February 7: BLOOR (Sam Weinberg/Andrew Smiley/Jason Nazary) Drolleries Record Release Show with Brandon Seabrook solo, Charmaine Lee/Leila Bordreuil Duo, Chris Pitsiokos + Kevin Shea and DJ Nick Podgurski at Thee Glove. This show marks the debut of BLOOR, a trio featuring three rising noisemaking locals who are creating an extraordinary punk-jazz havoc with their instruments. Saxophonist Sam Weinberg, guitarist Andrew Smiley, and drummer Jason Nazary combine for “brutal-prog” mayhem that snaps necks in the vein of The Flying Luttenbachers, dishes out hyper and hectic rhythmic funk like Ornette Coleman and Primetime, and jacks up the skronk levels like James Chance and the Contortions.
February 8: Bearthoven / Scott Wollschleger: American Dream Record Release Show with guest Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti at Tenri Cultural Institute. On the just-released American Dream, featuring the works of composer Scott Wollschleger, Bearthoven flawlessly crafts a slow-building universe of ghostly piano keys stabs and caresses, scraping strings, and percussive clangor. Tonight’s release show also features a set by violist Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti, who wrote the liner notes for the album.
February 8: Kronos Quartet + Mahsa Vahdat – “Music for Change: The Banned Countries (N.Y. premiere) at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall. In an evening of protest against the current administration’s travel ban, the Kronos Quartet teams with Persian singer Mahsa Vahdat in an attempt to heal the divide with the power of world music. Fittingly, Kronos Quartet and Vahdat will present a new program of music from the original seven “banned countries”: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
February 8: Stridulations for Glenn Branca at The Stone. Percussionist Billy Martin has anchored the splattered psychedelic funk trips and jazz grooves of Mededski Martin & Wood for three decades. Here, Martin has shacked up at The Stone for a five-night residency and this show is an essential highlight as he pays homage to the late, great, and hugely influential Glenn Branca. Titled “Stridulations for Glenn Branca” for guitars, basses, and voices, Martin, accompanied by a four-guitar dream team comprised of Brandon Ross, Wendy Eisenberg, Chris Cochran, and Matteo Liberatore—with bassist Dana Lyn and drummer Brian Chase—will honor the pioneering composer and no wave original with screaming fields of otherworldly dissonance.
February 9: Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition at Miller Theatre. Alto saxophonist and composer Rudresh Mahanthappa leads the rhythm-bending Indo-Pak Coalition, his improvising trio with guitarist Rez Abbasi and drummer Dan Weiss. Their 2017 set, titled Agrima, dazzled with its frenzied interplay and sonic fusion of Indian riffs and percussive clatter with the spirit of traditional jazz and bebop.
February 9, 16, 23: Josh Sinton’s Phantasos Playing the Music of Mark Sandman/Morphine at Barbès. Baritone saxophonist Josh Sinton and his Predicate Trio (cellist Christopher Hoffman and drummer Tom Rainey) closed out 2018 with making bones, taking draughts, bearing unstable millstones pridefully, idiotically, prosaically, a rhythmically turbulent blast of zigzagging swing and post-bop. Now Sinton is taking his low-toned muscle and warm lines to a kindred spirit of sorts: the music of the beloved Boston group, Morphine. Self-described as “low-rock”, Morphine—led by vocalist and two-string slide bass guitarist Mark Sandman—had a smoky, jazz-tweaked, art-rock sound like no other. On every Saturday in February, Sinton, with bands that include Adam Hopkins, Jason Nazary, Giacomo Merego, and Sam Ospovat, will pay tribute to Sandman (the frontman tragically passed away in 1999) with renditions of material culled primarily from Morphine’s 1993 underground rock classic, Cure for Pain.
February 12: Roulette’s Archive Launch + Artist Celebration at Roulette. Roulette has been a New York City institution for four decades now, ground zero for pioneering musicians and artists from across every medium. This evening, the launch of the Roulette Archive is celebrated as video, audio, and various relics culled from its forty-year arc is rolled out.
February 13: Emerging Composers and Henry Threadgill: Readings Workshop Concert at S.E.M. Ensemble Willow Place Auditorium. Every year, Petr Kotik’s S.E.M. Ensemble puts together a reading workshop, a public concert where they play through works by selected young composers. Informal, fascinating, and serious, this year’s concert is augmented with a performance of Henry Threadgill’s new music piece, The Arab Apocalypse. The concert is free but requires reservations.
