The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2019

All Issues
NOV 2019 Issue
Music Highly Selective Listings

Highly Selective Listings

November 1: CUP (Yuka C. Honda and Nels Cline) at Nublu 151. Cibo Matto cofounder Yuka C. Honda and Wilco’s Nels Cline are free-improvisational lifers and New York City avant-garde scene stalwarts who have been pushing the experimental and noisemaking envelope for decades. As CUP, Honda and Cline have put their adventurous and ingeniously weird minds together for blissed-out avant-pop majesty that is easy to get lost in. On Spinning Creature (Northern Spy), their dream-like debut, their guitar-looping, electronics-dizzy sound-world is melodious, playful and entrancing in blurring the lines of electronic music, techno, jazz, and pop.

November 3: Landline at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. An avant-jazz supergroup, Landline convenes four of the top players on the circuit today in tenor saxophonist Chet Doxas, bassist Zack Lober, pianist Jacob Sacks, and drummer Vinnie Sperrazza. Their self-titled debut (out November 1 via the Loyal Label imprint) is as unique as the musicians themselves: it features twelve works co-composed by all four members in a round of the children’s game “broken telephone.” Doxas, Lober, Sacks, and Sperrazza each had two weeks to begin composing a piece of music before they handed it off to the next person. As it turns out, the pieces that came together are strikingly cohesive, deeply meditative, and profoundly lyrical in their compositional and improvisational approach.

November 3: Jarno Varsted & David First Harmonica Summit at Sunview Luncheonette. Best known as the hell-raising guitarist for proto-no wave and art-rock outfit (and perennial Thurston Moore favorite) Notekillers, David First has been blazing trails in all walks of the avant-garde since the 1970s. A prolific composer, multi-instrumental virtuoso, and mastermind behind the Dave’s Waves interactive installation, First has been spinning his own unique take on genres via his “Same Animal, Different Cages” series. Tonight, First and the Berlin-based, Danish native Jarno Varsted, making his U.S. debut, will both perform solo harmonica sets before joining forces for a collaborative blowout.

November 3: The One and Only Steve Cannon: A Celebration of Life at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery. Earlier this year, the hugely influential poet, writer, and gallery owner Steve Cannon, a pillar of the Lower East Side, passed away. Founder of the cultural organization A Gathering of the Tribes, Cannon’s stature in the annals of poetry and the arts was cemented long ago. Now, his peers will pay homage to his legend with a celebration of his life with a march, salutations, poetry, music, dance, and more. The events kick off at 1:00 P.M. at the old Tribes Gallery building at 285 East 3rd Street.

November 5: Mareike Wiening at the Jazz Gallery. Jazz drummer Mareike Wiening has been busy traveling between New York City and Europe, playing one gig after another in support of leading musicians. During her breaks in that schedule, she’s been working on the music that appears on her brand new debut as a leader, Metropolis Paradise (Greenleaf). Stylish modern jazz, the album features the great pianist Dan Tepfer, and on this night, Wiening will lead her band in celebration of the record’s release.

November 6: Movement on Film with Muyassar Kurdi and Janis Brenner exhibition closing event at Areté Venue and Gallery. Interdisciplinary artist Muyassar Kurdi wields her creative talents in just about every art form. From experimental music, film, performance, video installations, photography, and movement, Kurdi runs the gamut. Movement On Film, an exhibition of Kurdi’s with dancer, choreographer, and vocalist Janis Brenner, “highlights the dialogue between the camera and body as well as celebrating embodiment, women in interdisciplinary arts, dance on film, and lineage.” Running from October 25 this closing event features Kurdi in a voice/electronics duo performance with Lucie Vítková, Brenner’s solo excerpts of the movement-voice-theatre work Inheritance: A Litany, and screening of Where She Is, an experimental short by Brenner and artist Bahar Behbahani.

November 7: JD Parran and Amir Bey at Roulette. The new Interpretations Series continues with this performance of solos and duos. Composer and multi-woodwind player JD Parran presents original compositions/improvisations with his Harlem Reunion, a music/spoken word quartet, then storyteller and ‘visual ambassador’ Amir Bey joins Parran in Elevated Moon, a ‘ritualistic happening’ that combines sound, movement, visual vibrance, and light projections.

November 7: Ka Baird at Future Space. New York City-via Chicago multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and Spires That In the Sunset Rise cofounder Ka Baird has followed up 2017’s ecstatic mind-meld, Sapropelic Pycnic (Drag City), with Respires (RVNG Intl.), another Technicolor slab of gloriously splattered transmittals from the otherworld. Baird’s electronics-processed flute work, high-flying tongue, and darting and streaking blips and bleeps is a chaotically blissful trip.

