Lucid Culture


Inbal Segev and Fernardo Otero Kill the Lights at le Poisson Rouge

To play the cello, you have to be comfortable in the dark. Wednesday night at le Poisson Rouge, cellist Inbal Segev and her old Juilliard pal, pianist Fernando Otero, treated a sold-out crowd to a performance as deep and intense as they could have possibly delivered. Segev wasted not a single second in setting the tone for the night, digging in mightily with a solo rendition of Bach’s Cello Suite No. 5 in C Minor, BWV 1011. As the chords opening the initial prelude roared through the club’s PA system, it was clear that she was going to follow this haunted road as far as it led. For awhile, it was heavy metal, 1725 style. And when the fugal second part began, she let its stately nonchalance speak for itself, its long sequence of broken chords dancing on a grave, maybe.

Otero, known for his uncompromising, slashing melodic attack and fearlessly dark lyricism, joined her for a set of five of his pieces. Milonga, the first, was done as a murky modal tableau, basically a one-chord rumble like Cecil Taylor in a long brooding moment. It built to rapidfire lower-register boogie that gradually added an otherworldly deep-space glimmer as he developed it, one hand playing off the other with a staccato that surprisingly wasn’t crushing but very subtly modulated: a heavy piece done with dynamics that its mighty wallop overshadowed. Segev got the chance to accent the boogie with a savage staccato and lit into it with relish. The two musicians seem to be kindred spirits, with an easy chemistry that contrasted with the unease and sometimes outright anguish of the material. A song without words artfully contrasted Segev’s apprehensive precision against Otero’s minutely jeweled, otherworldly glimmering righthand clusters; they closed with a diptych with echoes of Satie, Chopin’s E Minor Prelude and ELO, rivulets playing wildly against Segev’s stoicism followed by an animated chase scene that ended on a disconcertingly ambiguous note.

Segev closed with a stunning solo rendition of Kodaly’s Sonata, Op. 9 for Solo Cello. It’s a genuinely phenomenal piece of music, decades ahead of its time. Segev shared some of the highlights beforehand with the crowd, noting that it dates from the same year – 1917 – as the famous Debussy Cello Sonata, and offered a taste of some of the highlights, which utilize a lot of pizzicato and some delicious chordal slipsliding late in the piece. But all the pyrotechnics paled next to the chilling, proto-Shostakovian, stygian mourning of the adagio movement. Opening with some jarring juxtapositions leading into plenty of suspense, it becomes a relentless, crushing dirge before finally reaching for a somewhat macabrely charged energy in the third movement, a thicket of extremely difficult passages simultaneously bowed and plucked (Segev had it down cold) lit up with numerous quotes from Hungarian folk dances. Kodaly, like Bartok, did some serious research in the countryside before embarking on this dangerous journey. The crowd screamed for an encore and Segev rewarded them with a lickety-split, doublestop-driven, perfectly precise version of a sizzling bluegrass theme by fellow cellist Sean Grissom.

June 4, 2011 Posted by | avant garde music, classical music, concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Album of the Day 6/4/11

We’ve been so busy putting together a comprehensive NYC live music calendar for this summer that we’ve put a ton of stuff on the back burner. Upcoming momentarily: intense cello music in the West Village; old favorites in Williamsburg and the East Village; a wasted afternoon in downtown Brooklyn and an ill-advised Friday night trip to Queens. You can’t say we don’t get around. In the meantime, as we do every day, our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues all the way to #1. Saturday’s album is #605:

The Strawbs – Grave New World

The Strawbs started out in the UK in the late 60s as the Strawberry Hill Gang, playing bluegrass; they backed Sandy Danny on her first full-length recording, not issued til decades later. By 1972, they were taking British folk and making towering, anthemic, psychedelic art-rock out of it, sort of like Jethro Tull without the gnomes and hobbits. This one’s all over the map: there are a couple of duds, but otherwise it’s a masterpiece, a loosely thematic collection of songs that ponder aging and death. Benedictus takes a 12-string Byrds theme and makes a hypnotic, circular anthem out of it; the title track, with its murderous, crashing mellotron intro, is one of the most vengeful songs ever written: “May you rot, in your grave new world!” There’s also the apprehensive, Procol Harum-ish Tomorrow; the artfully backward-masked Queen of Dreams; the psychedelic folk of Heavy Disguise and The Flower and the Young Man and the surprisingly quiet, resigned concluding track Journey’s End. After all these years, and a turn in a harder-rocking direction, frontman Dave Cousins continues to tour a more acoustic version of the band. Here’s a random torrent.

