6 min read

But not for me.

A sudden unfortunate turn, along with some timely news, a streaming opera, and listings for events worth knowing about.

Prelude.

Nov. 12, 2022.

Well. So much for this week.

Mind you, I'm fully vaccinated, including two standard boosters and one for the variants. I'm still masking, everywhere. I haven't eaten inside a restaurant since February 2022. Ask anyone in the business: I'm a difficult date.

I reckon that's why my symptoms are relatively mild, like a bad cold during the day and a bothersome flu at night. This mostly amounts to a mere frustration.

But the numbers are going up as we head into colder months, and I'm not even the only muso who got hit this week. This ain't over by a long shot.

Still, see you out there again… sometime soon.


Here is the news.

Terri-Lyne Carrington (Photograph: Michael Goldman)

• Winter Jazzfest has made the initial announcement of its 2023 festival, scheduled to take place January 12–18, and marathon passes for Manhattan and Brooklyn are on sale now. The week-long presentation promises "100+ groups, 400+ musicians, 15 venues," which makes it hard to select stand-outs. But one definitely wouldn't want to miss the New Standards Live showcase on Jan. 12, directed by Terri-Lyne Carrington and focused on the "New Standards" anthology of 101 lead sheets by women composers she saw to fruition this year.

• Big Ears, the omnivorous new-music jamboree in Knoxville, TN, has announced more engagements for its already enticing 10th-anniversary presentation in 2023. Newly added are a day-long, site-specific account of Robert Ashley's Perfect Lives by NYC performance-art cabal Varispeed; performances by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra of The Blue Hour, the song cycle created collaboratively by Rachel Grimes, Angélica Negrón, Shara Nova, Caroline Shaw, and Sarah Kirkland Snider, as well as Michael Schachter’s violin concerto Cycle of Life and a project featuring Bill Frisell and his trio; and two more events added to a burgeoning celebration of John Zorn's 70th birthday. There's more, too; gaze in wonder here.

• Despite my deep-rooted ambivalence toward Substack – the cause for which Zachary Lipez described so vividly and precisely in April 2021 that I can't imagine doing better – I won't hesitate to herald its users. That's a roundabout way of welcoming Chronicles, via which Vinnie Sperazza is writing at length about his fellow jazz drummers. The newsletter got rolling on Nov. 7 with an illuminating dive into two pivotal early Paul Motian sessions, which had the intended effect of driving me to listen immediately to the two albums covered: Paul Bley with Gary Peacock and Bill Evans's Trio 64. The second post, covering another Bley album and a Mose Allison set, arrived yesterday, and I'm looking forward to diving in.

• I've established a Mastodon profile – @nightafternight@journa.host – and am trying very hard to maintain interest, to say nothing of establishing a groove. It ain't easy. Also: evidently plenty of the platform's users want nothing to do with journalists, at least those who act like it's just a wonkier Twitter. (Speaking of which, I'm still there, too, more than anywhere else.)


Playlist.

The latest tally of memorable things that got stuck in my ears includes recent and upcoming releases featuring Patrick Shiroishi, Dave Douglas, Daeva, Ripped to Shreds, and plenty more. Dip in, here.


Video of the week.

The Listeners, the new opera by the winning team of composer Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek, is available to stream on demand now, free of charge, thanks to a brilliant service called OperaVision. The world-premiere production, directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz and mounted by the Norwegian National Opera, will be available through May 12, 2023. But why wait?


Night After Night Watch.

Sylvie Courvoisier (Photograph: Veronique Hoegger)

Concerts listed in Eastern Standard Time.

Sylvie Courvoisier
Roulette
509 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn
Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 8pm; $30, advance $25, seniors and students $20
roulette.org

Intrepid Swiss-born pianist and composer Sylvie Courvoisier expands her nimble trio with bassist Drew Gress and drummer Kenny Wollesen, adding two iconoclastic trumpeters – Wadada Leo Smith and Nate Wooley – plus Christian Fennesz (yes, that Fennesz) on atmospheric electronics. If you can't be there in person, watch the free livestream—or catch the gig later on demand.

