spirits), he’s mixing up elements of contemporary classical with the ferocity of metal and prog—all without a drummer. Joined by upright bassist Henry Fraser and cellist Daniel Levin, Seabrook’s Convulsionaries is scorched-earth brilliance that improbably combines Karlheinz Stockhausen, Anthony Braxton, and The Flying Luttenbachers.
Brad Cohan is a music journalist based in Brooklyn who has contributed to Bandcamp, The Village Voice, NY Observer, Time Out NY, VICE, Noisey, SPIN, CLRVYNT, Red Bull Music Academy, and other fine publications.