October 4: Mat Maneri at the Jazz Gallery. Violist and composer Mat Maneri has followed in the footsteps of his father—the late, great pioneering wind player Joe Maneri—in carving out an indelible mark in avant-garde jazz. Over the last twenty five years, Maneri has been one of the deepest minds in creative music as his recordings for esteemed labels like ECM, AUM Fidelity, and Leo attest. On his newest effort, Dust (November 15 via Sunnyside), he’s made a stately and idyllic masterwork that threads the lines of jazz, classical, and minimalism as he leads a quartet made up of pianist Lucian Ban, bassist John Hébert, and drummer Randy Peterson. Tonight, Maneri presents two sets: the first will celebrate the release of Dust (with Brad Jones subbing for Hébert on bass) while the second will feature the violist improvising with luminaries Matthew Shipp, Tony Malaby, Craig Taborn, Joe Morris, and Tanya Kalmanovitch.
October 4: Brian & Brian Festival opens at Spectrum. Glenn Cornett’s garage space across for the Navy Yard is the place to go for the unusual, but he may outdo himself with this festival. The two Brians? Brian Eno and Brian Ferneyhough, the father of ambient music and the father of the “New Complexity.” The greast pianist Taka Kigawa opens this ongoing series, followed by a set of electric guitarist Max Kutner playing Eno’s Discrete Music.
October 5: ESSi at Alphaville. Raunchily lo-fi, bleak as hell, and fiercely DIY, Brooklyn duo ESSi unleash a beastly racket cut from noise-rock grime and no wave skronk on their debut full-length, Vital Creatures. Through its feedback-ringing maelstrom of scraping guitar lines, electronic shards, and damaged pop hooks, ESSi channel Drum’s Not Dead-period Liars, Sonic Youth, and Sightings. Local outside-the-box record label Ramp Local turns out to be the perfect home for the dark caterwauling and sheets of clang and clatter that guitarist and vocalist Jessica Ackerly and drummer Rick Daniel lay on, as label-mates like JOBS, Spirits Having Fun, Max Jaffe, and Buck Gooter all share likeminded avant-noise-bent aesthetics at the show.
October 6: The Tinnitus Music Series Presents Tribute to Glenn Branca. The groundbreaking catalog and monumental influence that iconoclastic composer and no wave pioneer Glenn Branca left in the wake of his passing in 2018 is both unparalleled and immeasurable. Radically sprawling touchstones such as Lesson No. 1, Indeterminate Activity of Resultant Masses, and Symphony No. 1 introduced a new sonic language for guitar ensembles now cemented in the avant-rock annals and beyond. 1981’s The Ascension is, arguably, Branca’s greatest recording, one that married earsplitting symphonic dissonance with artist-driven downtown New York City grit. In 2010, he continued that vision with the pummeling and vastly underrated The Ascension: The Sequel. Now thanks to Branca’s wife, guitarist and Ensemble member Reg Bloor, The Third Ascension is seeing the light of day on the Systems Neutralizers label. This evening, the Glenn Branca Ensemble will commemorate its release with the first posthumous live performance of his guitar music on what would have been his 71st birthday.
October 7: Jessica Pavone String Ensemble at Roulette. It’s been a banner year for avant-jazz and experimental music stalwart Jessica Pavone. Earlier this year, the prolific composer, violist, violinist, and bassist offered up the solo set, In The Action (Relative Pitch), a buzzsawing, droning, and twanging assault on the senses that was part classical, part chamber, and part noise music. For her second jaw-dropping release under own name of 2019, Pavone has assembled a strings music dream team on the otherworldly Brick and Mortar (Birdwatcher). On its five lengthy and hypnotic pieces, Pavone navigates a whole new level of sonic beauty as she leads kindred spirits, Joanna Mattrey (viola), Erica Dicker (violin), and Angela Morris (violin) on a mind-bending trip that only she knows how take.
October 8–9: Clipping at Rough Trade and Elsewhere (Zone One). L.A.-based outsider experimental rap crew Clipping—rapper Daveed Diggs and producers William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes—blur the lines of hip hop, noise, industrial, and electronic music with face-melting aplomb. In Clipping’s glitch-laced sonic din, their singular vision of deconstruction rattles off at breakneck speed like alien transmittals from another galaxy, with Diggs at the center of the power electronics-noisy, dystopian fray. Clipping are following up 2016’s Splendor & Misery, their Afrofuturist concept album that followed the sole survivor of a slave uprising on an interstellar cargo ship with the horrorcore-inspired There Existed an Addiction to Blood (Sub Pop).
