Lucid Culture


Concert Review: The Chelsea Symphony Play on Halloween 2009

It was a dark and stormy night. Actually, it wasn’t exactly that –  instead, a brutally humid afternoon with the occasional sputter of raindrops sprinkling  the revelers whose numbers gathered as the sun went down. Gathered in the beautiful Gilded Age interior of St. Paul’s German Church in Chelsea, an enthusiastic audience was treated to an imaginative, innovative, skillful performance of both old chestnuts (or old jack-o’-lanterns, maybe?) and new compositions by a couple of members of the Chelsea Symphony, one of New York’s newest and most adventurous orchestras.

With maestro Mark Seto on the podium, they opened with a shockingly subtle version of Moussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain. Other orchestras treat this as classical heavy metal, barrelling through it with a gleeful abandon. In this ensemble’s hands, it was a joyous, festive romp through a series of Balkan-inflected dances, more delight than menace. Up close, the stereo effects of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s arrangement were nothing short of psychedelic, and the dynamics were striking, notably the beautiful flute solo at the end as the sun rises and the spirits have all gone back to wherever they linger when they’re not dancing up a storm.

Next on the program were two richly and compellingly performed world premieres. The droning introduction to Benjamin Brody’s Prelude seemed at first like it would remain static, in a Steve Reich vein, but quietly and methodically built to a starkly beautiful minimalism, long crescendos leading into a memorable two-bar theme where the percussionist’s tubular bells grew more insistent, finally to the point where they introduced each phrase as they recurred. And then suddenly it was over. Bassist Tim Kiah‘s Rise From the Ashes built in a circular fashion, something akin to Meredith Monk, its second movement swaying along on the slinky pulse of a modified bossa nova bassline into a cinematic waltz. At the end, bells added an eerie ninth interval to its deliberate, stately beat.

The second half of the program began with an idiosyncratic yet rewarding take on Saint-Saens’ Danse Macabre. Like the Moussorgsky before it, it’s a staple of the horror classical canon. Under the direction of the second of the afternoon’s two conductors, Miguel Campos Neto, it became a careful, even stately, courtly dance, albeit a totally twisted one. Those who know this from innumerable recorded versions will recall how right before the final crescendo, the brass rises, goosebumps and all, against the strings’ macabre main theme and this was as lushly memorable as it was ghoulish. They closed with several selections from Mozart’s Don Giovanni: to their credit, orchestra, conductor, singers and choir did their best to emphasize every conceivably interesting turn in the melody or the arrangement, but ultimately these were exercises in futility. Only at the end, where Don Giovanni defiantly refuses to repudiate his misdeeds and is sent off to hell on the wings of some bitter minor-key swells, does the material rise above the level of schlock and that doesn’t make what comes before worth waiting through. Maybe you have to be a serious opera fan to “get it” – otherwise, it seemed completely buffo, a strange and ultimately unwanted contrast with the rich emotionality and sensitivity of the rest of the bill.

November 2, 2009 Posted by | Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews | Leave a comment

NYC Live Music Calendar Plus Other Events for November-December 2009

Lots of interesting New Year’s Eve shows – click here for a kick-ass, comprehensive calendar for January and February 2010.

As always, weekly events first followed by the daily listings:

If you can’t make it to this year’s Womex in Copenhagen, you can stream the 2009 Womex album with all kinds of killer world music acts: Kayhan Kalhor and Brooklyn Rider, Watcha Clan and more.

Sundays there’s a klezmer brunch at City Winery, show starts round 11:30 AM – 2 PM, $10 cover, no minimum, lots of good bands.

Sundays from half past noon to 3:30 PM, bluegrass cats Freshly Baked (f.k.a. Graveyard Shift), featuring excellent, incisive fiddle player Diane Stockwell play Nolita House (upstairs over Botanica at 47 E Houston). Free drink with your entree.

The 2009-10 series of organ concerts at St. Thomas Church continues most every Sunday (holidays excepted) at 5:15 sharp, featuring an allstar cast of performers. Concerts continue through the end of May 2010.

Stephane Wrembel plays Sundays at Barbes at 9. The guitarist has few if any equals as an interpreter of Django Reinhardt, but it’s where he takes the gypsy jazz influence in his own remarkably original, psychedelic writing – and what he brings to the Django stuff – that makes all the difference. One of the most interesting players in any style of music, anywhere in the world.

Every Sunday the Ear-Regulars, led by trumpeter Jon Kellso and (frequently) guitarist Matt Munisteri play NYC’s only weekly hot jazz session starting around 8 PM at the Ear Inn on Spring St.  Hard to believe, in the city that springboarded the careers of thousands of jazz legends, but true. This is by far the best value in town for marquee-caliber jazz: for the price of a drink and a tip for the band, you can see world-famous players (and brilliant obscure ones) you’d usually have to drop $100 for at some big-ticket room. The material is mostly old-time stuff from the 30s and 40s, but the players (especially Kellso and Munisteri, who have a chemistry that goes back several years) push it into some deliciously unexpected places.

Every Sunday, hip-hop MC Big Zoo hosts the long-running End of the Weak rap showcase at the Pyramid, 9 PM, admission $5 before 10, $7 afterward. This is one of the best places to discover some of the hottest under-the-radar hip-hop talent, both short cameos as well as longer sets from both newcomers and established vets.

Mondays at the Fat Cat the Heun Choi String Quartet play a wide repertoire of chamber music from Bach to Shostakovich starting at 7

Mondays at the Jazz Standard it’s all Mingus, whether with the Mingus Orchestra, Big Band or Mingus Dynasty: you know the material and the players are all first rate. Sets 7:30/9:30 PM, $25 and worth it.

Mondays at the Delancey on the main floor, 8:30 PMish Botanica frontman and master of menace Paul Wallfisch presents the edgiest weekly music series in town, playfully called Small Beast, an international mix of some of the most intelligent (and frequently darkest) performers passing through town. It’s free and there’s always some kind of drink special or freebee. If you wish Tonic was still open, Wallfisch is keeping the flame alive. He typically opens the night solo on piano, reason enough to put this on your calendar. January artists include Greg Garing, Greta Gertler, Elisa Flynn, Kings County Queens, Kerry Kennedy and Marni Rice.

Also Monday nights Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks, a boisterous horn-driven 11-piece 1920s/early 30’s band play Sofia’s Restaurant, downstairs at the Edison Hotel, 221 West 46th Street between Broadway & 8th Ave., 3 sets from 8 to 11, surprisingly cheap $15 cover plus $15 minimum considering what you’re getting. Even before the Flying Neutrinos or the Moonlighters, multi-instrumentalist Giordano was pioneering the oldtimey sound in New York; his long-running residency at the old Cajun on lower 8th Ave. is legendary. He also gets a ton of film work (Giordano wrote the satirical number that Willie Nelson famously sang in Wag the Dog).

Also Mondays the free reggae show that used to be held at Rehab has gravitated to SOB’s, 9ish, free w/rsvp to, 21 and over.

Also Mondays in January starting on the 18th (and all of February) the Barbes house band, Chicha Libre plays there starting around 9:30. They’ve singlehandedly resurrected an amazing subgenre, chicha, which was popular in the Peruvian Amazon in the late 60s and early 70s. With electric accordion, cuatro, surf guitar and a boisterous rhythm section, their mix of obscure classics and originals is one of the funnest, most danceable things you’ll witness this year. Perhaps not so strangely, they sound a lot like Finnish surf rockers Laika and the Cosmonauts in their most imaginative moments.

Also Mondays in January Rev. Vince Anderson and his band play Union Pool in Williamsburg, two sets starting around 11 PM. The Rev. is one of the great keyboardists around, equally thrilling on organ or electric piano, an expert at Billy Preston style funk, honkytonk, gospel and blues. He writes very funny, very politically astute, frequently salacious original gospel songs and is one of the most charismatic, intense live performers of our time. Paula Henderson from Burnt Sugar is the lead soloist on baritone sax.

The second and fourth Tuesday of the month there are free organ recitals at half past noon at Central Synagogue, Lexington Ave. at 55th., an exciting list of first-class performers in a sonically gorgeous space, a great way to spend your lunch break if you work in the neighborhood.

Tuesdays the boisterous and very popular brass-heavy gypsy jazz band Slavic Soul Party plays Barbes at 9. Get here as soon as you can as the opening act is usually popular as well.

Every Wednesday, Michael Arenella & the Dreamland Dance Band play sly yet boisterous oldtimey hot jazz at the Clover Club, 210 Smith St. (Butler/Baltic) in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, 8:30 -10:30 PM.

Every Friday in January at 8:30 PM at the Fat Cat Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens bring an authentic here-and-now Brooklyn church vibe, no slick theatrics, just soul.

Fridays there’s live Mediterranean music – Greek- Arabic, Turkish Armenian, Israeli fusion with Mike Stoupakis, Christos Zavolas, Sofia on on vocals, Elias Sarkar-oud/vocals, Kostas Konstantinou – drums,  plus bellydancers at Lafayette Grill & Bar, 54 Franklin St., downtown,$20 cover, 10ish, free after 1 AM.

11/2 noir outsider anthem genius Randi Russo followed by Botanica frontman Paul Wallfisch at Small Beast at the Delancey 8:30 PM

11/4 Gil Scott-Heron at BB King’s 8 PM $30 adv tix rec.

