Two live-music outings this week, both of them phenomenally good. The first, in an intimate space just off a nondescript stretch of road between one place and another in Brooklyn, brought together three improvising combos: the trio MAW (bassist Frank Meadows, guitarist Jessica Ackerley, and pianist/percussionist Eli Wallace); the duo of flutist Laura Cocks and Madison Greenstone, both of TAK Ensemble; and a trio featuring Los Angeles saxophonist Patrick Shiroishi with two New York City mainstays, violinist gabby fluke-mogul and multi-instrumentalist Che Chen. Live visual projections by Laura Sofía Pérez accompanied all the sets, providing sympathetic vibes and ironic juxtapositions. (My modest photos, taken from a distance, don't do Pérez's contributions justice.)
At a far-distant end of the spectrum, in terms of aesthetic, expense, scale, scope, and pretty much any other metric you could think of, was Fire Shut Up in My Bones, the Terence Blanchard opera currently making history at the Metropolitan Opera. High expectations were exceeded handily; this is a powerful, moving artistic statement, groundbreaking for far more reasons than the one most evident and widely reported upon. A bold statement: The exuberant Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity drill that opens Act III is the most revolutionary thing anyone has put on the Met stage to date.
The performances were tremendous, with the powerful soprano Latonia Moore (as Billie) and the 13-year-old treble Walter Russell III (as Char'es-Baby) especially riveting. Music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Met Orchestra players accompanied with power and flair—and I can't say that I ever foresaw a day when I'd hear drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts driving the band in that particular pit. It was a joy to see Blanchard emerge at the end for an uproarious sustained ovation.
Once upon a time, not really all that long ago, I'd have stayed up half the night writing at length about these shows, which lifted my spirits during an especially grinding week at the day gig. Seriously, I'd love to go off about how, midway through the set by Shiroishi, fluke-mogul, and Chen, I suddenly had a flash of insight concerning exactly how and why Sunny Murray developed his drumming style—I'm not kidding. But since I don't have the time to break it all down, suffice it to say that these two extremely different productions served as timely reminders of why it is that I feel driven to do the thing(s) I do.
(That also goes for Eternal Home, the improbably righteous new Fire-Toolz album that came out today on Hausu Mountain. The latest from ingenious polymath Angel Marcloid is the mix of sphincter-clenched black metal vokillz, blastbeat drumming, silky-smooth synth patterns, yacht-rock guitar licks, and Gerry Rafferty-approved sax croon I never knew I needed.)
Night After Night Watch.
DiMenna Center for Classical Music
450 W. 37th St., Midtown Manhattan
Saturday, Oct. 16 at 8pm; $20, seniors and students $10
Proof of vaccination required
The tireless Talea players are back at the DiMenna Center again, this time to perform the U.S. premiere of Azrieli Music Prize-winning works by Keiko Devaux, Yotam Haber, and Yitzhak Yedid. Music by David Adamcyk and Pierre Mercure rounds out the bill.
John Zorn New Masada Quartet
178 Seventh Ave. S., Greenwich Village
Sunday, Oct. 17 & Sunday, Oct. 24 at 3pm; $35
Proof of vaccination required.
You know how sometimes a band plays together with such unanimity and virtuosity that sometimes you laugh out loud in disbelief? That's the effect saxophonist and composer John Zorn achieves with his newest Masada ensemble – guitarist Julian Lage, bassist Jorge Roeder, and drummer Kenny Wollesen – who reconvene here for two afternoon matinée performances of soulful intensity and buoyant swing. The band's self-titled debut album comes out on Tzadik Oct. 22. (These shows appear to be sold out already—check in before you head out.)
New York Philharmonic
Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center
1941 Broadway, Upper West Side
Wednesday, Oct. 20–Saturday, Oct. 23 at ; $39-$120
Masks and proof of vaccination required.
Wrote this one up for The New Yorker this week…
The Stone at The New School
55 W. 13th St, Greenwich Village
Thursday, Oct. 21–Saturday, Oct. 23 at 8:30pm; $20
Masks and proof of vaccination or negative PCR test result required
Dynamic pianist, composer, bandleader, and label entrepreneur Kris Davis reopens John Zorn's Stone series at The New School, which resumes with three-night bookings instead of the previous five-night runs. (Bookings will expand to four nights in 2022.) On Thursday Davis leads a quartet with trumpeter Milena Casado Fauque, bassist Ben Street, and drummer Johnathan Blake. Davis's trio with Blake and bassist Stephan Crump appears Friday; on Saturday Davis is joined by guitarist Mary Halvorson, bassist Noah Garabedian, and drummer Kenny Wollesen in a record-release celebration for Zorn's second Bagatelles box set.
Robert Ashley: eL/Aficionado
Kayleigh Butcher, Brian McCorkle, Bonnie Lander, Paul Pinto
509 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn
Thursday, Oct. 21–Saturday, Oct. 23 at 8pm; $35, advance $30
Proof of vaccination required
This one is listed in The New Yorker, too…
For the Record: Oct. 15, 2021.