October 9: GOLD DIME, Wume, P.E., and DJ Tickle Polyester at Alphaville. Cut from a similar cloth as ESSi, GOLD DIME bathe their jarring post-punk attack in primal noise and off-kilter melodies. That grasp on lo-fi and dissonant dynamics is no wonder considering the group’s pedigree: GOLD DIME is the brainchild of New York City-based multi-instrumentalist and artist Andrya Ambro, best known as half of aughts-era noise-rock duo Talk Normal. After debuting in 2017 with Nerves, Ambro has now shored up GOLD DIME’s lineup with Ian Douglas-Moore on bass and John Bohannon (a/k/a Ancient Ocean) on guitar, and tonight they celebrate the release of the ghostly My House via Fire Talk Records.
October 12: Mike Watt & The Missingmen, Unnatural Ways, and Shellshag at Mercury Lounge. Punk rock godfather Mike Watt is a living legend and at 61 he continues to embody the Minutemen’s credo of “jam econo.” Watt and the Missingmen (guitarist Tom Watson and drummer Nick Aguilar) are in the midst of a six-week U.S. trek in what the Minutemen, Stooges, and fIREHOSE bassist has dubbed the “Dick Watt Tour 2019,” in tribute to his dad and also the title of his upcoming record. In typically tireless Watt fashion, the forty-five date tour features zero days off and a setlist loaded with Minutemen classics, Stooges tunes, and covers galore. Opening is local prog-jazz juggernaut Unnatural Ways, led by guitar shredder Ava Mendoza, with bassist Tim Dahl and drummer Sam Ospovat.
October 11–13: Arts for Art at El Taller Latino Americano. Arts for Art has been a perennial rock solid foundation for its unwavering support, promotion, and advancement of cutting-edge music, poetry, visual art, and dance in New York City. AFA just completed a month-long takeover of the Lower East Side with its In Gardens series and now they are moving uptown, once again joining forces with El Taller Latino Americano to bring a stellar program of creative music A-listers to East Harlem over a three-night stint. Each evening amounts to a must-see as visionaries such as Joe McPhee (with drummer Jay Rosen), Ingrid Laubrock, Nick Dunston, the Francisco Mela Trio, and poet Papoleto Melendez (on October 13), Aruan Ortiz Trio, Angelica Sanchez Trio, and Melanie Dyer Trio (on October 11), and James Brandon Lewis Trio, Tony Malaby Quartet, and Brandon Lopez, Ingrid Laubrock, Brandon Seabrook, and Tom Rainey Quartet (on October 12) are all scheduled to appear.
October 12: TAK Ensemble at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music. This concert showcases the newest member of this new music group, clarinetist Madison Greenstone. She will be playing a piece by Michelle Lou for bass clarinet and bluetooth speakers. The program is filled out with music from notable composers Georges Aperghis, Natacha Diels, Julien Malaussena, and Jessie Marino.
October 15–19: HONK NYC! 2019 Street Music Festival and Brass Band Blowout!. HONK NYC!, the preeminent brass band bacchanal, returns to set up shop in various locations across Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Jersey City for its thirteenth edition. An “incredible honk” (to borrow from an album title by legendary trombonist, Roswell Rudd) will fill the air over these four days as stars of the brass take to the stage. Billed as a performance and education festival that “brings the tradition of global street band music and spectacle to audiences in parks, at clubs, in schools, at radio stations, and especially out in the streets”, HONK NYC! does just that and more. From opening night at Market Hotel with a lineup of Seed & Feed Marching Abominable, The L Train Brass Band, and Frank London’s Shikere Kapelye (Inebriated Orchestra) featuring Deep Singh, to the all-female Pussy Grabs Back Brass Band, Brooklyn’s Dingonek Street Band, Extra Syrup Horns, Dawn Drake and her ZapOte Batucada Band, Fanfarra Feminina Sagrada Profana (from Brazil) Atlanta, Georgia’s moretet, and The Demolition Brass Band, HONKY NYC! is a brass band spectacular.
October 15: Les Filles de Illighadad at Pioneer Works. Illighadad is an isolated village in central Niger, home to a traditional style of music called tende. This is a spare, hypnotic Tuareg music, a close relative of Malian blues, and Les Filles give it a deep, resonant ache. Expect this show to be intimate, beautiful, and moving.
October 15: Social Norms Presents CP Unit, Flesh Narc, C, Spencer Yeh & Sandy Ewen Duo and Tamio Shiraishi & Gyna Bootleg Duo at Rublulad. Guitarist Sandy Ewen and saxophonists Sam Weinberg and Chris Pitsiokos are the creative brains behind Social Norms, an adventurous monthly series which takes at Bene’s Record Shop in Red Hook and in other venues across New York City. For tonight’s installment, Ewen, with her guitar placed flat on her lap, will flash her strings-bending and picking brilliance alongside C. Spencer Yeh. Also on the bill is Pitsiokos’ ever-evolving and mind-frying CP Unit (with guitarist Sam Lisabeth, bassist Henry Fraser, and Anteloper drummer Jason Nazary) who just released a fantastic live album called Riding Photon Time. Texas noise-rock unit Flesh Narc and Tamio Shiraishi & Gyna Bootleg Duo round out the lineup.