June 4, 2011 Posted by | lists, Music, music, concert, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2011 Undead Jazz Festival Schedule

This year’s Undead Jazz Festival moves around neighborhood by neighborhood: 6/23 in the West Village; 6/24-25 in Gowanus and ending on the 26th in Williamsburg. The complete calendar is below. Scroll to the bottom of this page for ticket and festival pass info.

June 23rd:

Le Poisson Rouge

7:00pm: Satoko Fujii ma-do

8:10pm: Marc Ribot solo

9:20pm: TARBABY (Eric Revis, Nasheet Waits, Orrin Evans, Oliver Lake)

10:30pm: Escreet / Binney / Krantz / Gilmore – “The Age We Live In”

11:40pm: Ceramic Dog w/ Marc Ribot, Shahzad Ismaily, and Ches Smith

12:50pm: Dave Torn’s GOLDFINGER w/ Tim Berne and Ches Smith

Sullivan Hall

7:20pm: Amir Elsaffar w/ Hafez Modirzade, Francois Moutin, and Dan Weiss

8:30pm: Kris Davis / Ingrid Laubrock / Tyshawn Sorey

9:40pm: Gerald Clayton

10:50pm: Andrew D’Angelo Big Band

12:00am: Dave King Trucking Company

1:10am: Harriet Tubman Double Trio w/ Brandon Ross, Melvin Gibbs, JT Lewis, Graham Haynes and Val Inc.

Kenny’s Castaways

7:40pm: Harris Eisenstedt’s Canada Day

8:50pm: David Fiuczynski’s Planet MicroJam

10:00pm: Alan Licht & Brian Chase

11:10pm: Doomsayer

12:20am: Michael Blake / Ben Allison / Rudy Royston

1:30am: Logan Richardson Trio w/ Nasheet Waits and Ben Street

June 24th:

The Bell House

11:00pm: “a night of round robin improvised duets” featuring: Dean Bowman, David Torn, Erik Friedlander, Jim Black, Elliott Sharp, and others

June 25th:


8:00pm: Jeff Lederer’s Sunwatcher

9:10pm: Sylvie Courvoisier & Mark Feldman

10:20pm: Darius Jones Trio

11:30pm: Anthony Coleman Trio with Brad Jones, and Satoshi Takeshi

12:40am: Jamie Saft’s New Zion Trio

Homage Skate Park, 151 Smith St., Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

8:40pm: Min Xiao-Fen’s Dim Sum w/ Satoshi Takeishi

9:50pm: Matt Wilson solo

11:00pm: Dean Bowman solo

12:10am: David S. Ware solo

1:20am: Jeremy Udden’s Plainville

June 26th:

Public Assembly stage 1 (assume they mean the back room)

8:00pm: Bizingas

9:00pm: The Claudia Quintet w/ Theo Bleckmann

10:00pm: Oliver Lake Organ Quartet

11:00pm: Ari Hoenig Quartet

12:00pm: Peter Brötzmann’s FULL BLAST

Public Assembly stage 2 (probably means the smaller stage in front, by the bar)

8:30pm: Gene Lake

9:30pm: Bobby Previte Quartet

10:30pm: Josh Roseman

11:30pm: Clark Gayton

Cubana Social, 70 N 6th St., Williamsburg

8:15pm: Marika Hughes

9:15pm: Graffito w/ Andrew D’Angelo

10:15pm: Erik Friedlander

11:15pm: Rashanim

Cameo Gallery

8:45pm: John Irabagon / Mike Pride

9:45pm: Ches Smith’s Congs for Brums

10:45pm: UB313 w/ Marshall Allen

11:45pm: Aperiodic

The best deal for tix  is the four-day pass for $50 which works out to $12.50 a night, a real steal for these A-list shows. There are also two-day passes ($35), single-day passes ($25) and single tix to the 6/24 show at the Bell House (not included in the two-day pass), all available at the Poisson Rouge box office.