November 8 & November 22: Junglepussy and PAT at Pioneer Works. Junglepussy (a/k/a Shayna McHale) is a take-no-prisoners indie rapper with an M.O. that brings love and self-empowerment to the forefront. Her hip-hop is glitchy, dreamy, and groovy and her stream-of-consciousness rapping is mind bending. Tonight, Junglepussy takes centerstage within the new immersive exhibition from Jacolby Satterwhite, You’re at home. The immersive environment revolves around the artist’s digitally-animated series Birds in Paradise, which constructs mythological, queer universes derived from American consumerism, pop culture, African folklore, ritual, and personal narratives. Later in the month, Satterwhite joins Nick Weiss (of Teengirl Fantasy) to form PAT, and under that name will play music from Love Will Find A Way Home, a double-LP of dance music that is integral to the artist’s dazzling world-building.

November 10: Aaron Novik O+O+ Ensemble Album Release at Spectrum. Originally based in San Francisco, avant-garde jazz whiz kid Aaron Novik has brought his horn-blowing talents to New York City. An adventurous clarinetist who has played with Fred Frith and Colin Stetson, Novik has just released five wide-ranging EPs that showcase his penchant for harmony, ambience, cacophony. On O+O+ (self-released), Novik points to classic Impulse! albums, like John Coltrane’s Crescent, touchstones that helped shape his own path.

November 13: Dan Weiss Trio at Jazz Standard. Deep thinking drummer and composer Dan Weiss has been bending brains with a dizzying approach that combines jazz, metal, Indian music, and electronic composition. On 2018’s Starebaby (Pi Recordings), Weiss went for the jazz/metal jugular. Now he’s returned to the piano ensemble on Utica Box (Sunnyside) but with a twist: it features two bassists (Thomas Morgan and Eivind Opsvik) alongside pianist Jacob Sacks. An epically knotty and minimalist affair, Utica Box is a clinic in landscapes that are both fluid and intricate.

November 14: Annea Lockwood Composer Portrait at Mille Theatre. Composer and sound artist Lockwood has been an important figure in new music for decades. Her work, which includes making a sound map of the Hudson River, and setting a piano on fire, has a radical prominence that tends to overshadow her thinking about listening and organizing musicians, and this Composer Potrait concert is an exciting opportunity to catch a hint of the breadth of her work. Yarn/Wire will play the world premiere of Into the Vanishing Point—a Miller Theatre co-comission—while trumpeter Nate Wooley will perform her demanding Becoming Air, among other works.

November 14: Colin Hinton at Jazz Gallery. Drummer and composer Colin Hinton is a rising star on the local avant-jazz scene who takes his bold and expansive compositional and improvised music cues from 20th century classical composers and free jazz icons like Anthony Braxton, Muhal Ricard Abrams, and Henry Threadgill. On the hair-raising Simulacra (Panoramic Recordings), Hinton leads a powerhouse group made up of Anna Webber, Yuma Uesaka, Edward Gavitt, and Shawn Lovato that effortlessly delves into epic, complex, and free-floating pieces with ease.

November 17: Matana Roberts: Coin Coin Chapter IV: Memphis at Roulette. Saxophonist and composer Roberts Coin Coin project is unlike anything on the jazz, or even new music, scenes. She calls it “panoramic sound quilting,” and another way to hear it is as a spiritual documentary of the African American cultural and historical experience in this country. But in no way is this a museum-type show, as Roberts musical organization and biting, warm playing breath earth, life, and soul into everything she does. This is the only chance to hear this new installment in New York.

November 17: Travis Laplante at Zürcher Gallery. With his work in Battle Trace, Little Women, Subtle Degrees (with drummer Gerald Cleaver), and his solo material, Travis Laplante does mind-altering things with the tenor saxophone. Laplante continues his magical sonics and deep explorations on Human (New Amsterdam), a set informed by contemporary classical, free-improvisation, and technical metal.

November 17: MaJiD “When Questlove met John Blake Jr.” at Joe’s Pub. MaJiD (Majid Khaliq) is a Rising Star Jazz violinist, as tagged by Down Beat Magazine, no wonder considering his eclectic spin on jazz, classical music, and hip-hop. These elements will come together tonight when he presents a tribute performance to his late mentor, “The Godfather of Jazz Violin,” John Blake Jr., a musician best known for playing with Grover Washington Jr. and McCoy Tyner. The program’s title is a nod to the Roots drummer, who credits his own studies with Blake as the impetus to “pursue his signature musical mixology.”

November 18–19: Luc Ferrari: Stereo Spasms featuring Brunhild Ferrari, Chris McIntyre, Thurston Moore, David Grubbs, Matana Roberts, Eli Keszler, Keith Fullerton Whitman, and more at Pioneer Works. French composer Luc Ferrari was a pioneer of electroacoustic music and musique concrète and a titanic influence on musicians across all spectrums. This two-night homage to Ferrari brings together a lineup of avant-garde A-listers in what would have been his 90th year. Luc Ferrari: Stereo Spasms marks the U.S. publication of the book Luc Ferrari: Complete Works (Ecstatic Peace Library).

