Concert Reviews

VAX to the Future

VAX lit things up at De-construkt on Saturday night. The room was packed and, as always with a VAX performance, there was considerable chatter within the audience before they took the stage about what might occur. VAX events are more than a simple concert, they are an event, one that is a bit more of

Review: Anna Webber Solo at Spectrum, Jan 4, 2019

As the second set at Spectrum on January 4 (following the trio of Kate Gentile, Brandon Seabrook, and Matt Mitchell that I reviewed yesterday), tenor saxophonist Anna Webber played “five short pieces.” In the course of her set, she demonstrated the many different forms her music can take. The first piece opened with high-pitched repetition

Review: Kate Gentile, Brandon Seabrook, and Matt Mitchell, Live at Spectrum, Jan 4, 2019

Three idiosyncratic players, drummer Kate Gentile, guitarist and banjoist Brandon Seabrook, and pianist Matt Mitchell came together at Spectrum for an interesting set of music. All three musicians are composers and each contributed pieces to this collective unit. The ways that the three fit together in different ways throughout the night was the driving narrative

Last Night at Cornelia: Tom Rainey Trio, Dec 30, 2018

Anyone who frequented Cornelia Street Cafe in recent years is aware of the tradition that arose with the Tom Rainey Trio playing the second to last night of the year. For each of the last eight years, an eager crowd gathered to hear one of New York’s most cutting-edge bands. Drummer and composer Tom Rainey has

Review: Lotte Anker, Craig Taborn, and Gerald Cleaver at Rehearsal Studios, Dec 19, 2018

Danish saxophonist Lotte Anker’s tour through New York in December was one of the highlights of the year and was the crescendo to four performances that she did, each with a different band, over the course of ten days. Her unique approach to her instrument pairs perfectly with the equally exploratory American pianist Craig Taborn

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