February 14: Tredici Bacci La Fine Del Futuro Record Release Show with Jazzboy at Mercury Lounge. Masterminded by bassist and composer Simon Hanes, Tredici Bacci first experimented with a snazzy big-band homage to Ennio Morricone-esque ’60’s and ’70’s-era Italian soundtracks to sublimely kitschy effect on 2016’s Amore Per Tutti. Born to be a bandleader, Hanes continues his love of ’70’s music on the exquisite La Fine Del Futuro, an orchestral and gloriously expansive delight that channels the glossy songwriting stylings of Burt Bacharach and featuring star turns from vocalists Sami Stevens, JG Thirlwell, and Ryan Power.
February 14: Verbal Burlesque: Lydia Lunch, Tim Dahl & Matt Nelson Trio at The Safari Room at El Cortez. “Big Sexy Noise” goddess and no wave iconoclast Lydia Lunch joins forces with her partner-in-crime and Retrovirus bandmate, bassist Tim Dahl, with saxophonist Matt Nelson (of the recently rebooted Flying Luttenbachers) for what’s being billed as Verbal Burlesque. With in-your-face, spoken-word spewer Lunch at the helm, it’s sure to be a juicy affair of poetic damage and earsplitting skronk on this Valentine’s Day.
February 15: Seven)Suns, Seabrook/White Duo, Shardik, Ava Mendoza and Sally Gates at Ceremony224. Seven)Suns, a string quartet that melds the brutality and beauty of metal through the lens of contemporary-classical, headlines a style-spanning bill including, the improvising duo of guitarist Brandon Seabrook and electronics musician Philip White, prog-metal crew Shardik, and guitarists Ava Mendoza and Sally Gates.
February 16: Ecstatic Music Festival: Deerhoof + Tigue at Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center. The Ecstatic Music Festival continues its program of adventurous creative collaborations with a pair of must-sees. On February 16, art-rock staples Deerhoof—a San Francisco-based outfit who have been pushing the noisy envelope and smashing genres for a quarter-century—team with percussion trio Tigue for what’s sure to be a beats-driven maelstrom of gonzo proportions, especially with drummer Greg Saunier in the fold. Another essential performance happens on February 28 as the earth-scorching free jazz collective Irreversible Entanglements joins forces with pianist, vocalist, and improviser Amina Claudine Myers and flutist and composer Nicole Mitchell of the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians).
February 18: Q Morrow Quartet There Are Stars In Brooklyn Pre-record Release Party a Bar LunÀtico. The cross-cultural and melodious otherworld of sounds New York City-based guitarist Q Morrow melds together on There Are Stars In Brooklyn, his second record, is elixir for the ears. Morrow’s bandleader DNA is manifested on the warm, elegant, and complex tunes on the album, a set that blends Brazilian, carnatic, and Cuban flavors atop its modern jazz rhythms and grooves and classical music-bent structures.
February 20: Terry Riley’s In C, presented by Darmstadt at (le) poisson rouge. Minimalist revolutionary Terry Riley’s 1964 monumental work In C has been interpreted by Brooklyn’s Darmstadt ensemble for fifteen straight years. Tonight, they continue the tradition with a performance dedicated to Jonas Mekas with an ensemble that touts Brian Chase, Lea Bertucci, Ka Baird, Laura Ortman, Elliott Sharp, and more luminaries of the avant-garde.
February 21: Composer Portraits: Wang Lu at Miller Theater. Composer and pianist Wang Lu is one of the most forward-thinking voices in new-music, constructing a sonic framework of mind-tingling textures and patterns influenced in part by her Chinese heritage. This evening, Lu teams with members from ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble) and Yarn/Wire to perform the world premiere of her piece, A-PPA-Aratus, as well as her Childhood Amnesia (2017), Rates of Extinction (2016), Urban Inventory (2015), and Siren Song (2008).
February 21: String Noise: Fabric for String Noise Record Release Event + World Premiere of Luciano Chessa’s Fidelio for two violins at Areté Venue and Gallery. Violin duo String Noise are a unique, drawing on influences as disparate as classical music to punk and best known for their screeching covers of hardcore classics by Black Flag, Germs, and Bad Brains. This evening celebrates the release of composer Michael Byron’s Fabric for String Noise plus the world premiere of Luciano Chessa’s Fidelio for two violins.
February 23: M. Lamar’s Lordship and Bondage: The Birth of the Negro Superman at The Met Cloisters. M. Lamar is an iconoclastic composer working in myriad multi-disciplinary forms and on the fringes of goth, opera, and metal, who’s collaborated with Charlie Looker, Hunter Hunt-Hendrix, and Mivos Quartet. Lamar takes his unique vision and dauntless explorations even further with Lordship and Bondage: The Birth of the Negro Superman, a staged song cycle inspired by the writings of Hegel, Nietzsche, and Sun Ra and seen through the musical prism of classical opera, negro spiritual, afrofuturism, and doom metal “to bring to light the African American experience of enslaved and liberated consciousness.”