October 17: Lauren Lee Quartet at Rockwood Music Hall 3. With a deep catalog that continues to grow at a furiously creative clip, the intrepid Chicago-based Eyes & Ears record label has proven a bastion for vital jazz-centric recordings that span the globe. 2019 has already seen albums from Buenos Aires musicians Sebastián Greschuk and Axel Filip and Brooklyn guitarist Gregg Belisle-Chi. Windowsill, by angelic and wildly versatile vocalist, pianist, and composer Lauren Lee, is Eyes & Ears’ newest release and it’s a thing of beauty. Lee is positively virtuosic in hopping from modern jazz stylings and free-improv experimentation, all with a vocal touch that is both exquisite and rapid-fire.
October 17–18: Concrète Jungle at Invisible Dog. Composer Dan Siegler has put together something both old-fashioned and new-fangled. Concrète Jungle is a live performance—this will be its world premiere—put together and played in real time out of sound clips of New Yorkers talking. His live-making is all about New York, he captures borough accents and street noise, turning the former into something of a dialogue-melody and the latter into a sonic bed of resonance and beats.
October 18–19: October 25–26: Jazz on a High Floor in the Afternoon curated by Jason Moran and Adrienne Edwards at Whitney Museum of American Art. Pianist extraordinaire Jason Moran has created a one-of-a-kind setting for his first-ever solo exhibition at the Whitney. His installation recreates three legendary New York jazz venues: Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom, 52nd Street’s The Three Deuces, and East Village’s Slugs’ Saloon. In September, free jazz giant Archie Shepp graced Moran and Edwards’ gallery with two live performances and October promises sets from two more luminaries of the jazz avant-garde: vocalist Fay Victor (on October 18 at 5:00 P.M. and 7:00 P.M. and October 19 at 2:00 P.M. and 4:00 P.M) and saxophonist Oliver Lake (on October 25 at 7:00 P.M. and October 26 at 4:00 P.M.).
October 18: Michael Vincent Waller with R. Andrew Lee at The DiMenna Center For Classical Music. One of today’s premier young classical composers, Michael Vincent Waller is a deep musical thinker with a transcendent voice. His virtuosity crystallized on his first two full-length programs (2015’s The South Shore and 2017’s Trajectories) and now he may have reached the pinnacle on his new recording, Moments (Unseen Worlds). Featuring performances by pianist R. Andrew Lee and vibraphonist William Winant, Moments is a richly detailed yet freely flowing with subtle and gripping beauty.
October 19–20: Ragas Live Festival 2019 at Pioneer Works. Ragas Live is the ultimate Indian Classical Music extravaganza. A 24-hour, twenty-four set marathon presented by Pioneer Works, NYC Radio Live, and the raga-inspired music collective Brooklyn Raga Massive, the eighth annual festival features an eclectic program headlined by a premiere from legendary avant-garde jazz bassist Reggie Workman and Cerebral Caverns (Sameer Gupta, Pawan Benjamin, and Mari Tanaka), Rajna Swaminathan and Mangal, Saraswathi Ranganathan, Dan Weiss and Miles Okazaki Duo, and many more.
October 19: Mudhoney, Kid Kongo Powers and The Pink Monkey Birds, and Ritchie White Orchestra at Market Hotel. Thirty-something years in and the reign of grunge overlords Mudhoney rages on. One year ago, these Seattle originals served up Digital Garbage, a blistering punk rock slab of Trump, social media, and evangelical bashing. Now Mudhoney are unleashing even more piss and vinegar at the current sad state of affairs in support of their new politically fired up E.P., Morning in America (Sub Pop).
October 19: Cinema Cinema at B.C. Studio. Experimental-minded punk duo Cinema Cinema have the gnarliest of riffs and a reputation for having a deafeningly loud live show. On 2017’s Man Bites Dog (Labelship/Dullest Records), guitarist and singer Ev Gold and drummer Paul Claro drew from the hardcore punk and metal fury of Black Flag with lethal doses of noisy free jazz blasts. On CCXMD, their Nefarious Industries debut, Cinema Cinema have mostly shed the vocals of previous releases and gone full on into no-holds-barred punk-jazz. With reeds-man Matt Darriau (Paradox Trio, the Klezmatics) on board, the trio iteration of Cinema Cinema raise noisy hell.