June 4, 2011 Posted by | concert, jazz, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Make Music NY 2011 Schedule – Our Top Picks

Here’s a list of the most interesting acts we could find who’re playing this year’s Make Music New York, Tuesday, June 21. The official schedule is here. We’ll update this page as we get word of other quality acts playing around town that day. Be aware that as in years past, even the official list has massive gaps in it: there will be hundreds, maybe thousands of artists who aren’t listed who will be participating. This is your chance to discover random performers who might become your favorites (or not) during your lunch hour, or on the way home – or, if you’re like us, you might think of playing hooky that day. A few observations: 1) there seem to be considerably fewer performers listed this year than last; 2) most of the people who played it last year aren’t playing this year, at last according to the calendar (which can be interpreted many different ways), and 3) there are far fewer locations listed this year, compared to 2010, at least according to the official calendar. Which is also open to interpretation.

Remember that the excellent free Punk Island shows on Governors Island are on Sunday, June 19, not the 21st.

We’ve done our best to list performances with good sonics: every year, dozens of good performers find out how impossible it is to compete with the eardrum-shattering alarms that go off when city bus doors open, or with the subway rumbling overhead. If the Sediment Club was playing under the Manhattan Bridge, we’d be there – the din would only enhance what they do. But last year, there was an unamplified acoustic guitar duo down there. Go figure.

At noon catchy, hypnotic Afrobeat band Emefe play Tavern on the Green, Central Park West at 67th St; at 3:30 they move to the corner of Battery Place and State Street Plaza downtown (just follow the sound of the horns); at 7 they navigate up to the Winery at 257 W 116th St.

At noon Barmaljova – a rare performance by extraordinary violist/composer Ljova Zhurbin and his equally extraordinary singer wife Inna Barmash – outside the old Astor Wines & Liquors space on St. Mark’s Place, just west of Lafayette St.

Also at noon, Zap & the Naturals play reggae at K. Printing Inc., 355 Lenox Ave. uptown.

Also at noon, eclectic jazz guitarist Nick Demopoulos – inventor and virtuoso of the smomid, sort of a cross between an electric oud and a bass. He’s at Pentatonic Guitars at 139 Franklin St. in Greenpoint; at 6:30, he moves to Supercore at 305 Bedford Ave. in Williamsburg.

1 PM a “griot summit” hidden way up at Wave Hill Park in the Bronx (675 W 252nd St.) featuring a tremendously skilled, entertaining group of African artists: balafonist Famoro Dioubate and kora players Salieu Suso, Lankandia Cissoko and Yacouba Sissoko.

1 PM ambient downtempo chanteuse Lulla at Tea Lounge, 837 Union St. in Park Slope.

2 PM classical pianist Taka Kigawa has scored the coveted Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park! Nice work Taka!

3 PM heavy metal under the BQE: just the way it used to be, Union Ave. and N 8th St. in Williamsburg. The show starts with SOS at 3, Wizardry at 4, the punk/hardcore of Thinning the Herd at 4, darkly psychedelic La Otracina at 6, then Exemption and Krystaleen split the remaining hour from 7 to 8.

4 PM one of our favorites, eclectic roots reggae band Zion Judah at Peach Frog, 136 N 10th St. in Williamsburg.

4 PM the avant-garde Red Light Ensemble, hilarious furry-suited oldtime swing xylophone jazz band the Xylopholks (will they survive the heat?) and Shakuhachi Ensemble, with trumpeter Leif Arntzen squeezed in there somewhere, at the Cornelia St. Cafe.

4 PM torchy pianist/singer Jeanne Marie Boes at the Athens Triangle, 3221 Newtown Ave. in Astoria.

4 PM several reggae acts playing 366 Myrtle Ave. in Ft. Greene: Terry Lyons, Kemston, Hotta Lava and Tayazawan.

4 PM rootsy rockers Whisperado followed at 6 by fearless, fiery, lyrically-driven pop siren Elaine Romanelli at Jackson Hewitt, 28-17 Steinway St. in Astoria.