11/4 the increasingly Tom Waitsish, smartly literate, funny Maynard & the Musties at Lakeside 9 PM

11/5, 8 PM the International Pop Overthrow at Kenny’s Castaways, a killer lineup:

8:00 Edward Rogers & Pete Kennedy (with Ward White)

8:30 Maura Kennedy

9:00 George Usher

9:30 The Doughboys

10:00 Mission 5

10:30 Wendy lp

11:00 The Pretty Faces

11/5 Americana chanteuse Rebecca Turner at Banjo Jim’s 7 PM

11/5 jazz guitar legend Gene Bertoncini at the Jazz Standard, $25, sets 7:30/9:30, reservations highly recommended.

11/5 new wave legend Ellen Foley at Lakeside 9 PM.

11/5 lush, atmospheric art-rockers the Quavers at Barbes at 8 followed by the inscrutable, unpredictably, virtuosic, hilarious, charismatic keyboardist/chanteuse/dramatist Rachelle Garniez at 10 PM.

11/6, 7 PM at Banjo Jim’s Charlene and Mo of Spanking Charlene play acoustic

11/6-8 the haunting Vijay Iyer Piano Trio at the Jazz Standard, sets 7:30/9:30 PM, $30 ($25 Sunday), adv tix. highly recommended.

11/6 smart female-fronted psychedelic rock trio Devi at their new private space in Jersey City, details TK, free

11/6 Simon & the Bar Sinisters at Lakeside 10:15ish

11/6, 7 PM a rare chance at le Poisson Rouge to see dissident rockers from behind the former Iron Curtain: Psí Vojáci (from the Czech Republic), Bez Ladu a Skladu from Slovakia, Timpuri Noi (from Romania). The 11/7 show, starting at 11 pm, will feature Kontroll Csoport (from Hungary) and legendary Polish punks Dezerter. $15 dirt cheap cover for each night.

11/7 2:30 (two thirty) PM the catchy Wilco-meets-the-Clash Brixton Riot at Kenny’s Castaways

11/7, 7 PM at Banjo Jim’s dark garage rocker Lorraine Leckie and Her Demons followed at 9 by alt-country legend Zane Campbell

11/7, 8 PM menacing, tuneful noir rockers Darren Gaines & the Key Party and deliriously fun Japanese gypsy band Kagero at the Gershwin Hotel, 7 East 27th Street (5th/Madison), all ages, $10, free wine bar (21+)

11/7, 8 PM Cudzoo & the Faggettes at Ars Nova Theatre, 54th & 10th Ave., perfect venue for these filthy theatrical rock sirens-slash-retro 60s pop satirists. They promise can’t-miss new video footage at this one…hmmm…! They’re also at Bar Matchless in Williamsburg on Dec 3.

11/7 9 PM slinky, haunting, amazing Egyptian film music revivalists Zikrayat at Alwan for the Arts, $15 and worth it

11/7, 9 PM the dark haunting hypnotic powerhouse Katie Elevitch (back from another triumphant European tour) downstairs at her M’Sonic Sessions series at the The Brooklyn Masonic Temple, 317 Clermont Avenue, 3rd Floor, Fort Greene

11/7 the ferociously good, intense, Radio Birdman-esque punk/garage rockers the Mess Around 9 PM at Don Pedro’s

11/7 the amusing, laid-back Americana duo Two Man Gentlemen Band at the Jalopy, 9ish

11/8 a killer Americana afternoon starting at 3 PM at Spikehill with smart, catchy bluegrass innovators Frankenpine, the oldschool honkytonking Newton Gang, the soaring Alana Amram & the Rough Gems and the funniest man in country music, Uncle Leon & the Alibis headlining around 5. And then Nashville gothic monsters Ninth House at 8!

11/8, 7 PM at Barbes classical violist Jennifer Stumm playing rare and obscure pieces by the first viola virtuoso Alessandro Rolla

11/8 powerpop powerhouse Patti Rothberg at Otto’s, 11 PM with her excellent band.

11/9, 8:30 PM at Banjo Jim’s lead guitarist to the stars of the underground, Homeboy Steve Antonakos.

11/9 Botanica frontman Paul Wallfisch followed by haunting, anthemic art-rockers Norden Bombsight at Small Beast at the Delancey 9 PM

11/10, 8 PM at BB King’s Capleton, Cocoa Tea and Anthony B $30 adv tic rec.

11/10 smoove oldschool hip-hop with Ice Cube’s little bro Warren G at Bowery Ballroom, 9ish, $20 gen adm

11/11 southwestern gothic rocker Tom Shaner at Lakeside 9 PM.

11/12 deviously virtuosic, exuberant mostly-female klezmer rockers Isle of Klezbos at 7PM at Holy Apostles Church, 296 Ninth Ave at 28th St, $10

11/12-15 the Claudia Acuna Quintet at the Jazz Standard, sets 7:30/9:30 PM, $25 ($30 Fri-Sat). Soulful, worldly wise, socially aware Chilean-American jazz chanteuse with an astonishingly powerful band behind her – guitarist Juancho Herrera is a ferocious, intense player but the rest of the band is inspired as well.

11/12 Linda Draper, soulful ex-choirgirl and literate lyricist par excellence whose new cd Bridge & Tunnel is one of the year’s best – plays the National Underground, 8 PM.

11/12, 10 PM Spanglish Fly mixes up mambo and Motown to make Latin soul in the Joe Cuba boogaloo tradition at Camaradas El Barrio, 2241 1st Ave (115th St.) dirt cheap, $5 – free boogaloo lessons for neophytes.

11/12, 10 PM the Bay Area’s best gypsy band, Gaucho plays a rare NYC date at Barbes.

11/13, 8 PM at Barbes amazing oud player/educator/scholar Mavrothi Kontanis plays with his band (who just backed another amazing musician, Iranian-American singer Monika Jalili, on her new cd), followed at 10 by Bill Carney’s Jug Addicts.

11/13, 8 PM at the Bell House, Brooklyn’s own forro/ska/reggae/funk baccchanal Nation Beat open the show followed by the genre-bending, gypsyish latin hellraisers Rupa & The April Fishes

11/13 “Brooklyn’s #1 regressive rock act”, hilarious metal parody band Mighty High’s 7″ release show at Hank’s, 9ish.

11/13, 9 PM smart, metaphorical Kentucky expat/Americana chanteuse Kirsten Williams‘ full-band cd release show for her new one Yesterday’s Waves at Kenny’s Castaways.

11/13, 10 PM fiery, guitar-driven, Steve Earle-ish highway rockers the Sloe Guns at the National Underground

11/13, midnight, powerhouse dark lyrical rocker Daniel Bernstein and the Everybody Knows‘ cd release show (everybody gets a freebee) at the Brooklyn Tea Party, 175 Stockholm Street, Buzzer 303, Bushwick, Brooklyn (btw. Wilson/Knickerbocker, M to Central Ave). Brand new band from the past features Scott Loving on electric guitar, Strictly Beats on drums, Scott Fragala on bass and Erin Regan on vocals.

11/14, 7:30 PM a doublebill by arguably the two best Americana chanteuses in the business, Amy Allison and Laura Cantrell at the 92Y Tribeca, $15

11/14 an amazing doublebill at Barbes starting at 8 with the devious and lushly romantic French chanson stylings of les Chauds Lapins and continuing with the careening 1920s hot jazz juggernaut Brian Carpenter’s Ghost Train Orchestra at 10ish.

11/14 Greek party hellraisers Magges – who do a killer version of the original Misirlou – at Mehanata, 10 PM free before 10:30

11/14, 10ish at Teneleven ornate, upbeat cello rockers Snazz Mammoth play one of those powdered wiggie Rubulad-ish parties  $5 cover

11/14 Shonen Knife at Maxwell’s, 10ish, $12 adv tix very highly recommended; 11/17 they’re at the Brooklyn Bowl.

11/14 the Brooklyn What at Bar Matchless in Williamsburg 9ish

11/14 sly baritone crooner and country hellraiser (and ferociously good lead guitarist) Jack Grace at Rodeo Bar, 11:30 PM

11/15, 3 (three) PM the Antara Ensemble plays at Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 2065 Fifth Avenue at 127th Street: Leos Janácek’s Idyll for String Orchestra, W. A. Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp in C Major, K. 299, Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Violins & Cello in D minor, and the World Premiere of Richard Spencer’s Fantasie on a Hymn for Flute & String Orchestra. Tix $25/$20 stud/srs.

11/15, 7:30 PM fiery original rockabilly/surf trio Catspaw – whose signature song Southbound Line ranks high on our list of the 666 best songs of alltime – play Otto’s, free.

11/15, 9ish at SOB’s Zulu Nation presents the 35th Anniversary of Hip-Hop Culture: Afrika Bambaataa, Naughty By Nature, Positive K, Melle Mel, Large Professor, Craig G, Shaheim, Dana Dane, $25 adv tix

11/16 the queen of phantasmagoria, Carol Lipnik and Spookarama at Small Beast at the Delancey, 9 PM.

11/18 harmony-driven, rousingly retro country crew the Sweetback Sisters at Rodeo Bar, 10:30 PM

11/19 the incomparable, inscrutable, multistylistic Jenifer Jackson at the Rockwood at 8.

11/19, 10 PM multistylistic jazz/gypsy/Americana guitar genius Matt Munisteri at Barbes.

