12 Pop, Rock and Jazz Concerts to Check Out in N.Y.C. This Weekend05/30/2019
Our guide to pop and rock shows and the best of live jazz happening this weekend and in the week ahead.
Pop & Rock
GEORGE CLINTON & PARLIAMENT FUNKADELIC at Rumsey Playfield (June 4, 6 p.m.). After more than a half-century in the music industry, Clinton, an Afro-futurist pioneer, is ready to hang up his bedazzled hat. With Parliament Funkadelic, an umbrella for the slew of musicians spinning through his orbit — who also make up two discrete sister groups, Parliament and Funkadelic — Clinton has departed on a “One Nation Under a Groove” farewell tour, named for the 1978 Funkadelic album that marked their commercial breakthrough. Proceeds from their stop in Central Park, at which their New Orleans-based funk disciples Galactic and others will also perform, will support SummerStage’s free seasonal programming.
THE GOVERNORS BALL MUSIC FESTIVAL at Randalls Island Park (May 31-June 2). New York real estate is some of the least hospitable to festival promoters; with Panorama on hiatus in 2019 and the Meadows dormant for the second year in a row, Governors Ball stands as the city’s sole major music festival this summer. As such, this iteration will feature some of the biggest names across a range of genres, including country-pop’s reigning queen Kacey Musgraves; the R&B chanteuses Jorja Smith and SZA; the rappers Vince Staples, Sheck Wes and Tyler, the Creator; and indie rockers like the Strokes and Mitski. Single-day general admission tickets remain available for all three dates, as do three-day passes.
GLEN HANSARD at Beacon Theater (June 1, 8 p.m.). Though he is perhaps best known for his appearance in the Oscar-winning film “Once,” this Irish singer-songwriter’s discography is much denser than his filmography. Since the 1990s, he has helmed the Dublin-based folk-rock group the Frames, and, as the Swell Season, recorded with his “Once” co-star Marketa Irglova. Hansard is also an active solo artist whose most recent effort came out in April. Titled “This Wild Willing,” it sees him breaking from the restrained balladry of previous releases and experimenting with a wider range of musical textures, with help from the Iranian-born Khoshravesh brothers and a suite of familiar collaborators.
HOT 97 SUMMER JAM at MetLife Stadium (June 2, 6:30 p.m.). While Governors Ball draws crowds to the east of Manhattan throughout the weekend, a star-studded lineup across the Hudson River will pull some music lovers in the opposite direction on Sunday. As one of the first formatted hip-hop stations in the country, Hot 97 has been a distinctly New York institution since the early ’90s, when it first started hosting its annual Summer Jam. This year’s performers include Cardi B, the Bronx-born rapper behind ubiquitous hits like “Bodak Yellow” and “I Like It,” and her husband’s Atlanta-based trap group, Migos. Other notable names on the bill include Philadelphia’s Meek Mill and Houston’s Megan Thee Stallion.
LION BABE at Industry City (June 5, 7 p.m.). This electro-R&B outfit’s performance will kick off City Farm’s Summer Series, a lineup of outdoor music events at this commercial space in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, through September. This set also serves as an another kind of beginning for the duo, which comprises the producer and D.J. Lucas Goodman and the singer Jillian Hervey: It’s their first on the United States tour for their latest album, “Cosmic Wind.” From that record the single “Western World” feels particularly fit to herald the arrival of summer, with its deep-set bass groove and laid-back vocals that waft like a warm breeze.
[Read about the events that our other critics have chosen for the week ahead.]
MEMPHIS MINNIE: IN SEARCH OF THE HOODOO LADY at Waterfront Plaza at Brookfield Place (June 1, 6:30 p.m.). Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the trailblazing singer and guitarist, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame just last year; the tardiness of this recognition signifies the extent to which black women’s contributions to rock have been overlooked. At this Lower Manhattan waterfront spot, the New York Guitar Festival will pay tribute to another underrecognized figure: Memphis Minnie, one of the first blues artists to go electric, and an influence on Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters. Performers at this free concert include the indie-turned-soul singer Nicole Atkins, the Canadian folk artist Kaia Kater, and Rachael & Vilray, a jazz duo featuring Lake Street Dive’s Rachael Price.
