March 6: Artist Studio: Roscoe Mitchell at Park Avenue Armory. Avant-garde jazz icon Roscoe Mitchell, a founding member of the The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, is nearing eighty years old and is still pushing the sound envelope. A composer, improviser, and master of the woodwinds, Mitchell remains a tirelessly creative spirit whose Bells for the Southside (ECM) was one of 2017’s best records, while recent collaborations with piano colossus Matthew Shipp and free jazz collective Irreversible Entanglements has yielded substantial fruit. For these two essential performances (sets at 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.), Mitchell will perform works culled from his oeuvre in solo guise, duo format (with percussionist William Winant), and larger ensembles, capped by a group improvisation. Not to be missed.
March 7: Eli Wallace Barriers Record Release Show with Ben Cohen, Matt Nelson, and Joanna Mattrey/Ben Gerstein/Sean Ali at HappyLucky no. 1. On his punk-meets-jazz-meets-metal-meets-prog set from 2018, Slideshow Junkie, Brooklyn-via-Oakland piano firebrand Eli Wallace established himself as a force in the creative music underground. With Barriers, Wallace’s just-released solo piano sprawl, his razor-sharp intensity and freewheeling angularity calls to mind Cecil Taylor, Matthew Shipp, and Matt Mitchell throughout its epic and continuous thirty-seven minutes.
March 7: Shayna Dulberger: Bitter Sky with Fay Victor, Ava Mendoza, and Juan Pablo Carletti at Roulette. A bassist with a monolithic sound both on upright and electric, Shayna Dulberger has made indelible marks on a wealth of scenes, including improvised music, punk, and noise. Here she tends to her free-improvisational skillset as a 2019 Roulette resident artist on a program inspired by minimalist Anthony Caro’s steel sculpture Bitter Sky (1983); she will be accompanied by vocalist Fay Victor, guitarist Ava Mendoza, and drummer Juan Pablo Carletti.
March 7–9: Arts for Art and The Kitchen presents Identity: Freedom with Andrew Cyrille, William Parker, and Dave Burrell at The Kitchen. The free jazz organization Arts for Art takes over The Kitchen for a three-night stint in which music, poetry, dance, political discussion, and social awareness will be front and center. Under the moniker Identity: Freedom, avant-garde jazz giants Andrew Cyrille, William Parker, and Dave Burrell will all premiere works that address America and humanity, civil rights, and Haitian ancestry.
March 9: Kenny Millions + David Grollman, New York Review of Cocksucking, Gyna Bootleg, and Dreamcrusher at H0l0. Florida-based squawking saxophone iconoclast Kenny Millions is an ‘out’-jazz legend who has played with likeminded nihilistic improvisers like Weasel Walter and Damon Smith. The last time Millions played these parts, it resulted in the essential live album, Fuck Music, Tell Jokes, You’ll Make More Money, so this performance with percussionist David Grollman is a must-see.
March 9: The Stone Series at HappyLucky no. 1 presents AMI + Tim Dahl. This month, John Zorn takes his Stone Series and branches out into Brooklyn with a weekly performance series at Crown Heights’ HappyLucky no. 1. Tonight, Child Abuse and Lydia Lunch Retrovirus bassist Tim Dahl brings his effects-laden, feedback-drenched low-end hysterics to a collaboration with the Tokyo-based cross-media artist and vocalist Ami Yamasaki (a/k/a AMI), who has worked with Keiji Haino, Ned Rothenberg, Ikue Mori, Ryuichi Sakamoto and other experimental luminaries.
March 13: Lou Reed Drones at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine. March 2 marked what would have been Lou Reed’s 77th birthday, so it’s fitting his creative and life partner, Laurie Anderson, is presenting another installment of “Drones”, an otherworldly experience of sonic soundscapes using guitars from The Velvet Underground leader’s historic collection. Curated by Reed’s former guitar technician, Stewart Hurwood, this installation creates waves of dissonance, drones, and harmonics as the guitars are positioned in an arrangement against a stack of amplifiers. Inside the majestic Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the sound-world of “Drones” will be like no other.