11/19 the ferocious Balkan brass juggernaut Raya Brass Band play Local 268 (the old Meow Mix space) on Houston at Suffolk, 10ish, free.

11/20, 7 PM the comedic but equally virtuosic Erin & Her Cello at the Rockwood. She’s also there a week later, 11/27 also at 7.

11/20, 8 PM jangly Boston rockers Aloud and then moody, haunting groove/downtempo slinks El Jezel at Spikehill

11/20 surf music classics and obscurities with the Boss Guitars at Lakeside 11 PM

11/20 the Brooklyn What – whose ferocious and funny debut cd is our pick for best album of 2009 – at Trash Bar 11 PM

11/21  fiery Irish American rock legends Black 47 at Connolly’s, also 11/28, 12/5, 12/12, and New Years Eve

11/21, 8 PM Portuguese fado legend Mariza at Carnegie Hall with special guests Afro-Peruvian vocalist Eva Ayllón and Afro-Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba $25 tix available.

11/21 janglepop-meister Richard Barone of the Bongos with his band at Drom, 8:30 PM, adv tix rec.

11/21, 8 PM The New York Chamber Players’ fundraiser at Bechstein Concert Hall, 207 West 58th St., music by Mozart, feat. piano virtuoso Karine Poghosyan

11/21 ferociously haunting, danceable pan-Balkan rockers Ansambl Mastika at Shrine uptown, 8 PM

11/21 Lights and Alana Amram & the Rough Gems (watch Alana on bass and then guitar – or vice versa) at Union Pool

11/21 Spanking Charlene – NYC’s answer t0 X – plays their own birthday party show at Lakeside 11 PM

11/22, 3 (three) PM the world-class Greenwich Village Orchestra plays Dvorak’s New World Symphony at Washington Irving Auditorium, cattycorner from Irving Plaza, $20 for a show that would probably cost you a hundred bucks at Carnegie Hall.

11/22, 9 PM rousing oldschool harmony-driven bluegrass behemoth the NYCity Slickers play Banjo Jim’s.

11/23 three of the most powerful sirens in any style of music: grand guignol powerhouse Vera Beren, retro keyboard/vocal genius Rachelle Garniez – whose previous two albums are the #2 and #3 cd’s of the decade according to our Best Songs of the Zeros list – and the phantasmagorical Carol Lipnik at Small Beast at the Delancey. Show starts at 9 with Lipnik followed by Garniez, then the dazzlingly lyrical retro 60s psychedelic pop band McGinty & White at 10:30, and then Beren headlining.

11/24 Americana guitar genius Robbie Fulks in one of his frequent, sparkling duo shows with another first-class player, violinist Jenny Scheinman at Barbes at 7.

11/24-25 and 11/27-29 the Maria Schneider Orchestra makes a welcome appearance at the Jazz Standard, sets 7:30/9:30, tix $35 but no minimum, adv tix very highly recommended.

11/25, 7 PM, moody and sultry (and hilarious) Americana ukulele chanteuse Kelli Rae Powell – whose new album is one of the year’s four or five best – plays at the Rockwood; Sonia’s Party follows eventually at 11 with their ecstatic original take on classic soul and Motown.

11/27, 7 PM Johnny Vignault and frontman Michael Chandler of the Lost Crusaders are joined by Dale Beavers of the Compulsive Gamblers for a happy hour show at Lakeside.

11/27 for those who stayed in town, a killer Balkan brass show with Raya Brass Band at Barbes, 10 PM.

11/27 a rare live show by legendary mod punk Dog Show frontman Jerome O’Brien at Lakeside 11 PM

11/28, 7 (seven) PM sophisticated, multistylistic Americana chanteuse Julia Haltigan plays the Rockwood.

11/28 rustic harmony-driven country band Reckon So at Banjo Jim’s, 8 PM.

11/28 southwestern gothic rocker Tom Shaner at Lakeside 11 PM

11/29 haunting Balkan-tinged tunes with trumpeter Ben Holmes and his trio at Barbes, 7ish.

11/30 the hauntingly adrenalizing Balkan Raya Brass Band 6 PM-ish outside Lincoln Center – follow your ears or the band’s tweets.

 11/30 a killer jazz night at Spikehill in Williamsburg starting at 8 with the Adam Larson Project  featuring supersonic, fiery alto cat Jaleel Shaw, then the innovative, psychedelic, dubwise Justin Rothberg Trio, then ska jazz sax legend Dave Hillyard in one of his occasional trio shows.

11/30, starting 8:30ish the artsy Pharmacy & Gardens, then the master of menace, Botanica frontman Paul Wallfisch at the keys, the twangy southwestern gothic of And the Wiremen and then atmospheric noir soundtrack songs with Bee & Flower at 11ish at Small Beast at the Delancey.

12/1-2 trumpet powerhouse Ingrid Jensen with a quintet and then quartet at Jazz Standard, $20, sets 7:30/9:30 PM

12/3-6 the Chano Domínguez Flamenco Quintet including vox and dancer at the Jazz Standard, $30, sets 7:30/9:30 PM. At the Spanish jazz festival here last spring the pianist was haunting, even transcendent – this is something you shouldn’t miss.

12/3, 8 PM, a very rare worthwhile evening of songwriters in the round: soulful, metaphorical Kentucky expat Kirsten Williams, genius bassist Carolann Solebello (of Red Molly), powerful and incorrigibly extroverted white soul sister Meg Braun and the irrepressible, deviously funny, brilliantly tuneful Sharon Goldman (half of the excellent Sweet Bitters) at St John’s Lutheran Church, 81 Christopher St (just west of 7th Ave), free w/sugg. don.

12/3 innovative, tuneful, virtuosic and amusing bluegrass band Frankenpine at Lakeside 9:30ish

12/4, 8 PM the NY Chamber Players play Beethloven’s 6th Symphony and Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No 2 with pianist Luigi Fracasso at Christ & St.Stephen Church, 122 W 69th St.

12/4 dark, somewhat Waits-ish alt-country rockers Maynard & the Musties at Sidewalk 9 PM

12/4 secular gospel hellraisers the Lost Crusaders at Lakeside 7:30ish

12/6, 8 PM  otherworldly Italian percussionist/choreographer Alessandra Belloni leads her group in a performance of her piece Voyage of the Black Madonna at St. Mary’s Church, 126th St. just west of Amsterdam, take any train to 125th St., $10 sugg. don.

12/6, 8ish alto sax player/composer Jacam Manricks leads a smaller contingent of the massive big band he assembled for his excellent latest cd and plays songs from it at Grassroots Tavern on St. Mark’s Place, free. A great way to get to know an exciting jazz talent for next to nothing.

12/7 smartly lyrical noir rocker Darren Gaines, ex-Thalia Zedek keyboardist MG Lederman, ferociously charismatic ghoulabilly/LES noir glam songwriter Reid Paley and Botanica‘s Paul Wallfisch at Small Beast at the Delancey, 8:30ish.

12/8, 7:30/9:30 PM, legendary jazz percussionist/bandleader Chico Hamilton at the Jazz Gallery where he’ll be performing tracks off of his latest album Twelve Tones of Love (recently reviewed here, very favorably) with his quintet Euphoria.

12/9 a repeat of the transcendent trifecta recently at Small Beast at the Delancey, this time around moved to Galapagos in Dumbo: Strange Girls Sing featuring the phantasmagorical Carol Lipnik (whose ongoing collaboration with John Kelly just gets more and more intense), another equally otherworldly water nymph, Rachelle Garniez (whose two most recent albums are on the top ten in our Best Albums of the Decade list) and the “white Eartha Kitt” AKA noir cabaret legend Little Annie Bandez, show starts at 8:30 sharp.

12/10 ,1 PM at Trinity Church a classical duo show with Saeunn Thorsteinsdottir, cello and Alexandra Joan, piano, free.

 12/10–12/13 the Tango Meets Jazz Festival with the Pablo Ziegler Quartet with special guests Miguel Zenon (12/10 & 12/11) and David Sanchez (12/12 & 12/13) at the Jazz Standard, $30, sets 7:30/9:30 PM

12/11 Debo Band play Ethiopian jazz followed by the ecstatically powerful pan-Balkan rockers Ansambl Mastika and their “New Balkan Uproar” at Drom, 8 PM, adv tix $10 very highly rec.

12/11 surf music classics and obscurities with the Boss Guitars at Lakeside 11 PM

12/12 a real blast from the past, 80s new wave rockers That Petrol Emotion at the Bell House, 7:30 PM, $17 adv tix rec.

12/12, 9 PM a surprisingly cheap steampunk night with the George Gee Swing Orchestra, Michael Arenella & His Hot 8, pianist Drew Nugent plus other entertainment (tap dancers, strippers etc) at the Green Building, 450 Union Street betw Nevins/Bond, Gowanus, Brooklyn,F/G to Carroll St., $20

12/12 David “Solid” Gould & the Temple Rockers (feat. ex-John’s Brown Body members) play hypnotic dub and Balkan-inflected roots reggae at Drom, $15, 10 PM

12/12 NYC’s answer to X, Spanking Charlene at Lakeside 11 PM.

12/13 fiery, multistylistic Canadian gypsy/klezmer rockers Beyond the Pale have a whirlwind couple of days. Sunday they play klezmer brunch at City Winery, 11:30ish, then at 3 PM at the Workmen’s Circle, 45 East 33rd St for a $15 sugg. don. Then on Monday the 14th they’re at the World Financial Center plaza at half past noon in case you work in the neighborhood.