JOANNE BRACKEEN AND LONNIE PLAXICO at Mezzrow (May 31-June 1, 7:30 and 9 p.m.). Brackeen is an inventive pianist and a vastly underrated composer, whose coarse but exuberant harmonies and irrepressible rhythmic intensity strike a special balance between the influences of Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner and Thelonious Monk. A recently inducted National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, she performs here with Plaxico, a bassist whose flexibility will come in handy (over a more-than-30-year career he’s proved himself to be comfortable at the crossroads of avant-funk, hard-bop and Afro-Caribbean jazz).
RAVI COLTRANE at Birdland (June 4-8, 8:30 and 11 p.m.). A saxophonist of lissome grace, Coltrane has a talent for warping and curling his notes without sacrificing clarity — as if showing you a message that can only be read properly when seen through curved glass. At Birdland, he’ll be joined by a revolving cast of musicians in the prime of their careers: the pianist David Virelles, the bassist Dezron Douglas and the drummer Johnathan Blake. Not all of them will play at each show: The first night will feature just saxophone, piano and bass, and others will feature saxophone, piano and drums with no bass.
NICK DUNSTON at Roulette (June 4, 8 p.m.). Dunston is a young bassist with hungry ears and a commanding but wide-open style. Lately he’s become an indispensable player on the New York avant-garde, playing with the likes of Marc Ribot, the esteemed downtown guitarist, and Ches Smith, the top-flight drummer. For the past year Dunston has been a Van Lier fellow at Roulette; as part of that program he has written a multipart suite titled “La Operación,” an abstract meditation on issues of post-colonialism, sexism and necropolitics in late-20th-century Puerto Rico. He will debut the composition here, joined by the soprano vocalist Stephanie Lamprea, the alto saxophonists David Leon and Noah Becker, the fellow bassist Ben Rolston, and the percussionists Lesley Mok and Stephen Boegehold.
MARK GUILIANA at the Village Vanguard (through June 2, 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.). Last month, Guiliana, a drummer, released “Beat Music! Beat Music! Beat Music!” — the product of a yearslong foray into the nexus between live performance and electronic production. Using synthesizers, drum machines and acoustic instruments, he creates giddy music landing somewhere between the left-field hip-hop of the early 2000s and the 8-bit sounds of an Atari soundtrack. But Guiliana, who has brought his genre-agnostic approach to a vast range of projects (with the likes of David Bowie, Meshell Ndegeocello and Brad Mehldau), is equally dedicated to his so-called Jazz Quartet, a group of acoustic musicians comprising the saxophonist Jason Rigby, the pianist Shai Maestro and the bassist Chris Morrissey. Though its sonic palette is different, the quartet shares some head-bobbing proclivities with Guiliana’s “Beat Music” project.
KIRK LIGHTSEY at Nublu 151 (June 5, 8 p.m.). An 82-year-old pianist with a diaphanous harmonic sensibility and a redoubtable résumé (he toured and/or recorded with Dexter Gordon, Chet Baker and Woody Shaw, among countless others), Lightsey is now based in Paris and seldom performs on this side of the Atlantic. But on Wednesday he will make a rare New York appearance, playing a tribute concert to the trumpeter Jerry Gonzalez, his former collaborator, who died last year after a celebrated career at the intersection of Puerto Rican folklore, Afro-Cuban music and classic jazz, and who would have turned 70 on the night of this show. Lightsey will be at the helm of a quintet that includes Itai Kriss on flute, Santi Debriano on bass, Daniel Dor on drums and David Balilty on percussion.
JOEL ROSS’S GOOD VIBES at Jazz Standard (June 4-5, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.). Even before releasing a standout debut album earlier this month, Ross was already the most-chatted-about young musician in New York. Possessed of a bracingly forthright attack and a broad historic awareness, this 23-year-old vibraphonist can pull together elements of 1960s post-bop, 1990s neoconservatism and nouveau hip-hop fusion without forcing the issue. At Jazz Standard he will perform music from the new album, “Kingmaker,” with Immanuel Wilkins on alto saxophone, Jeremy Corren on piano, Kanoa Mendenhall on bass and Jeremy Dutton on drums.
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