February 23: Ambient Church New York: William Basinski: On Time Out of Time at St. George’s Episcopal Church. Avant-garde composer William Basinski is a legend in the annals of ambient and experimental music, a radical figure whose sound design and manipulations have been at the forefront of the landscape for decades. There’s probably not a more sublime setting for Basinski’s droning sound-worlds than the 162 year-old St. George’s Episcopal Church as he performs his newest work, On Time Out Of Time. Originally composed for the 2017 installations ER=EPR and Orbihedron by the artists Evelina Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand, it “utilizes, among other things, exclusive source recordings from the interferometers of LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) capturing the sounds of the merging of two distant massive black holes, 1.3 billion years ago,” according to the press release.
February 24: Music Against Mass Incarceration IV at Secret Project Robot. The fourth installment of the biannual Music Against Mass Incarceration festival presents another jaw-dropping lineup in the fight against one of these crises of the times. This year’s edition benefits the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) and features Kill Alters, Weeping Icon, James Brandon Lewis Trio, Yvette Band, Eartheater, DJ OYASABA, and visuals from Bubba Ayoub.
February 25: False Harmonics #1: Nate Wooley’s Columbia Icefield (featuring Mary Halvorson, Susan Alcorn, and Ryan Sawyer) and MV Carbon at Pioneer Works. Like Peter Evans, Nate Wooley is a visionary trumpeter whose gallery of inventive projects defies genre. From knknighgh, Battles Pieces, Seven Storey Mountain, and his explorations of the early music of Wynton Marsalis with his Quintet, Wooley’s sui generis compositional technique and bracing improvisation blurs the lines of jazz and experimental music with aplomb. On Columbia Icefield—the title taken from the largest glacial structure in the Rocky Mountains—Wooley has brought together a group made up of guitarist Mary Halvorson, pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn, and drummer Ryan Sawyer on a sprawling and entrancing masterwork of dense textures and patterns, hypnotic dronescapes, looping and twanging guitar wizardry, and earthy tones.
February 25: Matthew Shipp Trio Signature Record Release Show at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. After two stellar records for the storied ESP-Disk label in 2018 (the solo piano set Zero and Sonic Fiction with multi-instrumentalist Matt Walerian, bassist Michael Bisio, and drummer Whit Dickey) the tirelessly creative pianist Matthew Shipp is still in forward-looking mode after decades of deconstructing the avant-garde jazz template. Aptly, the downtown staple and true original is starting 2019 with yet another boundary-pushing set for ESP-Disk. Titled Signature, Shipp and his Trio (Bisio and drummer Newman Taylor Baker) have, arguably, made their best record, a wild inventive sprawl of brain-bending meditations and bold abstractions that shows this trio on an astounding level only they occupy.
February 26: Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom Glitter Wolf Record Release Concert at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. After an ace 2018 that saw prolific drummer and composer Allison Miller team with pianist Carmen Staaf on Science Fair, a top pick for many best-off jazz records lists, she’s starting the new year off with another terrific effort. Miller’s Boom Tic Boom (with violinist Jenny Scheinman, cornetist Kirk Knuffke, clarinetist Ben Goldberg, upright bassist Todd Sickafoose, and pianist Myra Melford) is a constantly evolving outfit with a polyrhythmic flair for infectious and entrancing melodies and twang. On her fifth record, titled Glitter Wolf, her expertly-crafted penchant for ecstatic, jazz-centric compositions that surge forward with abandon is in top form.
February 28: JG Thirlwell + Ensemble at National Sawdust. Best known as Foetus, JG Thirlwell’s cred as a freethinking composer, bold experimentalist, and noisemaker is stuff of avant-garde and New York legend. Tonight, Thirlwell will perform Foetus and Wiseblood material backed by an ensemble made up of harp, viola, piano, acoustic guitar, and voice, plus new works composed with Simon Hanes of Tredici Bacci.
March 2: Steph Richards Take The Neon Lights Record Release Show at The Owl Music Parlor. Steph Richards confounded minds with the electro-jazz experiments of 2018’s Fullmoon and the multi-instrumentalist continues expanding her sonic palette on the new Take The Neon Lights. An acoustic set with pianist James Carney, bassist Sam Minaie, and drummer Andrew Munsley, Richards—on trumpet and flugelhorn—shows she’s an avant-jazz force to be a reckoned with, a forward-thinking bandleader whose knotty structures and improvisational freak-outs nod to Anthony Braxton, Yoko Ono, and John Zorn, all pioneering artists she’s recorded with.