12/16, 9 PM at Banjo Jim’s: Avi Fox-Rosen’s Hanukah Spectacular feat. the Benjy Fox-Rosen Band (Yiddish art song, klez, pez), Special Hannukah lamp screwing ceremony, at 10:15 Yiddish Princess (rock in Yiddish) and an hour later the Breslov Bar Band (songs to love the lord, while sloppy drunk). Oy vey!

12/16 catchy, lush, anthemic janglerockers the Somebodies at Lakeside 9:30ish.

12/17, 8 PM  at Banjo Jim’s the Harrithon feat. guitar monster Homeboy Steve Antonakos, country siren Drina Seay, avant garde legend David Amram and others (including a horn section) playing George Harrison songs from over the decades.

12/17, 9:30 PM the ACME new music ensemble plays a jarring but ultimately pretty sensational bill starting with a couple of early John Cage pieces followed by Phil Kline’s Exquisite Corpses and then the acoustic world premiere of Kline’s The Blue Room and Other Stories at the Tank, 354 W 45th Street, $12

12/17 janglemeister guitarist Chris Erikson & the Wayward Puritans at Lakeside 9:30ish.

12/17, 10 PM ferociously hilarious punkish rockers Custard Wally at Desmond’s.

12/17, 11 PM  ferociously lyrical, haunted, madness-obsessed songwriter Daniel Bernstein & the Everybody Knows at the Silent Barn, 915 Wyckoff Avenue, Bushwick, L to Halsey or M to Myrtle-Wyckoff

12/18 the Nu-Sonics at 7 followed by amazing jazz/rock/ambient guitarist Peter Calo at 8 at Banjo Jim’s.

12/18 ecstatically improvisational minor-key Balkan/blues/klezmer/reggae juggernaut Hazmat Modine at Terra Blues 7:15ish

12/18, 9 PM at Shrine, taki taki with the fun, danceable La Sovietika followed by latin reggae band El Pueblo at 10.

12/18 punk/new wave legends Band of Outsiders at Lakeside 10 PM.

12/18 at midnight the hypnotically fiery, improvisational soul/rock siren Katie Elevitch at Banjo Jim’s. She’s also here on 12/23 at 10.

12/19 haunting virtuoso Greek-American oud god (you can be an oud god, right? Didn’t the Greeks invent the gods, anyway?) Mavrothi Kontanis at Barbes at 8ish with his band followed by the lush, romantic Moonlighters of latin music, las Rubias del Norte at 10 ($10 cover)

12/19, 9ish casually brilliant oldschool honkytonk/country band Reckon So at Banjo Jim’s

12/19 virtuoso punk/rockabilly/surf guitarist Simon & the Bar Sinisters at Lakeside 10:15ish.

12/21, 7:30 PM rambunctious, irrepressible oldtime uke/trombone player J. Walter Hawkes joined by Doug Largent on bass and Andy Burns on drums at Banjo Jim’s

12/21, 9:30 PM subtly haunting, wickedly lyrical, amusing pianist/songwriter Lee Feldman plays Joe’s Pub on something of a collaborative doublebill with jazzcat and Elvis Costello fave Deidre Rodman and others.

12/22–12/23 the Edmar Castaneda Trio plus Special Guest Joe Locke at the Jazz Standard. You want eclectic and innovative? Can’t miss with this crew: Colombian harp, trombone, drums and vibes, $20 sets 7:30/9:30 PM.

12/22, 10 PM Sonia’s Party, who blend a bewitching oldschool Motown sound with a vintage Memphis groove play the Knitting Factory.

12/22, 10:30PM the Gowanus Reggae And Ska Society: G.R.A.S.S. at Rose Bar – enough said!

12/23 hypnotic powerhouse soul/rock siren Katie Elevitch at Banjo Jim’s 9 PM

12/27 If you missed the mostly exciting debut concert of Contact!, the New York Philharmonic’s new-music series (you can skip the last piece), the entire concert will be rebroadcast on q2, WQXR’s contemporary online classical music stream at 2 PM.

12/27 riveting, fearlessly unconventional avant siren Larkin Grimm at the Knitting Factory at 8:30 followed by indie/art-rock legend Martin Bisi – whose show last summer was the highlight of the Northside Festival – at 9:30.

12/29 Senegalese roots reggae juggernaut Meta & the Cornerstones at Drom, 11 PM $10

12/30, 8 PM, wild, intense Balkan/Mediterranean/Middle Eastern rockers Ansambl Mastika – no longer just an instrumental band! – at Barbes. If you missed their show at Shrine last month, you missed a real treat.

12/30, 8 PM  haunting Balkan band the Ivan Milev Band and soul legends Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings at the Brooklyn Bowl, tix only $20

12/30 propulsive early Dire Straits-style Americana rockers Whisperado at Hank’s 9ish

12/30 amusingly disconcerting bluespunks the Five Points Band at Rodeo Bar 10:30 PM

12/30 Dr. John & the Lower 9/11 at the Highline Ballroom, sets 7/9:30 PM, adv tix $35 (not avail. day of show)

12/31 Irving Louis Lattin and his Chicago blues trio at 55 Bar, early, 6 PM

12/31 tongue-in-cheek, period perfect early 50s hillbilly satirizers Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co 8 PM at Otto’s, then at about 1 AM Vic Ruggiero (of the Slackers) plays a rare acoustic show.

12/31, 9 PM psychedelic powerpopsters Ian Roure and Liza Garelik of the Larch and Liza & the WonderWheels play a rare acoustic show at Freddy’s – they did this at the Parkside back in the fall and it was off the hook.

12/31 we don’t usually list events like this, but this could be extra fun if you can afford it ($40 advance tickets available at because it’s OPEN BAR with beer, wine AND rakija, the bewitching Layla Isis bellydancing and a pan-global, Mehanata-style dj mix at the Hungarian (Magyarhaz), 213 E 82nd St (between 2nd and 3rd Aves), starting 9ish.

Also 12/31 at the Bell House a bad segue between two killer bands: retro 60s soulsters Eli Paperboy Reed & the True Loves and then ferocious, haunting psychedelic garage rockers Obits plus free cans (?!?) of champagne, 9 PMish, $30 adv tix very highly rec.

Also 12/31, 10 PM at Spikehill a cheap and reliably high-energy way to say goodbye to a rotten decade with some fun Americana tunes by the Nightmare River Band and then the Woes at 11, dirt cheap at $10.

12/31 usually the last place you would want to be on New Year’s Eve – other than Times Square, anyway – is Bleecker St., but oldschool Chicago blues guitar monster – and soul singer par excellence – Johnny Allen is ushering the new decade in at 10 at Kenny’s Castaways

Also 12/31 Tammy Faye Starlite’s sick Stones cover band the Mike Hunt Band plays the seminal, serendipitously titled 1966 album “December’s Children (And Everybody’s)” at Lakeside, 11 PM but get there early.

12/31, 11 PM twangy western swing with Sean Kershaw & the New Jack Ramblers feat. guitar god Steve Antonakos at Banjo Jim’s, only $10.

1/1 atmospheric, haunting loop-driven art-rockers the Quavers at Barbes at 8 PM followed by haunting, slinky, Middle Eastern inflected oldtime Zanzibar dance music revivalists Sounds of Taraab at 10 PM.

1/1, sets 9/10:30 PM chanteuse Heather Masse of the Wailin Jennys does her jazz thing at the Cornelia St. Café, $10

1/1 twang for your hangover with Chip Robinson & the Roscoe Trio at Lakeside, 10 PM.

1/1 garage revivalists the Detroit Cobras – with ex-Moisturizer bass goddess Gina Rodriguez -at Maxwell’s, 10:30 PM, $15

1/1 half past midnight (actually the morning of 1/2) Akim Funk Buddha at the Blue Note, $8: “Somehow manages to juggle human beat-boxing with East Asian martial arts and African-inspired drum, making the circus reference the title more than appropriate.. from Tuvan throat singing, beat box, Ndebele clicks, to scat..”

1 /2, 9 PM at Otto’s Unsteady Freddie’s Birthday Surf-Rock Shindig starting with  Strange But Surf, the Doughboys, Matt Rae Trio and after midnight Mr. Action & the Boss Guitars

1/2 at Nublu Love Trio – Ilhan Ersahin, Jesse Murphy , Kenny Wollesen – plays 9:30ish

1/2, 10 PM Afrobeat rockers Bearquarium and rootsa reggae band Toussaint Liberator & Buru Style at Public Assembly, $10

1/2 the boisterous and authentic oldtimey Baby Soda Jazz Band at Barbes at 8 followed by the amusing, often hilarious, equally upbeat country hellraisers the Jack Grace Band at 10.

1/2 Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co. 10ish at the Bell House plus free mint juleps, $10

1/2 the Disclaimers play Spikehill at midnight. Two-tone soul siren duo fronting the band (or playing violin, trombone, keys, percussion or kazoo), swooping organ, scorching guitar and songs that veer from hypnotic 60s soul warmth to Radio Birdman style garage punk. One of the best bands in NYC.

1/ 3, 3 PM and 1/6, 8 PM pianist Niklas Sivelov plays Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier #s 13-24 at Bargemusic tix $35/$30/15 srs/stud.