March 13: Muyassar Kurdi’s “Field Dances” with performances by Ka Baird and Aki Onda, Lucie Vítková and Muyassar Kurdi, and Lea Bertucci at Fridman Gallery. Interdisciplinary wunderkind Muyassar Kurdi is a ubiquitous force of nature in the experimental music, film, performance, and movement mediums. This evening, Kurdi explores her cinematic side as she premieres “Field Dances," a 16mm dance film that touches on space, scale, micro-movements, and anatomy with movement by Kurdi and Eryka Dellenbach and sound artist Ka Baird providing the live soundtrack. Rounding out the program is Kurdi in collaboration with Lucie Vítková, and a set by Lea Bertucci.
March 14: Interpretations Series at Roulette. This leading new music series tonight presents two of the most important figures on the New York scene, Joan La Barbara and Tom Chiu. La Barbara will perform music from her long-standing in-progress opera, Dreams of Water Beyond One’s Depth, a mediation on the works of booth Virginia Woolf and Joseph Cornell. Chiu, first violinist in the great Flux Quartet, will lead lead hid own Ensemble Matrix in a set that places the contemporary DJ template over live, acoustic music-making.
March 14: Hearing Things Here’s Hearing Things Record Release Show at Nublu 151. Saxophonist and composer Matt Bauder has mastered classic jazz stylings as leader of Day in Pictures while boasting a eclectic array of sideman work, including Iron & Wine, Arcade Fire, and Rob Mazurek’s Exploding Star Orchestra. As leader of Hearing Things, Bauder—with organist JP Schlegelmilch and drummer Vinnie Sperrazza—tackles organ jazz and on Here’s Hearing Things (Yeggs), it’s a groovy and hyper jazz-noir and surf-rock affair that melds The Lounge Lizards’ downtown vibe and the keyboard splatter of Medeski Martin & Wood with The Ventures.
March 15: Syncretics Series: Hprizm: PRESSURE WAVE / Josh Sinton: krasa at ISSUE Project Room. The Chris McIntyre-curated Syncretics Series, a platform that brings together contrasting musical sound-worlds, continues its run with this stellar program. Anti-Pop Consortium rapper and producer Hprizm presents PRESSURE WAVE, a tape loop-manipulating work that intersects elements from Musique concrète and hip hop, while low reed player Josh Sinton brings his tones to krasa, “a series of investigations exploring the amplification and sound magnification of the contrabass clarinet.”
March 15: Larry Grenadier The Gleaners Record Release Show at Zürcher Gallery. After a long and storied career, bassist extraordinaire Larry Grenadier—an adventurous and thoughtful player whose collective résumé includes work with Pat Metheny, Brad Mehldau, and Chris Potter—has made his solo bass debut with The Gleaners (ECM). Comprised of a mix of originals and covers, Grenadier, with a seemingly effortless blend of lyrical beauty, bracing improvisational command, and melodic phrases, has made one of 2018’s best jazz records and tonight he celebrates its release.
March 16: Yellowstone Apocalypse (Joe Tomino and Mike Sopko), Jeremiah Cymerman & Jessica Pavone Duo, and Ava Mendoza at Brooklyn Bazaar. Virtuosic violist Jessica Pavone just offered up the sublime dreamscapes of In The Action (Relative Pitch), a turbulent and twangy mind-meld of solo viola and effects that is as bracing as it is serene. Last year, clarinetist and electronics maestro Jeremiah Cymerman released Decay of the Angel, a riveting maestrom that impeccably combined downtown avant-garde jazz, technical metal, and electronic music to earsplitting and meditative effect. Tonight, these two musical freethinkers team up for what promises to be a shapeshifting collaboration.
March 16: Golem and Zion80 at DROM. Two of the leading cutting-edge groups working on the fringes of traditional Jewish music unite to ring in Purim. Klezmer punks Golem—led by vocalist and accordionist Annette Ezekiel Kogan—unleash a raucous hybrid of Yiddish and Eastern European music with the ethos of punk, as heard on their most recent album, the Tony Maimone-produced Tanz. Cut from a similarly eclectic musical cloth, Jon Madof’s ten-piece party collective Zion80 mash up Jewish music through the wild lens of the Afrobeat funk master Fela Anikulapo Kuti, as heard on its self-titled debut released in 2013.