October 20: Shintaro Sakamoto at Elsewhere. A legend in Japan, Shintaro Sakamoto made his mark in that country’s underground rock scene in psychedelic garage-rock group Yura Yura Teikoku. In 2011, Sakamoto went solo and has three albums to date plus a collaboration with Devendra Banhart. Now the artist and producer is making his U.S. debut in support of his new single: the chilled-out and groovy “Boat” and its flip side, a cover of “Dear Future Person” by Cornelius. Sakamoto’s first Stateside appearance is an event that’s not to be missed.
October 24: Nick Millevoi/Mike Baggetta Duo at Shapeshifter Lab Philadelphia’s Nick Millevoi of Desertion Trio and Knoxville’s Mike Baggetta are two of the most forward-thinking and prolific guitarists on the avant-jazz circuit today. Baggetta’s Wall Of Flowers (Big Ego) ranks high on the best jazz guitar album lists of 2019 while Millevoi just published a book of twenty-five compositions called Streets of Philadelphia, all inspired by and named after streets in his Philly hometown and written for any instrumentation. Together, these two guitar wizards should create some serious magic.
October 24: Songhoy Blues at Baby’s All Right. Hailing from Mali, Songhoy Blues first burst onto the scene in 2017 with Résistance (Fat Possum), a riff-heavy, trance-rock epic that intersected classic Mali music with psychedelic jams. Now with help from Matt Sweeney (Chavez) and Will Oldham, a/k/a Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Songhoy Blues are back with an E.P. titled Meet Me In The City and it’s just as trippy. Like their Malian brethren in Tinariwen, Songhoy Blues rock out with groovy guitar heroics and desert-rock jams that are downright mesmerizing.
October 24: Mario Diaz de Leon at Queenslab. At the edge of new music and experimental metal is composer Mario Diaz de Leon, and tonight he is celebrating the release of a new album, Cycle and Release. Member of the stellar Talea Ensemble and the International Contemporary Ensemble will play music from the release, which collects pieces for acoustic instruments and electronics, and de Leon himself will perform a 30 minute, solo electronic audiovisual set.
October 25: Andrew Lamb’s Circadian Spheres of Light Project at St. Peter’s Church. Saxophonist and composer Andrew Lamb has a hefty, melodic sound that is spiritually uplifting and deeply introspective. A New York City avant-garde jazz veteran with credits that include membership in bands led by Alan Silva and Cecil Taylor, last year Lamb produced the overlooked ecstatic jazz gem, Casbah of Love (Birdwatcher Records), with bassist Tom Abbs and drummer Ryan Jewell. Tonight, Lamb brings his ambitious Circadian Spheres of Light Project to St. Peter’s Church. Mixing free-flowing improvisation, theater, and performance art, Lamb and his large multi-disciplinary ensemble, which includes a visual artist, a poet, and a magician, set out to provide stimulation set at the transitional hour of sundown for those suffering from dementia.
October 27: Electric Guitar Quartet Dither Presents The Dither Extravaganza! 2019 at Frost Theater of the Arts. Dither—the New York-based electric guitar quartet of Taylor Levine, Joshua Lopes, James Moore, and Gyan Riley—are cosmic six-string wizards. They’ve played the music of John Zorn and collaborated with fellow guitarists such as Lee Ranaldo, Mary Halvorson, Fred Frith, and Nels Cline. Their Dither Extravaganza! 2019 program is loaded with heavies from the local experimental music scene. They perform throughout the evening and will team with Extravaganza artists on a large ensemble version of James Tenney’s Swell Piece and, notably, there will be a world premiere of a new prepared guitar piece for Dither titled Feather Mask composed by JG Thirlwell. With Alicia Hall Moran, Ryan Power, Mivos Quartet, Tredici Bacci, Paula Matthusen & Philip White Duo, the Dither Extravaganza! 2019 a must-attend.
October 28: Mary Halvorson & John Dieterich at Roulette. Fresh off her MacArthur “Genius” award, multifaceted composer and guitarist Mary Halvorson continues to push boundaries of tone, texture, and patterns. Those dynamics manifest to the fullest on the labyrinthine soundscapes Halvorson creates alongside Deerhoof guitarist John Dieterich on A Tangle of Stars (New Amsterdam Records). Insanely knotty and playfully abstract, Halvorson and Dieterich are a guitar duo dream come true.
October 30: LPR Presents Wolf Eyes and Pharmakon at Brooklyn Bazaar. Under the Pharmakon moniker, experimental musician and sound artist Margaret Chardiet uses jackhammer electronics and indecipherable screams to splatter on her tattered canvas corrosive noisescapes, as heard on her fourth record, the just-dropped Devour (Sacred Bones). With self-described “trip metal” and “psycho-jazz” purveyors Wolf Eyes headlining this bill, count on a full-volume freak-out.