1/3 innovative Greek blues guitarist Spiros Soukis at Lucille’s, 8 PM

1/3, 8 PM  sharp, lyrical powerpop siren Patti Rothberg at the Delancey.

1/3 ex-Black Star hip-hop star Talib Kweli plus John Forte and others at the Brooklyn Bowl, 8ish, tix $10

1/3 at Nublu – the reliably charismatic Bato the Yugo & Gypsy Boogie, 9:30ish

1/4 menacing Botanica frontman/impresario Paul Wallfisch and alt-country legend Greg Garing at Small Beast at the Delancey, 8:30ish.

1/5 at Barbes 8 PM the Mat Maneri Quartet. Mat Maneri -viola; Randy Peterson – drums; Garth Stevenson – bass, and Jacob Sacks – piano. Followed at 9 by Slavic Soul Party

1/5, 8 PM the adventurous Antara Ensemble play works by Corelli, Quantz, Janácek plus the world premiere of Ray Leslee’s “Shakespeare Songs for Tenor, Flute & Strings” at Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church, 619 Lexington Avenue (at 54th Street), $25 (stud/srs $20).

1/5 haunting, otherworldly, absolutely hypnotic Brooklyn Balkan vocal quartet Black Sea Hotel at Pete’s, 10 PM

1/6-12 the Clayton Bros. Band at Dizzy’s Club, 7:30/9:30 PM, $30 tix avail. John Clayton, bass; Jeff Clayton, alto saxophone; Gerald Clayton, piano; Terell Stafford, trumpet; Obed Calvaire, drums. Their weeklong stand here last year was deliriously fun.

1/6 the blazing, innovative, lushly atmospheric Joris Teepe Big Band at the Fat Cat, 8:30 PM

1/6, 8:30 PM George Garzone, saxophone (one of the most interesting, fearlessly intuitive players out there) with Rachel Z, piano;  Peter Slavov, bass;  Pete Zimmer, drums at the Cornelia St. Café, $10

1/6 ferocious psychedelic power trio Devi with special guest keyboardist Rob Klores at Sullivan Hall, 10 PM. They kicked ass with him at the Mercury last year.

1/6 the surfy Cuban Cowboys at Maxwell’s, 10 PM.

1/6, 10:30 PM ferocious two-guitar punk/garage rockers Des Roar – of Ted Bundy Was a Ladies Man infamy – at the Mercury, $10.

1/7, 7:30/9:30 PM the Kenny Barron Quintet with Anne Drummond on flute, meaning the powerhouse pianist may chill out a little, at the Jazz Standard, adv tix $30 highly rec.

1/7 Bad Reputation: Pierre de Gaillande sings George Brassens 8 PM at Barbes – the Snow’s frontman has tackled the monumental task of rendering the iconic, fearless, often lewd French songwriter in a sort of noir cabaret context with a woodwind section. It works spectacularly well (the album’s due out sometime this year on Barbes Records) and it’s often hilarious.

1/7 adventurous, defiantly original, funny bluegrass band Frankenpine at Lakeside 9:30 PM.

1/7, 10 PM Raquy and the Cavemen play percussive Middle Eastern-inflected rock at Drom,$10 adv tix rec.

1/8, 8 PM haunting, danceable, psychedelic Brazilian forest music with Forro for All at Barbes

1/8 at the 92YTribeca an amazing bill starting at 8: the Snow’s Pierre de Gaillande singing his own translations of iconic French troublemaker/songwriter Georges Brassens; Mexican folk-rocker Rana Santacruz; devious Mexican janglerock sirens Pistolera; NYC’s funnest band, the psychedelic, surfy Peruvian-style instrumentalists Chicha Libre; the surf-rock Cuban Cowboys and then headlining around midnight,wildly intense Balkan brass band Slavic Soul Party!

1/8 ferociously powerful yet fascinatingly subtle powerpopster/guitar legend-in-the-making Pete Galub at Lakeside 9:30 PM.

1/8-9 in the West Village it’s the Winter Jazz Fest where a bunch of clubs that usually feature cheesy top 40 cover bands open their doors to some sensationally good jazzcats. Several of the cheap multi-artist bills here would cost you hundreds to see separately in more fancy surroundings. Too much good stuff going on to list here – the complete schedule is here. Highlights below:

1/8, 6 PM (six) at Zinc Bar: Soul Cycle with Jesse Fischer, keyboards / Louis Fouché, alto sax / Josh David, bass / Corey Rawls, drums / Shawn Banks, percussion; 7 PM Ben Williams & Sound Effect: Ben Williams, trumpet / Jamire Williams, drums / Jaleel Shaw, alto saxophone / Dave Bryant, piano; 8 PM the Chelsea Baratz Quartet with Chelsea Baratz, saxophone / Orrin Evans, Piano / John Davis, Drums / Corey Wilkes, trumpet; 9 PM the fiery Jaleel Shaw Quartet: Jaleel Shaw, saxophone / Ben Williams, bass / Johnathan Blake, drums / Aaron Goldberg, piano.

1/8, 6:30 PM at le Poisson Rouge: adventurous big band Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society; 7:20 PM Jamie Leonhart: Jamie Leonhart, vocals / Michael Leonhart, piano & trumpet / Gary Wang, acoustic bass and others;  8:20 PM ELEW / Eric Lewis solo: 9:20 PM trumpeter Nicholas Payton’s aptly titled  SeXXXtet: Nicholas Payton, trumpet and vocals / Taylor Eigsti, piano/Rhodes / Vicente Archer, bass / Marcus Gilmore, drums / Daniel Sadownick, percussion.

1/8, 6:40 PM at Kenny’s Castaways the Joel Harrison Sextet: Joel Harrison, acoustic guitar / Donny McCaslin, sax / Christian Howes, violin / Dan Tepfer, keys / Stephan Crump, bass / Ted Poor, drums / Johnaye Kendrick, vox; 6:40 PM Briggan Krauss’ Trio Coordinate: Briggan Krauss, saxophone / Kenny Wollesen, drums / Skuli Sverrisson, bass; 8:40 PM the alternately Frisell-esque and haunting Americana jazz of Jeremy Udden’s Plainville with Jeremy Udden, saxophones / Brandon Seabrook, banjo and guitar / Pete Rende, pump organ and Fender Rhodes / Eivind Opsvik, bass / RJ Miller, drums; 9:40 PM the Matt Wilson Quartet: Matt Wilson, drums / Jeff Lederer, tenor & soprano saxophone, clarinet / Kirk Knuffke, trumpet / Chris Lightcap, bass; 10:40 PM Bobby Previte’s New Bump Quartet: Ellery Eskelin, tenor saxophone / Bill Ware, vibraphone / Brad Jones, bass / Bobby Previte, drums; 11:40 PM Mark Guiliana’s Beat Music:Mark Guiliana, drums / Jason Fraticelli, electric bass / Aaron Dugan, guitar / Nir Felder, guitar; 12:40 AM (that’s twenty before one in the AM) Jamie Saft’s Whoopie Pie with Bill McHenry, saxophone / Jamie Saft, bass and keys / Mike Pride, drums; 1:40 AM Peter Apfelbaum and the New York Hieroglyphics: Peter Apfelbaum, saxophone, piano, percussion / Peck Allmond, trumpet, reeds / Jessica Jones, saxophone / Tony Jones, saxophone / Josh Roseman, trombone / Natalie Cressman, trombone / Charlie Burnham, violin / Dave Phelps, guitar / Viva DeConcini, guitar / Patrice Blanchard, bass / Dafnis Prieto, drums.

1/8, 8 PM pianist Elena Ulyanova plays Soler, Chopin, Liszt, Debussy and Rachmaninoff at Bargemusic, tix $35, $30/15 srs/stud.

1/8, 8:30 PM multistylistic trombonist Reut Regev’s R Time w/special guest Judith Insell on viola at the Cornelia St. Café, $10.

1/8, 9 PM loud, hypnotic shoegazers Susu at Cake Shop.

1/8 Mostly Other People Do the Killing, the hilarious and potent Spinal Tap of improv jazz at Zebulon, 9:30ish.

1/8, 10 PM Spanglish Fly – who play the groovalicious catalog of boogaloo inventor Joe Cuba (sort of the Spanish Harlem equivalent of Fela) – are at Camaradas El Barrio, 2241 1st Ave (115th St.), $5

1/9, the Winter Jazz Festival continues at 7 PM at le Poisson Rouge with Ben Allison: Jenny Scheinman, violin / Shane Endsley, trumpet / Steve Cardenas, guitar / Ben Allison, bass / Rudy Royston, drums; ay 8, the Occidental Brothers Dance Band International: Nathaniel Braddock, guitar / Josh Ramos, bass / Greg Ward, alto saxophone / Makaya McRaven, drums / Samba Mapangala, vocals; at 9, Jenny Scheinman & Jason Moran: Jenny Scheinman, violin / Jason Moran, piano; 10 PM, Lionel Loueke: Lionel Loueke, guitar and vocals / Massimo Biolcati, bass / Ferenc Nemeth, drums; at 11, the haunting, innovative Vijay Iyer Trio: Vijay Iyer, piano / Marcus Gilmore, drums / Stephan Crump, acoustic bass.