Catherine Christer Hennix
Blank Forms
468 Grand Ave. #1D, Brooklyn
Wednesday, Nov. 16–Sunday, Nov. 20, times vary; $40, advance $35
blankforms.org

A shadowy figure from the dawn of early Minimalism, the composer, performer, philosopher, and mathematician Catherine Christer Hennix has come back into view increasingly in recent years—first via a series of albums on the Important Records label, and more recently under the devoted auspices of Blank Forms. This particular version of Kamigaku Ensemble, her just-intonation group, boasts a killer trumpet section of Ellen Arkbro, Susana Santos Silva, and Amir ElSaffar, plus Marcus Pal on electronics and Hennix on shō. (I'll be honest, I'm pretty wrecked to be missing this one.)

Matt Mitchell
The Stone at The New School
55 W. 13th St., Greenwich Village
Wednesday, Nov. 16–Saturday, Nov. 19 at 8:30pm; $20
thestonenyc.com

The versatile pianist, composer, and bandleader Matt Mitchell comes to John Zorn's Stone series to showcase a variety of his projects, including his knotty Meshuggah-bop combo Phalanx Ambassadors. If I had to choose just one evening from the run – assuming I could go anywhere this week, obviously – I'd likely pick Thursday for its compelling lineup of Sara Serpa (voice), Anna Webber (flutes), Sara Schoenbeck (bassoon), Joanna Mattrey (viola), and Mariel Roberts (cello).

Maya Beiser + The Crossing
Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall
881 Seventh Ave., Midtown Manhattan
Thursday, Nov. 17 at 7:30pm; $35–$55
carnegiehall.org

Cellist Maya Beiser has enjoyed a close bond with composer Michael Gordon since her stint as a founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, when she thrilled audiences (and terrified classical-radio program directors) with her accounts of Gordon's solo piece, Industry. Here, composer and interpreter are reunited in the company of stellar new-music chorus The Crossing for the much-anticipated NYC premiere of Gordon's autobiographical Travel Guide to Nicaragua.

Castle of Our Skins
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
515 Malcolm X Blvd., Harlem
Friday, Nov. 18 at 7pm; $20, seniors and students $10
5bmf.org

Another event I'm gutted to be missing: the New York City debut of Castle of Our Skins, the invaluable Boston ensemble devoted to advocacy for Black composers and their work. The program, presented by 5 Boroughs Music Festival, marks the organization's 10th anniversary by recreating the program of its hometown debut: Love Affects, featuring chamber music by Charles Brown, William L. Dawson, Adolphus Hailstork, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, and Undine Smith Moore. The ensemble includes pianist Sarah Bob, an extraordinary force for modern music in Boston, and cellist Lev Mamuya, whose poetic writing about music earned him notice at the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism over the summer.

Wet Ink Ensemble
DiMenna Center for Classical Music
450 W. 37th St., Hell's Kitchen
Saturday, Nov. 19 at 7:30pm; $20 suggested donation, students free
eventbrite.com

Wet Ink, the always engaging collective of performing composers, deploys its core octet in a premiere by cellist Mariel Roberts, alongside the first local performances of Alex Mincek's So Many Ways and Sam Pluta's Star Taker, concluding with Prologue, a quartet by Wet Ink 2022-23 artist-in-residence Rick Burkhardt.

Seth Parker Woods
92nd Street Y
1395 Lexington Ave., Upper East Side
Saturday, Nov. 19 at 7:30pm; $25–$50, livestream $25
92ny.org

Borrowing text I wrote originally for a Gothamist Fall Preview article: Already known as one of the finest young cellists of his generation, Seth Parker Woods reveals himself to be considerably more in this original multidisciplinary performance piece. Taking the Great Migration as his theme, Woods serves as soloist, narrator, and motion artist in a program comprising poetry by Amiri Baraka and Dudley Randall, choreography by dancer Roderick George, film, and contemporary pieces created by a wide variety of composers — including, in this newest iteration, new music by Ted Hearne and Devonté Hynes (a.k.a. Blood Orange).

Find more listings in Night After Night Watch: The Master List, available exclusively to paid subscribers.


Blessings.

(Photographs by the author, except where indicated otherwise.)