Concert Reviews

Review: Nate Wooley’s Battle Pieces IV Live at Roulette, Dec 3, 2018

Nate Wooley is one of the most thoughtful and interesting musicians working in New York. Battle Pieces makes daring new explorations into song structure, reinventing the relationships between members of an ensemble in a way that retains an alert sharpness during every live performance. Since the band formed for Anthony Braxton’s Tri-Centric Music Festival in 2014,

Review: Yarn/Wire at the Stone with Popebama, Jan 30, 2019

Yarn/Wire‘s ambitious Stone residency included some experiments worthy of the designation “experimental” to be sure, and Popebama was no exception. On one of the coldest days I’ve experienced here in New York City, January 30th, I walked from Tribeca to the Stone at the New School in the Glass Box Theater. I had been there

Review: Sandy Ewen and Marc Edwards Live at Ceremony224, Oct 3, 2018

Guitarist Sandy Ewen’s move from Houston to Brooklyn in early 2018 has no doubt had a transformative impact upon the improvised music scene here. Her unique, abrasion-focused way of playing her guitar, vertically situated in her lap, has provided her some significant and innovative musical techniques that she has employed to great purpose. Ewen is

While We Still Have Bodies at Two Concerts in Sep 2018

While We Still Have Bodies is one of the most developed freely improvised ensembles to emerge in Brooklyn over the past decade. This band is comprised of Michael Foster (saxophones), Ben Gerstein (trombone), Sean Ali (bass), and Flin van Hemmen (drums). As stated, their music is entirely improvised and each time I have seen them

Review: Aquiles Navarro-Tcheser Holmes Duo at In Gardens Series, Sep 8, 2018

I have been familiar with trumpeter Aquiles Navarro and Tcheser Holmes for several years now. Their work in Irreversible Entanglements, a quintet featuring Moor Mother, Keir Neuringer, and Luke Stewart, has seen them touring internationally since 2016 and releasing one of the foremost records of 2017. Navarro and Holmes have been working on their duo

Review: Joanna Mattrey Band at Muchmore’s, Sep 5, 2018

On September 5, 2018, violist Joanna Mattrey convened a quintet of superb improvisers that included trombonist Ben Gerstein, trumpeter Joe Moffett, bass clarinetist John McCowen, and vocalist Nina Dante. Their set was an exploration of the possibilities of minimalist improvisations in a collective context. The music began with small sounds, as if emerging from all

Review: Weasel Walter, Sam Weinberg, Carlos Quebrada Live at Wonders of Nature, Sep 5, 2018

Colombian electric bassist, Carlos Quebrada, based in Buenos Aires, joined New York drummer Weasel Walter and saxophonist Sam Weinberg for an intense, visceral performance at Wonders of Nature on Wednesday, September 5. This trio presented a set of jagged-edged, high-energy improvised music that really pushed the boundaries. Saxophonic squeaks, rapid, percussive bass lines, and hard,

Review: Blacks’ Myths, Live at Fridman Gallery, Sep 7, 2018

Blacks’ Myths, a duo of electric bassist Luke Stewart and drummer Warren G. “Trae” Crudup III played the second set at the Fridman Gallery, Friday, September 7. They released their debut record in July. The band embodies deep rhythms and dark energies. The two riffed and improvised, building off of each other constantly. Stewart often

Review: James Brandon Lewis Solo, Live at the Fridman Gallery, Sep 7, 2018

I was running late on Friday, September 7, but when I approached the block where the Fridman Gallery is in the West Village, I was pleasantly greeted by the flowing sounds of the saxophone of James Brandon Lewis. I recognized it instantly. The music appeared in an interesting context, the closing night of the Strange

Review: Charmaine Lee Solo at Wonders of Nature, Sep 5, 2018

Vocalist Charmaine Lee opened a three-set bill at Wonders of Nature on Wednesday, September 5. Using an amplifier and distortion effects, Lee created explosions of ecstatic, attacking sound with vibrations like abrasions, collisions, and disruptions which she occasionally disrupted with vocalized words or phrases. She performed the entire 10-minute set with her back to the