1/9, 7 PM at Zinc Bar Jayme Stone’s sparkling, psychedelic, rustic Africa to Appalachia project: Jayme Stone, banjo / Yacouba Sissoko, kora and vocals / Mike Barnett, fiddle / Brandi Disterheft, bass / Nick Fraser, percussion.

1/9 the world’s funniest oldtimey Americana band – sort of the Dead Kennedys of the steampunk set – the Asylum St. Spankers at the Bell House, 8 PM. Also at the Gramercy Theatre with another good, energetic roots music band, the Wiyos on 1/11 at 9:30.

1/9, 7:30 PM the Del McCoury Band w/the Preservation Hall Jazz Band featuring openers Marty Stuart + His Fabulous Superlatives + Sarah Jarosz at BB King’s adv tix $35 and worth it.

1/9 back at the 92YTribeca with another great bill starting 8ish, this time the sly humor of the Two Man Gentlemen Band, Luminescent Orchestrii’s Sxip Shirey, Boston oldtimey siren Miss Tess, the hellrasing hokum blues/grasscore juggernaut the New Familiars, the Hot Seats, plus sultry, retro 30s original swingstress Christabel & the Jons.

1/9 the Mondo Mundo Festival at the Hiro Ballroom feat Abaji (Greek/Turkish instrument innovator/inventor/virtuoso), Ocote Soul Sounds and others, 8 PM, $15.

1/9 blues guitar powerhouse Bobby Radcliff at Lucille’s, 8 PM

1/9 sax player/composer Paul Carlon’s rocking, innovative Afro-Cuban jazz project at Bowery Poetry Club, 8 PM.

1/9, 9 PM amazing Balkan/Japanese gypsy/jazz powerhouse Fishtank Ensemble at BAM Café.

1/9, 9/10:30 PM, Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, the “steampunk big band,”at the Jazz Gallery, $15

1/9, 9:15 PM at Kenny’s Castaways the highlight of the Winter Jazz Festival with tenor sax monster JD Allen and his Trio prepping for another stand at the Vanguard: JD Allen, tenor saxophone / Gregg August, bass / Rudy Royston, drums. Followed eventually by the Mary Halvorson at quarter past midnight: Mary Halvorson, guitar / John Hebert, bass / Tomas Fujiwara, drums. And then at quarter past two in the morning the Tyshawn Sorey Guitar Trio with one of the most interesting drum/percussion guys around, Tyshawn Sorey, drums/percussion/compositions / Todd Neufeld, nylon string guitar / Chris Tordini, acoustic bass, nylon string guitar    

1/9, 9:30 PM at Sullivan Hall Dr. Lonnie Smith on the B3 plus Jamire Williams, drums / Jonathan Kreisberg, guitar.

1/9, 9:45 PM  at the Bitter End another monster jazz evening with the Claudia Quintet with Gary Versace: John Hollenbeck, drums / Ted Reichman, accordion / Chris Speed, reeds / Matt Moran, vibraphone / Trevor Dunn, bass / guest: Gary Versace, piano; 10:45 PM Rudder with Chris Cheek, saxophone / Henry Hey, keys / Tim Lefebvre, bass / Keith Carlock, drums; 11:45 PM Todd Sickafoose’ Tiny Resistors: John Ellis, clarinet & tenor saxophone / Alan Ferber, trombone / Steve Cardenas, guitar / Mike Gamble, guitar / Rudy Royston, drums and percussion / Todd Sickafoose, bass / Jenny Scheinman, violin; quarter to one, Michael Bellar’s As-Is Ensemble: Michael Bellar, keys / Rob Jost, bass / Brad Wentworth, drums / Brook Martinez, percussion; and at a quarter to two the Randy Newman Project with Mark Soskin, piano / Roseanna Vitro, vocals / Dean Johnson, vocals / Sara Caswell, violin / Steve Cardenas, guitar.

1/9 devious, unpredictable alto sax monster Jon Irabagon at the Fat Cat, 10 PM with supporting cast TBA

1/9, 10ish sophisticated yet intense Americana siren Julia Haltigan at Glasslands

1/9 LES punk/surf/soul legend Simon & the Bar Sinisters at Lakeside, 10:15ish

1/9, 1 AM (actually morning of 1/10) the gothic Americana of the Kezners at Cake Shop.

1/10 darkly lyrical jazz guitarist Massimo Sammi with a great quartet including bassist John Lockwood and sax connoisseur George Garzone at the Blue Note for brunch, sets at half past noon and 2:30 PM.

1/10, 2 (two) PM pianist Simone Dinnerstein with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) at the PS 321 Neighborhood Concert, 180 7th Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn, $15.

1/10, 4:30 PM Italian choreographer/percussionist Alessandra Belloni leads a special Epiphany concert of her rarely performed drama La Cantata Dei Pastori at the Church of Most Precious Blood (Baxter Street near Mulberry in Little Italy) for a celebration of the Neapolitan Federation and region of Campania.

1/10, 6 (six) PM noir surf/jazz guitarist Jim Campilongo at 55 Bar

1/10 a good if diverse doublebill at Spikehill at 8 with the anthemic Americana powerpop of Rescue Bird and then haunting acoustic Nashville gothic types Bobtown at 9.

1/10 surf punk legends Agent Orange – still playing Everything Turns Grey with plenty of menace – at the Mercury, 10 PM, $10 adv tix.

1/11 multistylistic retro rock/country/noir cabaret goddess Rachelle Garniez at the Rockwood at 6, then she’s at Cornelia St. Café at 8:30 for $15/$10 stud.

1/11, 7 PM at Barbes – Ibrahim Maalouf. “French / Lebanese master trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf has made a name for himself as a fantastic interpreter of Western and Arab classical music forms. This performance will feature Maalouf’s work in blending modern creative music with his ancestral musical traditions, especially Arabic Makams. He performs on a unique quarter-tone trumpet that was invented by his father in the 1960s which allows him to play traditional scales used in Arabic music. Maalouf has accomplished much at a young age and has been featured in groups led by Sting, Salif Keita, Marcel Khalifé, and Amadou & Mariam among others.” Followed at 8 by Bio Ritmo spinoff Miramar who “besides original material, play many of compositions by Edmundito Disdier and the singer/songwriter Sylvia Rexach – one of the most famous and prolific composers of bolero music out of Puerto Rico.”

1/11, 7 PM accordionist Michael Hearst’s Songs for Unusual Creatures – sequel to Songs for Ice Cream Trucks – at Joe’s Pub, $15, followed by Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens at 9:30, separate admission, $16

1/11, 8:30 PM at the Mercury las Rubias del Norte, followed eventually by minor-key acoustic/Balkan/jamband Hazmat Modine at 10:30 PM. “Las RDN’s third album, out on Barbès on March 9th, will cover a wider range than usual.  The songs run from an intimate Neapolitan ballad, to a Bollywood production, a Kurt Weill song in French, and a classic chicha; they incorporate a string quartet, vintage organs, vibes and marimba.” $10.

1/11 the Maria Schneider Orchestra 8:30 PM at Birdland $30.

1/12, 7 PM genre-defying Chinese/Middle Eastern/jazz keyboardist/singer Jen Shyu with a killer 7-piece band including JD Allen on tenor at 55 Bar

1/12 and 1/19, 7 PM innovative violinist/composer/country singer Jenny Scheinman at Barbes followed by Slavic Soul Party.

1/12-14 funny how two of the most influential guitarists of the last 30 years have almost the same name if not exactly the same style. This one’s the jazz guy. David Gilmore & Numerology, including a ferocious rhythm section of Christian McBride on bass, and Tain Watts on drums plus the subtle, soulful Claudia Acuna on vocals at the Jazz Standard, sets 7:30/9:30 PM, adv tix $20 highly rec.

1/12, alto saxist and paradigm-shifting composer Jacam Manricks and his quartet at Dakar in Ft. Greene, 7:30 PM, free. He’s also at St. Peter’s Church on Lex and 54th at 5 PM on 1/17 and then with just a trio at Grassroots Tavern on St. Mark’s at 8ish on 1/24.

1/12, 9:30 PM an exciting new music/Balkan-ish-tango Nuevo doublebill at Joe’s Pub  with Ljova and the Kontraband (whose violist and leader, Russian-American Ljova Zhurbin is one of the smartest, wittiest tango composers around) plus bandoneonist Jofre Romarion’s New Tango Quartet, adv tix $12 very highly rec.

1/13, 8 PM at Glasslands a benefit against domestic violence with No Place, Outernational, Inlets, Controlled Storms, Eartheater, just $10

1/13 the artsy, smart keyboard pop of the Secret History and then glam/goth goddess Kristeen Young ,10ish at the Bell House

1/14, 8 PM the Jeff Newell Octet at Bargemusic feat. the amazing Tricia Woods on piano, Jeff Newell on sax, David Smith on trumpet plus others, $20, $15/$10 srs/stud.

1/14, 9 PM at Barbes the Weal and Woe “offer for your listening pleasure vintage country and gospel classics and close harmony from a faraway time. Drawing from the deep well of country “brother” duets from the middle third of the twentieth century, they sing songs of love and loss, drinkin’ and cheatin’, Old Time Religion and life back home in the Gowanus Valley. With Barbara Ann (bass & vocals), Russell Scholl (guitar & vocals), Jason Cade (fiddle & banjo) and Mark Deffenbaugh (lap steel).”