4 PM the David Glukh klezmer ensemble at the NYPL Spuyten Duyvil branch, 650 W 235th St. in the Bronx.

4 PM the Pitch Blak Brass Band at Water St. Restaurant, 66 Water St. in Dumbo.

4 PM Tschaka Tongy play reggae at K. Printing Inc., 355 Lenox Ave. uptown.

4 PM the Caribian Ricans play reggae and ska at Society Coffee, 2104 Frederick Douglass Blvd. uptown; at 6 PM they’re at Hunts Point Park, Lafayette Ave. and Edgewater Road in the Bronx.

4:45 PM the Fools – tuneful, lo-fi all-girl garage-pop duo – at the junk shop at 106 N 3rd St. in Williamsburg.

5 PM cool concept: “Unsung Greats: ‘Where is the Outrage?’ Musical and poetic commentary on the need for continuous strikes and other forms of mass protests. The purpose: To ignite and excite the spirit of revolution in our communities and the world.” Today Yemen: tomorrow Wall Street. At the community garden at 312 E 4th St.

5 PM Thunda Vida plays reggae and ska at the Whole Foods at 98th and Columbus Ave.

5 PM lyrical jazz pianist Deanna Witkowski plays the Winery at 257 W 116th St.

5:30 PM the lush, sweeping, intoxicating NY Arabic Orchestra plays Bryant Park.

6 PM smartly lyrical, Aimee Mann-esque songwriter Andrea Wittgens at Fort Tryon, Riverside Dr. and Dyckman St.

6 PM carnivalesque Balkan brass outfit Hungry March Band marching around Highline Park, 10th Ave. and 16th St.

6 PM Alarm Will Sound’s Alan Pierson conducts some kind of ensemble playing Rzewski and Beethoven at 246 Spring St. – ostensibly WQXR is involved.

6 PM the Birdhive Boys play bluegrass at Verde at 216 Smith St. in Carroll Gardens.

6 PM the Renaissance Street Singers at 108 Christopher St. in the West Village.

6 PM Pastor Murtlene Sampson sings gospel with piano accompaniment at Brower Park, 1040 Park Place in Bed-Stuy.

6 PM Tribal Legacy play reggae and ska at Sans Souci Restaurant & Bar, 330 Myrtle Ave. in Ft. Greene.

6 PM jazz flutist Carlos Jimenez plays the Riverdale branch of the NYPL, 5540 Mosholu Ave. with his group.

6 PM at Goodbye Blue Monday, someone or something called Meatloaf Sucks. Do they mean the big fat guy, or the hamburger creation?

6:30 PM pioneering avant-garde string quartet Ethel at the Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand St.

6:30 PM the Kaufman Center’s student avant garde ensemble Face the Music plays their home base at 129 W 67th St.

7 PM smart guitar jazz with a sometimes sardonic, cynical edge:  Jon Lundbom & Big Five Chord at Beer Table, 427 7th Ave. in Brooklyn.

7 PM Num & Nu Afrika play their annual reggae show at Drastadub Studios, 31 W 127th St. uptown.

7 PM Americana rock siren Karen Hudson at her usual haunt, Indian Hill Cafe, 600 W 218th St. in Washington Heights. Honkytonk singer Orville Davis follows at 9.

7 PM the Brooklyn Brass Quintet at the Central Park entrance to the Columbus Circle subway.

7:30 PM Ill Rendition plays reggae at Joloff, 930 Fulton St. in Ft. Greene.

8 PM oldschool Brooklyn indie rock legend John Hovorka at Russell & Driggs Ave. in Greenpoint

8 PM Bill Popp & the Tapes at Tompkins Square Park. This may be the best gig he’s ever had – not bad, considering that various versions of this band have been around for 30 years. He’s not bad either, in a Beatlesque powerpop way. You are destined to see him one of these days whether you realize it or not – why not now?

June 4, 2011 Posted by | classical music, concert, country music, folk music, gospel music, jazz, Live Events, middle eastern music, Music, music, concert, New York City, reggae music, rock music, world music | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment