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Summer 2022 NYC Live Music Preview


BRIC Celebrate BrooklynIt's that time again when the music moves from inside to outdoors, and after two years of shutdowns and half-full lineups, everything feels back in full swing this summer. It's about f*cking time! Following is a rundown of some of the highlights.

BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn (June 8-August 6) The best (mostly) free fest in NYC opens at the Lena Horne Bandshell tonight (6/8) with jazz fusion star Kamasi Washington and his outsized band. Other highlights include the magical singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers (6/14-15), Kronos Quartet and Roomful of Teeth (7/14), and neo-soul legend Erykah Badu (8/5). (Note: both Phoebe Bridgers and Erykah Badu are ticketed benefit concerts.)

SummerStage (June 11-August 31) Central Park's Rumsey Playfield opens this weekend (6/11) with a free show by the legendary Herbie Hancock with trumpeter Keyon Harrold. Other (mostly paid) highlights include a New Orleans blowout led by Trombone Shorty (6/13), George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic (6/15), Belle and Sebastian (6/16), Sons of Kemet with Makaya McCraven (7/31 - free), and a two night stand with Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen and Julien Baker (8/20-21).

Brooklyn International Music Fest (June 10-11) This two day festival at Red Hook's Jalopy Theatre highlights the rich and vibrant diaspora of musicians living and working in NYC, from Africa to China and everywhere in between. Tickets and info here.

NY Phil Concerts in the Parks (June 14-19) The Phil's annual parks concerts return after a two-year absence to each of the five boroughs with a program of Wagner, Bruch and Dvořák - along with music by a pair of Very Young Composers - led by Music Director Jaap van Zweden. Followed by fireworks. 

Brooklyn Americana Music Festival (June 24-26) American folk and bluegrass music gets its due at this three day festival, with a Friday ticketed show at Jalopy and free outdoor stages in DUMBO and Brooklyn Bridge Park over the weekend.  

Met Museum Sun Sets (July 1-Sept. 3) The Met's ongoing exploration of electronic music expands to the Cantor Roof Garden this summer with DJ sets on Fridays and Saturdays from 5-9pm. The roof garden bar will be open for drinks and light snacks; admission is free with your museum ticket. As are the sunsets.

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Weekend Live Music Preview: 5/27-5/30

Death of Classical Hot dogs Hooch and Handel
I know, it's a holiday weekend and a lot of folks are already on their way to the beach or country. But, for those sticking around, there are some solid musical offerings this weekend. Check it out. 

Friday 5/27: Saturday 5/28:

RESCHEDULED DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER: Death of Classical's "Hot Dogs, Hooch & Handel" at Green-wood Cemetery, 7pm

Playing on the alliterative success of 2019's "Burgers, Bourbon & Beethoven", Death of Classical brings their insatiable appetite for musical adventure back to Brooklyn's Green-wood Cemetery with this moveable feast that features music by the German-English baroque master, as well as swing jazz by The Grand St. Stompers. Tickets are $65 and includes snacks and a spirit tasting; hot dogs will be available for purchase from several local vendors. 

Lungs of the City: Olmsted's Parks in Music, Prospect Park Boathouse, noon

2022 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted, America's first and greatest landscape architect. Responsible for urban oases from New York's Central Park to Portland's Forest Park, Olmsted's projects are still celebrated for their graceful melding of the natural and manmade. Inspired by his most celebrated designs, eight composers have created new music, to be performed by the American Wild Ensemble at another of Olmsted's designs, Brooklyn's Prospect Park. Admission is free.  

Gamelan Kusuma Laras at the Indonesian Consulate, 7pm

For those who've never heard the minimalist, trance-inducing sounds of the Indonesian gamelan orchestra, this is an opportunity to experience one live without having to travel halfway around the world. This "klenèngan" is an informal jam session, where audience members are welcome to come and go throughout the night. Advance tickets ($10) are sold out, but walk up patrons will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis after 8:30pm (The event goes until 11pm).

Sunday 5/29: 

Benefit for Ukraine at Roulette, 5pm

There's been no shortage of benefits for Ukraine over the past few months, from the Met to Carnegie Hall. But, for its sheer breadth of starry talent, this show at Brooklyn's Roulette - curated by the tireless composer/performer/producer John Zorn - is hard to beat. Just check out this lineup: in addition to Zorn's own New Masada Quartet, there will be sets by Bill Frisell and Julian Lage, longtime Zorn collaborator Cyro Baptista and Glossolalia, Laurie Anderson (performing with Zorn), Arturo O'Farrill, Joe Lovano, and not one but two of the world's great violinists: Leila Josefowicz and Hilary Hahn. And, unlike those uptown venues, Zorn's benefit will only set you back $50.

(Frisell also performs with his trio at Roulette on Saturday 5/27; tickets and info here.)

Monday 5/30:

New York Philharmonic Free Memorial Day Concert at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 7pm

The Phil returns to the majestic Cathedral of St. John the Divine for its 30th annual Memorial Day concert, with Music Director Jaap van Zweden conducting George Walker’s Lyric for Strings, Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and La Mer, and the Prelude and Liebestod from Wagner's Tristan und IsoldeAdmission is free, with tickets distributed starting at 5pm. Seating is first-come, first-served.


Weekend Preview: Bang on a Can's Long Play Festival

Long play
Whether it's the annual Marathon or the summertime Loud Weekend up in the Berkshires, Bang on a Can has mastered the art of wall-to-wall music presentation over the past 35 years. This week, they are expanding to a full weekend of shows with the first annual Long Play Festival, sited at venues in and around downtown Brooklyn. According to BOAC founders Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe:

"There has never been a time when music contained so much innovation and diversity, so much audacity and so much courage. And we want to show you all of it...It’s a lot of music!”

The festival, which was originally supposed to be held in 2020 but postponed due to COVID-19, is serving up more than 60 shows across a wide range of genres, including jazz, electronic, world and new/experimental music. Highlights include Matmos performing Robert Ashley's Perfect Lives, the Bang on a Can All Stars performing Terry Riley's In C and Brian Eno's Music for Airports, the Vijay Iyer Trio, Moroccan Sufi Blues masters Innov Gwana, and an epic closing night presentation of Ornette Coleman's seminal 1959 album The Shape of Jazz to Come, with Jason Moran, Wallace Roney, Jr, James "Blood" Ulmer, and Coleman's own son Denardo, among others.

Most of the venues are within a reasonable walking distance of each other (BAM, the Mark Morris Dance Center, Roulette), while others will require a bit of a hoof (Littlefield, Public Records.) Masks and proof of vaccination required.

Passes for individual days and the full weekend are available here. More info on participating artists and composers here. And below, you can find the festival map, along with my own schedule grid, broken out by day. (You're welcome. :))

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