1/14, 9 PM Stratospheerius play ornate chamber-metal in the Blues in Space vein at Fat Baby

1/14 Caribbean latin dance machine La Sovietika at Ace of Clubs 10:30 PM

1/14 up-and-coming world music star/agitator Zee Avi  – of no Xmas for Me fame – at the Bell House, 11ish, tix $12.

1/15-16 Zlatne Uste’s Golden Festival uptown at the Good Shepherd School , 620 Isham (near 207th St. and Bway), two nights of food, drinking and at least thirty Balkan bands from around the world. Your best bet for tix is the $60 two-day pass, or, you can volunteer and see the shows for free, email for info.

1/15-16, 8 PM Italian choreographer/percussionist Alessandra Belloni’s new version of her Dionysan extravaganza Tarantella Spider Dance (the “Italian Riverdance”) at Theatre for the New City, where it premiered, 155 First Ave., near 10th St. The show repeats on 1/17 at  3 PM, $20, $15 stud/srs and possibly the following week end. “Erotic trance dances and ritual drumming from Southern Italy and the Mediterranean presented by a company of 15 performers, musicians, actors, acrobats and dancers who fill the stage with a celebration of culture unique to the Southern Italian experience.”

1/15-16, 9/10:30 PM excellent latin jazz bassist Pedro Giraudo’s Big Band at the Jazz Gallery, $15

1/15 Staten Island Afrobeat/experimentalists the Budos Band at Maxwell’s, 9:30 PM $12 adv./

1/15 surf music classics and obscuities with the Boss Guitars at Lakeside, 11 PM.

1/16 haunting, literate yet amusing art-rockers the Snow play the cd release for their new one I Die Every Night at Joe’s Pub, 7 PM, $15 followed by the hypnotic, exhilarating Arabic ney flute player Bassam Saba’s Ensemble at 9:30, separate admission, $12.

1/16, 8 PM an excellent country/roots music extravaganza at the Jalopy with the Rooftops, Uncle Monk, honkytonkers the Newton Gang, Blue Harvest and Citigrass at midnight.

1/16, 8 PM Siouxsie and the Banshees bassist Steven Severin – who’s gone in an ambient, atmospheric, electronic direction in the recent past – plays his live soundtrack score for the 1928 surrealist silent film “The Seashell & the Clergyman”, plus a program of scores to short avant-garde films at Galapagos, $20; the show repeats on 1/17 at 7 PM

1/16, 10 PM Greek party monsters Magges at Mehanata, free before 10:30, bellydancing, ouzo shots, Susan Mitchell on evil gypsy violin

1/16 NYC’s answer to X, Spanking Charlene at Lakeside 11 PM.

1/17, 8 PM East of the River featuring recorder virtuosi Daphna Mor and Nina Stern at Sixth St. Synagogue, 325 E. Sixth Street (between 1st Ave. and 2nd Ave.) $15 adv tix, $8 stud/under 21

1/18 charismatic Botanica frontman Paul Wallfisch and Brooklyn alt-country pioneers Kings County Queens, haunting noir rock chanteuse Elisa Flynn, and inimitable, deviously multistylistic keyboard genius Greta Gertler at Small Beast at the Delancey 8:30ish.

1/18 and 1/25, 9:45ish Chicha Libre are back at Barbes

1/18, 8 PM, $15, art-song legend John Kelly brings his multi-octave voice to a series of original songs that reflect his obsession with the paintings of Caravaggio, a collaboration with another four-octave siren, the carnivalesque, noir Carol Lipnik at Galapagos

1/18 powerpop legend George Usher at Lakeside 9 PM.

1/18 ,9:15ish duskcore legends Tinariwen at the Highline Ballroom, adv tix $25

1/21, 8:15 PM funny yet furiously and smartly socially aware acoustic duo Left on Red play Caffe Vivaldi, sort of a cross between the Dixie Chicks and the Dead Kennedys 

1/21 panstylistic rock goddess Jenifer Jackson at Banjo Jim’s.

1/21, 10 PM bluegrass band Frankenpine at the Jalopy

1/22, 9/10:30 PM George Garzone and the Australian Connection: George Garzone, tenor saxophone;  Jamie Oehlers, tenor saxophone;  Graham Wood, piano;  Sam Anning, bass;  Ben Vanderwal, drums at the Cornelia St. Café, $10.

1/22, 9/10:30 PM, the Gregg August Sextet – the terse yet intense bassist’s latest auspicious project –  at the Jazz Gallery, $15

1/22 understated pan-American siren Marta Topferova at Barbres 10 PM

1/22 western swing with Sean Kershaw & the New Jack Ramblers at Lakeside 11 PM.

1/22 artsy Norwegian shoegaze/noiserockers Serena Maneesh at the Mercury, midnight-ish, adv tix $10, this will sell out

1/23, 1 PM a free concert at Bargemusic, most likely piano music; early arrival advised.

1/23 darkly unwinding cello rockers Pearl & the Beard at the Mercury, 8 PM, $10

1/23, 9 PM at BAM Café, innovative baritone saxist/politically aware new music composer Fred Ho & The Green Monster Big Band.

1/23 noir/goth/art-rock pianist/singer Kristin Hoffmann at Caffe Vivaldi, 9 PM.

1/23 hilarious hip-hop party monsters Chronikill at Bowery Poetry Club 10 PM  

1/23 soul/blues siren Bethany Saint Smith & the Gun Show at Lakeside 11 PM

1/24 rousing, haunting, original klezmer and some amazing obscurities with Metropolitan Klezmer at City Winery, 11:30 AM-ish for brunch.

1/24, 6 PM at the Rubin Museum of Art, 150 W 17th St., violinist Gil Morgenstern, pianist Don Berman and an actor TBA perform Georges Enesco’s Impressions d’Enfance, George Crumb’s Night Music and Franz Schubert’s Fantasy along with texts from Sylvia Plath’s Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams, Edgar Allan Poe’s A Dream Within a Dream, and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Winter Dreams, a program inspired by C.G. Jung’s legendary Red Book of The Stuff Dreams Are Made On. Admission to the concert includes a private tour of the Museum at 5:15 where the Red Book, which has never before been seen in public, is on display.

1/25, 7:30 PM, free, the Tessera Quartet plays the String Quartet in E-flat Major by Mendelssohn; String Quartet No. 4, Op. 103 by Lowell Liebermann; String Quartet in D minor by Sibelius at Advent Lutheran/ Broadway United Church, 2504 Broadway at 93rd St.

1/25  Botanica keyboardist Paul Wallfisch, hauntingly powerful southwestern gothic rocker Kerry Kennedy & Ghostwise and edgy noir cabaret accordionist Marni Rice’s Le Garage Cabaret at Small Beast at the Delancey 8:30ish

1/25 Homeboy Steve Antonakos, ubiquitous lead guitar monster plays a solo show of his own Americana-inflected stuff at Banjo Jim’s 8:30 PM

1/26, 8 PM organist Gail Archer celebrates Bach’s 325th birthday at All Souls Unitarian Church, 1157 Lexington Avenue  at 80th Street, free – she did Messiaen in 08, Mendelssohn in 09, and this ought to be equally imaginative and interesting.

1/28 8 PM surf rock legends the Ventures at BB King’s $33.50 adv tix.

1/28-31, 7:30-9:30 PM the high-energy Jeremy Pelt Quintet feat. JD Allen on tenor at the Jazz Standard, adv tix $25 ($30 Fri-Sat)

1/28, 9 PM the high-energy, ferociously funny country sounds of the Jack Grace Band at the Jalopy

1/29 at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, 7:30 PM, American Composers Orchestra performs “Orchestra Underground including two world premieres: Sebastian Currier’s Next Atlantis, inspired by New Orleans and written for string orchestra and pre-recorded sound, with video by Pawel Wojtasik; and Roger Zare’s Time Lapse, a piece for orchestra influenced by photographic techniques, commissioned by ACO as part of its Underwood Composers Readings for Emerging Composers. Latin jazz innovator Paquito D’Rivera’s Conversations with Cachao is the centerpiece of the program, and receives its New York City and Philadelphia premieres in these performances. A tribute to Israel ‘Cachao’ López, the Havana bass player who made Cuban Mambo a worldwide phenomenon, the piece is a double concerto featuring D’Rivera’s clarinet and alto sax in dialogue with the double bass, played by Robert Black, recalling the style and personality of the man who served as friend and mentor to D’Rivera and many Cuban musicians. Anne Manson makes her ACO concert debut conducting Orchestra Underground.” $38 tix available.

1/29 smart, funny acoustic alt-country band Tall Tall Trees at the Postcrypt Coffeehouse, 8 PM, 5895 Lerner Hall, 2920 Broadway, 1 to 116th St.

1/29, 9 PM a killer country/roots doublebill at the Jalopy with the M Shanghai String Band and then the hilarious, theatrical Ukuladies at 10.

1/29-30, 9/10:30 PM soulful Chilean-American chanteuse Claudia Acuna and her surprisingly intense band at the Jazz Gallery, $15. They absolutely blew us away last year at Rose Bar.

1/30, 8 PM, pianist Simone Dinnerstein with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) playing “Bach and the Concerto” – Selections from the Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II; Selections from The Art of the Fugue, BWV 1080; Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052; and Concerto in F minor, BWV 1056. The mistress of the Goldberg Variations teams up with a new-music juggernaut to play 300-year-old baroque compositions! Should be fun! At the Miller Theatre at Columbia University, 2960 Broadway at 116th, tix $7-$35.