March 17: Outskirts Piano Series III presents Alexis Marcelo, Thollem, and Mary Prescott at 254 Schenck Avenue, Brooklyn. For the third edition of Eli Wallace’s Outskirts Piano Series, the epically prolific and shamanistic pianist Thollem—a master of the keys whose list of creative partners includes Nels Cline, William Parker, Mike Watt, Brian Chase, Sara Lund, Arrington de Dionyso, and the late Pauline Oliveros, to name a few—makes a rare New York City appearance. An experimental music titan and activist who makes his life on the road, with hundreds of records to his name, Thollem has left no stone unturned in his creative and political-minded quest. From blues, jazz, post-classical, noise, and electronic music to his ventures into singing, Thollem is a fearless composer of the most protean order.
March 19–20: Carla Bley with Andy Sheppard and Steve Swallow at Jazz Standard. A jazz treasure and true original, composer, pianist, and bandleader Carla Bley is a living legend with a deep catalog that has blazed new trails and influenced countless players. For this rare two-night stand, Bley has summoned her longtime creative music cohorts in bassist Steve Swallow and soprano and tenor saxophonist Andy Sheppard, a trio she’s been playing with since the mid-nineties and one whose last record, Trios, came out in 2013 via the famed ECM label.
March 20: David Grubbs + Oren Ambarchi at Public Records . Just opened this month, the Gowanus-based Public Records is a performance space, hi-fi bar, and cafe whose experimental and improvised music and jazz-leaning program is a cutting-edge music seekers’ dream. This performance manifests its forward-looking vision as two world-class improvisers, guitarist David Grubbs and Australian multi-instrumentalist and composer Oren Ambrachi, team for a set of out-there meditations and harsh noisescapes.
March 21: Sun of Goldfinger (David Torn, Tim Berne, and Ches Smith) at Nublu 151. Guitarist David Torn is an experimental jazz pioneer and textural sound sculptor who has masterfully pedal hopped his way to trance-like ambient beauty and heroic strings-bending glory over his decades-long career arc. Torn, with his kindred sound spirits, saxophonist Tim Berne and drummer Ches Smith, traverse interstellar zones on the spaced-out and skronky Sun of Goldfinger (ECM), an electronics-soaked masterpiece of percussive-fueled fury, sax blasts, fretboard wizardry, and hypnotic textures and patterns.
March 22: Turning Jewels Into Water Map of Absences Record Release Show at Areté Venue and Gallery. The sonic architecture that Turning Jewels Into Water—the duo of Indian-born drummer/producer Ravish Mominalong with Haitian electronic percussionist Val Jeanty—construct on its just-released debut record, Map of Absences (FPE Records) bursts with mind-altering glitches and breakneck rhythms. Tonight, Turning Jewels Into Water rings in its release with its beat-centric, improvisational-bent electronic pulsations, a scratchy and jarring exploration of electronic music thick with Haitian rhythms and under the influence of Indian, North African, and Middle Eastern musical traditions.
March 22–23: S.E.M Ensemle at Willow Place Auditorium. Composer/conductor/flutist Petr Kotik’s S.E.M. Ensemble is distinguished not only performances of ultra-contemporary works, but by their dedication to establishing a repertoire of modernist classics. While the second night features the tenth anniversary of the Mivos Quartet, who with Yarn/Wire will play music by Alvin Lucier, Alex Huddleston, and Alex Mincek’s Torrent, the core of the S.E.M.—Kotik, pianist Joe Kubera and percussionist Chris Nappi—will perform Morton Feldman’s monumental, five-hour For Philip Guston, with it’s haunting coda melody built on C-A-G-E. These concerts are free but require a R.S.V.P.
March 23: R. Andrew Lee in SoHo at Daniel Goode’s Loft (167 Spring Street, buzzer #3). The piano series continues at the loft of clarinetist and composer Daniel Goode with performances of pieces by Craig Shepard, Adrian Knight, Michael Vincent Waller, Cecilia Livingston, Anthony Genge, Randy Gibson, and Ann Southam.
March 23: Fiery Stones: A Night of Music and Poetry with William Hooker and William Parker, Marc Edwards Group and more at Muchmore’s. A night of music and poetry is headlined by avant-garde jazz giants William Parker and William Hooker with steadfast drummer Marc Edwards (Cecil Taylor, David S. Ware, Cellular Chaos), fresh off a blistering duo set with guitarist Reg Bloor, leading a smaller iteration of his Slipstream Time Travel Group.
March 25: Alternative Guitar Summit: Honoring Ralph Towner at DROM. Multifaceted guitarist Joel Harrison presents the ninth installment of his Alternative Guitar Summit with yet another star-studded and innovative festival reflective of his style-spanning aesthetic. On March 21 at (le) poisson rouge, Harrison and avant peers like Nels Cline, Brandon Seabrook, and Ben Monder will pay homage to the music of Woodstock with a program billed as “The Music of Woodstock: 50 Years Later,” then on March 25, Harrison and friends honor revolutionary guitarist Ralph Towner, whose seminal recordings with John Abercrombie can be traced as a blueprint for modern jazz guitar, while his groups like Oregon set in motion the “chamber jazz” genre. Harrison will interview Towner from the stage this evening in addition to performing, as will Cline, Monder, and more who were influenced by Towner’s guitar work. Alternative Guitar Summit also presents Towner performing solo at The Jazz Standard on March 27 and 28.
March 25: False Harmonics #2: YoshimiO / Robert A.A. Lowe Duo & Jaap Blonk Quartet (featuring Weasel Walter, Jeb Bishop, and Damon Smith) at Pioneer Works. Dutch composer, performance artist, and improviser Jaap Blonk brings his dizzying and ingenious sound poetry to Red Hook’s Pioneer Works as part of False Harmonics, its monthly boundary-crossing new-music series. Blonk joins forces forces once again with double bassist Damon Smith (the pair have recorded as a duo and in other configurations), who has brought along his partner in improvising mayhem, percussionist Weasel Walter, and trombonist Jeb Bishop, for what is sure to be a frenzied ride. Headlining is Japanoise pioneer YoshimiO (Boredoms, OOIOO) in a duo with Robert A.A. Lowe (a/k/a Lichens and member of OM).
March 27: Child Abuse, Psychic Graveyard, PC Worship, Controlled Bleeding, and Conduit at Brooklyn Bazaar It’s been a long five years since grind-metal noise-mongers Child Abuse spewed out their synth-stabbing yet weirdly catchy brutality on Trouble in Paradise, but rumor has it a new record is imminent. Tonight, they lead a noise-splattered spectacular with a host of likeminded bruisers guaranteed to melt ears.
March 28: Composer Portraits: Tyshawn Sorey at Miller Theater at Columbia University. With last year’s monumental meditative drone work Pillars (Firehouse 12), composer, percussionist and 2017 MacArthur “genius” fellow Tyshawn Sorey further exemplified how ahead of the curve he is while continuing to defy any and all classification. Sorey’s creativity is on display tonight as part of the Composer Portraits series when two new works will be performed by world-class new-music ensembles, JACK Quartet and the International Contemporary Ensemble.The concert will include a world premiere of a Miller Theater commission and a New York premiere.
March 30: Mike Baggetta with Mike Watt & Stephen Hodges Wall of Flowers Album Release Tour at Coney Island Baby. An avant-jazz guitarist who can both shred and trip out on psych-rock jams, Mike Baggetta’s command of the six-string calls to mind the fretboard finger work of Nels Cline, Bill Frisell, and David Torn. On the just-released Wall of Flowers, Baggetta, backed by his all-star rhythm section of bassist Mike Watt and drummer Jim Keltner, shows his textural guitar wizardry in using atmospherics and looping effects for space-jazz-type vibes. Tonight, the guitarist teams with the legendary Minutemen bassist and Stephen Hodges (subbing for Keltner), the drummer on Watt’s 1997 touchtone, the rock-opera Contemplating the Engine Room, a record that was hugely influential on Baggetta and one that Wall of Flowers invokes with its proggy improvisations.
March 31: The Zone Music Workshop series presents Tyshawn Sorey & Chris Pitsiokos Duo and Luke Stewart Solo at De-Construkt. Three creative music marvels of the avant-garde come together for a new series in Red Hook. The brainchild of alto saxophonist and composer phenom Chris Pitsiokos, The Zone Music Workshop is a genre-defying, cutting-edge series whose focal point is featuring intrepid musicians who are crossing boundaries and challenging the status quo. Its first edition features Pitsiokos in a duo with composer and percussionist Tyshawn Sorey, and a solo bass outing by Luke Stewart, whose 2018 set, Works for Upright Bass and Amplifier (Astral Spirits), was thunderous drone glory.