For the Record rounds up details about new and pending recordings of interest to the new-music community: contemporary classical music and jazz, electronic and electroacoustic music, and idioms for which no clever genre name has been coined, on CD, vinyl LP, cassette, digital-only formats… you name it.
This version of the list, which will be continuously updated, is for paying subscribers only—with thanks. There will be more exclusive content coming for you, in time.
This list of release dates is culled from press releases, Amazon, Bandcamp, and other internet stores and sources, social-media posts, and online resources such as Discogs. Dates cited typically correspond to initial U.S. release, and are subject to change. (Links to Amazon, used when all else fails, do not imply endorsement.)
These listings are not comprehensive—nor could they be! To submit a forthcoming recording for consideration, email information to email@example.com.
Please note that all opinions expressed herein are solely my own, and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.
New this week.
Kyle Bruckmann - Mesmerics/Hindsight A (Infrequent Seams)
Jacob Cooper & Steven Bradshaw - Sunrise (Cold Blue)
Whit Dickey/William Parker/Matthew Shipp - Village Mothership (Tao Forms)
Fred Frith Trio - Road (Intakt)
Fuubutsushi - Good Sky Day (Longform Editions)
Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble - A Terrible Beauty - compositions by Jane O'Leary, Amy Rooney, John Buckley, Frank Corcoran, Greg Caffrey, Iain McCurdy, Gráinne Mulvey, Kevin O'Connell, Simon Mawhinney, Ryan Molloy, and Rhona Clarke (Diatribe)
Yvette Janine Jackson - Test Flight No1 (Longform Editions)
Guy Klucevsek - Citrus, My Love (Starkland; 1995 recording, standard and deluxe versions)
Kohlenstoff - Collision carbone no 1 (Kohlenstoff)
Liza Lim - Singing in Tongues: opera and vocal works 1993-2008 (Huddersfield Contemporary Records)
Lucy Liyou/Yska - A Need/A Want (Notice Recordings)
Steve Long - Code-Talker (Tripticks Tapes)
Miles Okazaki/Trevor Dunn/Dan Weiss - Hive Mind (Tzadik)
Matthew Liam Nicholson - Nine Movements (Longform Editions)
Tim Olive - Ribbon (Notice Recordings)
Hania Rani/Dobrawa Czocher - inner symphonies (Deutsche Grammophon)
Julia Reidy - How to Spot a Rip (Takuroku)
Steph Richards with Joshua White - Zephyr (Relative Pitch)
Terry Riley - Archangels - Novus Cellos, Trinity Choir/Julian Wachner (National Sawdust Tracks)
Marina Rosenfeld - Teenage Lontano (Room40)
ROVA Saxophone Quartet - The Circumference of Reason (ESP-Disk')
Philip Samartzis & Eugene Ughetti - Array (Room40)
Sten Sandell|Lisa Ullén - Double Music (Clean Feed)
Chad Smith - Three (Cold Blue)
Luke Stewart & Jarvis Earnshaw Quartet - Luke Stewart & Jarvis Earnshaw Quartet (No Quarter)
Ohad Talmor Trio - Mise En Place (Intakt)
Hans Thomalla - Dark Spring - Shachar Levi, Anna Hybiner, Christopher Diffey, Magid El-Bushra, Mannheim National Theatre Orchestra/Alan Pierson (Oehms Classics)
Trio in Transit (Elliott Sharp, Steve Piccolo, Denis Charles) - Trio in Transit (Zoar; 1981 recording)
William Tyler - Frozen Shelter (Longform Editions)
Patrick Ward - Video Evidence (Takuroku)
Mychael Danna/Tim Clément - North of Niagara (self-released; originally released 1995 on Hearts of Space)
Liz Allbee - Rille (Relative Pitch)
Julia Den Boer - Kermès - compositions by Giulia Lorusso, Linda Catlin Smith, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, and Rebecca Saunders (New Focus)
Alex Zethson Ensemble - Some of Them Were Never Unprepared (Relative Pitch)
David Behrman - Viewfinder/Hide & Seek (Black Truffle; recordings from '80s and '90s)
Sylvie Courvoisier & Mary Halvorson - Searching for the Disappeared Hour (Pyroclastic)
Aldo Clementi - Canoni circolari - Kathryn Williams, Joe Richards, Mira Benjamin, Mark Knoop (All That Dust)
Angharad Davies - gwneud a gwneud eto/do and do again (All That Dust)
Evan Johnson - Lists, Little Stars - Ben Smith (All That Dust)
Robbie Lee - Prismatist (Relative Pitch)
Eleonor Sandresky - The Wonder Suit: The Brooklyn Session (Supertrain)
thingNY - a sense of Dear Nancine (Gold Bolus)
Petar Klanac - Pozgarria da - ensemble 0 (Belarri)
Andrea Parkins - Two Rooms from the Memory Palace (Infrequent Seams)
Saman Shahi - Microlocking (People Places Records)
Eric Wubbels/Charmaine Lee/Weston Olencki - Field of Action/contraposition (Out of Your Head)