November 18–22: SEEDS (Re)Opening Festival at SEEDS. The SEEDS storefront space has long been a prime destination for the most stellar of avant-garde jazz. It’s been on a bit of hiatus, but now SEEDS is re-opening with this festival headlined by local outré jazz heads such as the piano/drums duo of Matt Mitchell and Kate Gentile, saxophonist Anna Webber’s Rectangles, Joel Ross, and more.

November 19: Arts for Arts presents Celebrating Patricia Nicholson: A 70th Birthday Night of Performances at The Clemente. Arts for Art founder and director Patricia Nicholson is celebrating a milestone birthday with a party and benefit. A downtown New York City pillar and multidisciplinary force, Nicholson’s impassioned mission of building community amongst artists and audience has been front and center since she founded Arts for Art and the Vision Festival in 1996. Tonight’s event will feature many of her peers from the music and dance community, including Dave Burrell, Cooper-Moore, John Zorn, Matthew Shipp, Ingrid Laubrock, Nicholson’s life and creative partner William Parker, and more.

November 20: New Firmament Presents: Feast of the Epiphany and Nick Podgurski at Roulette. As mastermind behind Feast of the Epiphany and New Firmament and as drummer of doom-jazz trio GRID, composer, singer, and synthist Nick Podgurski has taken a unique approach in his heady deconstruction of metal. Just released, Feast of the Epiphany’s cosmic drone-folk sprawl, Practicing Loss (Kincsem Records) manifests that vision. Podgurski, with guitarists Andrew Smiley and Caley Monahon-Ward, shows off his multi-instrumental wizardry on vocals, keyboards, and bass as the trio channel Kayo Dot, the solo work of Toby Driver, Sunn O))), and Peter Gabriel-era Genesis in its entrancing wall-of-feedback rumble. Tonight, the trio will play Practicing Loss before Podgurski performs a solo set of new music.

November 20: SUSS High Line Release Show and Rachika S. At The Sultan Room. NYC-based veteran quintet SUSS are purveyors of the “ambient country” genre. Tonight, SUSS are celebrating the release of their latest spacey and spacious twang fest called High Line (Northern Spy) where their bucolic psychedelic Americana jams meet the depths of space.

November 21: Amirtha Kidambi & Lea Bertucci and Luke Stewart & Miriam Parker at Fridman Gallery. In her band Elder Ones and in Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl, vocalist and composer Amirtha Kidambi has dazzled audiences with her hypnotic and powerful blend of the poetic, spiritual, and abstract. Sound artist and composer Lea Bertucci has long been a kindred spirit and collaborator of Kidambi’s and finally the fruits of their creative alliance is seeing the light of day. Phase Eclipse (Astral Spirits), their duo debut, is a transcendental splattering of voice and electronics that crystallizes their telepathic rapport.

November 22–23: Unsound New York 2019 at Knockdown Center. Presented by Unsound and Knockdown Center in partnership with Blank Forms, the intrepid Unsound Festival makes its way from Poland for its U.S. iteration. Kicking off at Saint Peter’s Church with legendary Polish avant-garde folk group Księżyc (November 22), Unsound offers a wild-eyed array of programming highlighted by The Bug + MISS RED, Tim Hecker + Konoyo Ensemble, and much more.

November 23: Lucy Dhegrae at National Sawdust: Lucy Dhegrae is a vocalist, an important figure in new opera and new music in general—she is the founder of the excellent annual Resonant Bodies festival of new vocal music. This concert opens a four-performance residency at National Sawdust called The Processing Series, and in these performances Dhegrae will process the experience of losing her voice after a sexual assault. Balancing her intense bravery, Dhegrae will also sing new music by Jason Eckardt, Bethany Younge, Caleb Burhans, and other, including the world premiere of Osnat Netzer’s Philomelos.

November 23: Blank Forms presents Nate Wooley: Seven Storey Mountain at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. Nate Wooley is a visionary trumpeter with a treasure trove of wildly inventive projects: knknighgh, Battles Pieces, and Seven Storey Mountain. His singular compositional technique and bracing improvisations thread the lines of jazz and experimental music. This evening, Wooley presents the sixth iteration of his Seven Storey Mountain project with a thirty-two member large-ensemble including, C. Spencer Yeh, Chris Corsano, Samara Lubelski, Ben Hall, Ryan Sawyer, Susan Alcorn, Ava Mendoza, and more, plus a choir directed by Megan Schubert.


George Grella

George Grella is the Rail’s music editor.

Brad Cohan

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.


The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2019

All Issues