1/30 Tammy Faye Starlite’s other sick cover band (this one does Blondie songs) the Pretty Babies at at Lakeside, 10 PM.

1/30 the propulsive, smartly tuneful, post-Wilco rockers the Brixton Riot at Maxwell’s, 11 PM, $8

2/1 charismatic Botanica frontman Paul Wallfisch and multistylistic steampunk goddess/keyboard monster Rachelle Garniez at Small Beast at the Delancey 8:30ish

2/2-7 terse, cutting-edge tenor saxist/composer JD Allen and his Trio at the Vanguard.

2/2-7 the Wess “Warmdaddy” Anderson Quintet w/Terell Stafford, Marc Cary, Neal Caine & Jeff “Tain” Watts7:30/9:30 PM at Dizzy’s Club $30 tix avail.

2/3 9 PM legendary soul/blues crooner Bobby Bland at BB King’s $25 adv tix rec.

2/4 Frankenpine at Lakeside 9:15ish

2/5 the Cannabis Cup reggae band at BB King’s 11:30 PM $22 adv tix; they’re also here on 2/12 at 7:30

2/6, 1 PM a free concert at Bargemusic, most likely piano music; early arrival advised.

2/6, 8 PM, a killer ska triplebill at the Knitting Factory with the King Django Septet, Hub City Stompers, Predator Dub Assassins, $10 adv tix.

2/7, 3 PM the Neos Quartet plays Schumann, Piazzolla and  Schubert’s Death & the Maiden at Bargemusic, tix $35 $30/15 srs/stud.

2/11, 9 PM ageless rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson at the Knitting Factory, adv tix $15

2/12 7 PM a killer noir rock doublebill with And the Wiremen and Botanica at the Knitting Factory.

2/13, 2/20, 2/27 legendary, indomitable Irish-American rockers Black 47 – whose Iraq cd was Lucid Culture’s pick for best album of 2008 – at Connolly’s.

2/14 edgy, original, genre-busting klezmerites Isle of Klezbos at Cith Winery, 11:30 AM-ish for brunch.


2/19, 8:30 PM iconic Tuareg desert rockers Tinariwen – the world’s premier duskcore band – at the Bell House, $25 adv tix very highly rec.

2/19 Steve Wynn – whose classic, warped 2001 desert rock album Here Come the Miracles we just named Best Album of the Decade – at Lakeside 9:30ish, early arrival recommended

2/20, 1 PM a free concert at Bargemusic, most likely piano music; early arrival advised

2/21, 8 PM George Clinton & The P-Funk All-Stars at BB King’s adv tix $37.50.

2/23-28 the Christian McBride Big Band at Dizzy’s Club, sets 7:30/9:30 PM, $20 tix avail

2/26-27, 9/10:30 PM haunting, pioneering Middle Eastern jazz trumpeter Amir ElSaffar and his band (recently commissioned here) at the Jazz Gallery, $15

2/27 the Sadies (Neko Case’s longtime backing band doing their own dark, bristling Americana) at the Mercury, 11 PM, $13

3/28 the Komeda Project  – who hauntingly and intensely keep the work of legendary, doomed jazz composer and RomaPolanski collaborator Krzysztof Komeda alive – are at the Cornelia St. Café, 8:30 PM, $10 featuring pianist/composer/arranger Andrzej Winnicki and saxophonist Krzysztof Medyna, along with trumpeter Russ Johnson and a rhythm section.

November 2, 2009 Posted by | Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, NYC Live Music Calendar | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Concert Review: The Pretty Babies at Lakeside Lounge, NYC, Halloween 2009

by Heather M. Raphael

Halloween is by far my favorite holiday.  I don’t create wonderful and elaborate costumes myself, but I love to look at other peoples’ creative intoxications.  I was not let down by the Pretty Babies (insurgent comedienne/chanteuse Tammy Faye Starlite’s latest project) as Blondie, presenting the Parallel Lines album at Lakeside Lounge in the East Village on Halloween night.  We even had attendance by the current age Debbie Harry herself!  Was it really her or just a fabulous costume?  Unless she’s able to be in two places at once, the real Debbie Harry’s doppelganger had front row seats at our venue, while the real Blondie was playing Halifax, Nova Scotia.

My best laid plans for Halloween this year came crumbling down as the hours ticked away and my escape out of the city to a friend’s Halloween party was foiled by my love/hate relationship with technology.  Luckily a singer/songwriter friend came to my rescue, inviting me into her plans where we met up with some friends at the Lakeside.  It was empty and we scored a table right by the stage.  That’s when I learned about Tammy Fay Starlite and Linda Wynn, aka Linda Pitmon, one of the great female drummers (and also one of the great drummers, end of story).  We got to chat with Linda – very down-to-earth, instantly likeable – during set-up from our strategically placed table.

The Lakeside Lounge quickly packed in a crowd, some costumed, some not, as showtime was upon us.  Tammy…I mean, Debbie…I mean Blondie…oh whatever, gave several shout-outs to Steve Wynn, well known musician since the 1980’s for alternative and classic rock, who was there to see his lovely wife rock the drums.  And she kicked some butt up on that stage!  Not even an uncooperative snare could slow her down.  I’ve never been so mesmerized.  But let’s not forget the rest of the band that pulled this show together.  On bass was Sit n’ Spin’s Mony Falcone; on electric guitars were her bandmate Heidi Lieb and Jill Richmond of the Aquanettas; on keyboards was Bibi Farber; all dressed in black pants, white suit shirts and black skinny ties to boot.

The spot we had was perfect for viewing and listening.  Although Tammy’s mic could have been balanced louder, it did fit with how I always remember Blondie songs – missing half of the Debbie Harry vocals, whenever she sang in her lower, alto range.  At least it was authentic and a great ride down memory lane.  I don’t how the acoustics were for those on the side and and back to the bar: I can’t imagine they could see anything and since the visual aspects were as important as the music, those back there may not have gotten as much out of it.  Tammy Faye Starlite put on a fabulous performance, even getting up on a chair to reach out to her audience in back.  From what I hear, she is a crowd-pleaser, and was no less of one this night.

November 2, 2009 Posted by | Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Brooklyn What Runs for Brooklyn Borough President

With election day 2009 approaching, and no viable option on the ballot for those who are dissatisfied with Marty Markowitz, The Brooklyn What wishes to make formal its write-in campaign for the office of Borough President of Brooklyn, NY.

The local, Brooklyn raised punk rock band has been running informally since summer 2007, when lead singer Jamie Frey and guitarist Evan O’Donnell encountered current Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz at a concert in Coney Island, and informed him that they were not interested in the planned Nets arena in Prospect Heights. “Marty took one look at our shirtless, sweaty, hairy bodies and told us to ‘move out’.” Recalls O’Donnell. “From then on, it was war.” The group titled its first album, released November 28th, 2008 on Pozar Records “The Brooklyn What for Borough President” and Frey and O’Donnell have been heckling Markowitz at public events ever since.

The Brooklyn What’s Top Five Reasons not to vote for Marty:

  • The Proposed Atlantic Yards Project, which illegally uses eminent domain to give land to a private developer for a fraction of its valu, in order to build a basketball arena and several high rise condo buildings in the middle of prospect heights.
  • Marty is Corrupt. The New York Post reported that Markowitz has steered nearly $700,000 in no bid contracts to his personal non-profit, which has also been recipient of $1 million in contributions from who else? Bruce Ratner, the Atlantic Yards developer
  • Marty knocked his only democratic challenger off the ballot.Thanks for the democracy, Marty!
  • Marty Endorses Bloomberg. Bloomberg has made living in this city without a million dollar salary nearly impossible.
  • Marty is Manhattan-izing Brooklyn. Skyscrapers, exorbitant rents, local treasures (Coney Island) turned into tourist traps, sound familiar?

Bring the real Brooklyn back!

The Brooklyn What are a local band, formed in the basement of lead singer Jamie Frey’s parents house. The group has been playing raw, loud, authentic NYC rock & roll to packed, sweaty rooms of New York’s youth since 2006, at venues such as Freddy’s Bar, Don Pedro’s, Trash Bar, Mehanata, and many others across the city. The group’s first album has been hailed as a cult classic.

The Brooklyn What are running for office because they envision a Brooklyn that belongs to everyone, regardless of paycheck size, with room for the diversity of culture that makes Brooklyn truly great.  The group does not feel that the places and people that we all love so much need to be replaced with shinier, more expensive versions of themselves, stripped of all history and feeling. Brooklyn the place is good enough as it is. What the borough really needs is affordable housing, decent jobs at decent wages that last, real options for the kids growing up in this rapidly gentrifying city. The Brooklyn What endorses the UNITY plan for the Atlantic Yards,

If elected, the Brooklyn What promises to rezone all newly built condos and buildable lots not used as community spaces for affordable housing, ban the opening of any more fancy coffee shops or clothing boutiques in working class neighborhoods, create community health and cultural centers throughout the borough, push for a full audit of the MTA, and place the lead perpetrators of the glass condo plague behind bars.

The Brooklyn What can be found at Bar Matchless on November 14th, and Trash Bar on November 20th for further discussion. For more information visit the Brooklyn What home page, the band’s myspace, their Pozar Records page or email thebrooklynwhat [at]

November 2, 2009 Posted by | New York City, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment