Staff Consensus Picks
- September 9: Strange and Beautiful: String Quartets by John Lurie at Le Poisson Rouge. For a taste of a full John Lurie celebration Sept. 27th at Town Hall, Ensemble LPR will be performing John Lurie’s string quartets as well as other Lurie compositions re-imagined for string quartet. Lurie, well-known for his band the Lounge Lizards, perhaps better known for his roles in Jim Jarmusch’s films, will also be exhibiting paintings earlier that evening, also at LPR.
- September 13: Yoshi Wada & Tashi Wada, ISSUE Project Room. Yoshi Wada, a veteran of the Fluxus movement who studied with many of the great minimalist artists of the 20th century, makes his first ever appearance at ISSUE with his son Tashi Wada. The duo will present an exploration of the ideas of both hearing and sound by way of a multitude of instruments, both electric and acoustic. Deep, patient listening will reward concertgoers.
- September 24: Battle Trance and Greg Fox at Roulette. Battle Trance consists of four tenor saxophonists layering textures and using unusual fingerings and circularly breathing and just generally defying categorization; Greg Fox plays drums with ZS and many others.
- September 5: Avant Media opens their season with John Cage’s magnum opus Song Books. If you missed it, no regrets, because the Avant calendar this season is their most ambitious, five additional concerts and a festival. I’m most excited about a November 19 program of music from wandelweiser composer Michael Pisaro—his three hour duet Exchange—and new music from Nate Wooley, dedicated to deeply avant-garde composer and language theorist Kenneth Gaburo, January 19.
- September 5: JACK. Not the quartet, the venue. In Clinton Hill and two years old, this space is building up “a robust music program, with a strong emphasis on free improvisation,” according to Artistic Director Alec Duffy. Opening weekend is a multi-generational group of pianists: Connie Crothers, Cooper-Moore and Angelica Sanchez, and coming up there is what promises to be a monster set of shows from the Peter Evans Quintet with Evan Parker and Joe McPhee.
- September 6: The Sacred Lute of Orstad Elahi at the Metropolitan Museum. There is no other place in NYC where so many worlds collide as the Met Museum, and under Concerts and Lectures Director Limor Tomer, those worlds have been increasingly deep and expansive. This season, you can hear musicians playing instruments from the collection, and there are performances in many gallery spaces. Not only will the great Salif Keita play, but there will be major stagings of experimental opera from Ryoji Ikeda, Jacob TV and Opera Erratica, and both John Zorn and the Salzburg Marionette Theatre return.
- September 9: BAM Next Wave Festival 2014. I’ve been critical of BAM’s Next Wave programming in the past, so it gives me great pleasure to proclaim that this season they have a beautiful and ambitious festival, built around the 50th anniversary of Nonesuch Records. The biggest events are three concerts from the Philip Glass Ensemble and Steve Reich and Musicians (September 9 - 11), but don’t neglect Dawn Upshaw and Gilbert Kalish playing songs from Ives and George Crumb (September 11), Caetano Veloso (September 25 - 26), Bryce Dessner’s Black Mountain Songs (November 20 - 23), and Vijay Iyer’s Music of Transformation (December 18 - 20). And there is so much more for every taste.
- September 11: Snugs Concert Series. Small, local, and the premiere series for the ongoing endeavor of avant-garde jazz. September opens with Matana Roberts playing alto and singing her Coin Coin concept, solo, and continues with an incredible line-up of Evan Parker with Joe Morris and Nate Wooley, The Marks Brothers (Elias and Dresser bass duo), and Stephen Haynes, J.D. Parran and William Parker. October begins with a rare appearance by saxophonist Andrew White III, and that’s all just scratching the surface. Make this a regular stop.
- September 18: eighth blackbird at Miller Theatre. Miller’s season opens this chamber ensemble, a staged concert of contemporary classical and 17th century Italian music. If one concert can show how Miller, under the leadership of Melissa Smey, is a the place where masterpieces of modern and early music meet, it’s this one. That should also merely whet your appetite for another season of Composer Portraits, Renaissance vocal music, and concerts where Bach meets, among others, Helmut Lachenmann.
- Symphony Space. More of what we like and promote at the Rail, wide range and high quality. On the Upper West Side, you can hear chamber music, see opera broadcasts from the Royal Opera House, catch bluegrass, reggae, old-time New Orleans, and Balkan brass band music. There will be new, live music to old films—Karsha Kale with Enter the Dragon and Marc Ribot accompanying The Kid are two highlights—and a special series, Night Out with Richard Hell, with Hell talking and performing with Lydia Loveless, Donald Cumming, and more guests.
- September 12: Transpacific Sound Paradise Live Broadcast at Barbès. World music from WFMU, broadcast live from a worldly setting.
- September 23: Carla Bozulich and William Tyler at Le Poisson Rouge. Two subjects of recent Rail articles in one night: Avant-garde mainstay Carla Bozulich together with the expansive guitar landscapes of William Tyler.
- September 23: Mt. Eerie at Trans-Pecos. For more than fifteen years now, first as the Microphones and now as Mt. Eerie, Phil Elverum has been making sui generis lo-fi music that falls somewhere between Daniel Johnston and Metal Machine Music.
- September 11: Ava Mendoza trio at Silent Barn. A cursory listen to Mendoza’s guitar-playing is enough to gather that Mendoza has nurtured and experimented with the six strings with utmost care and adeptness. Though not a household name, her skills are hugely praised among a niche of avant-jazz aficionados. Not to be missed.
- September 19: There Will Be Blood screening and live film scoring as a part of the Worldless Music festival at United Palace. Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead will be performing the score alongside a full orchestra for screenings of this now classic film. This has all the makings of being an unforgettable experience.
- September 22: YACHT, White Fang at Mercury Lounge. Those intoxicated by disco’s latest revival will revel in YACHT’s unique brand of punk-funk, electrified by Jona Bechtolt’s computerized spinning and Claire Evans pop vocals. Their conceptual albums are as mesmerizing as they are fun as they are cheeky. White Fang will open for them, whose riot grrl style thrash and delivery might bring a frisson to a different generation from those nostalgic for disco.
- September 27: This Ain’t No Mouse Music screening at Pioneer Works. This musical documentary follows the curious personality that is the founder of Arhoolie Records, Chris Stratchwitz, in his quest through American hinterlands and their music. New Yorkers have the good fortune of catching it in conjunction with a live musical line-up this evening, curated by the illustrious Olivier Conan of Barbés records.
- September 18: The Skygreen Leopards, Baby’s All Right. The Skygreen Leopards are perhaps the most enduring and endearing artifact from the Bay Area’s Jeweled Antler collective. Their music represents some of the sunniest, most pastoral transmissions from the mid–2000s New Weird America explosion. Their new album on Woodsist—their first in 5 years—is poppier than their previous material, but still feels like a Byrds-influenced stoned daydream, and that’s a good thing.
- September 23: Iasos, Baby’s All Right
My cassette copy of Iasos’s 1975 album “Inter-Dimensional Music” has always whisked me off to sleep more effectively than my Ambien prescription. This is wonderfully relaxing, decadently rich new age music from one of founders of the new age movement. In a rare NYC appearance, Iasos promises a “full multi media concert.” Here’s a brief taste.
- September 26: Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier, Trans-Pecos. Over the last several years, Felicia Atkinson has released numerous albums—mostly cassettes— under her own name and also under the moniker Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier. She brings her hazy ambient act to Trans-Pecos under her pseudonym. Atkinson’s adventurous forays into the celestial realms promise that she isn’t just another boring ambient artist. This is heavenly stuff.
- October 1: Peter Jefferies, ISSUE Project Room. One of New Zealand’s most enigmatic and talented musicians (and that’s saying a lot), Jefferies returns to the US for the first time in 20 years to play 2 sets in support of the re-issue of his superb sophomore album, 1994’s “Electricity.” Available now from Superior Viaduct records, “Electricity” paints a broad canvas from fractured post-punk to lo-fi lullabies. Here’s one of the latter.