Gary Lucas: Gods, Monsters and Guitars

Gary Lucas


Don’t typecast Gary Lucas too readily. His wizardly way with the guitar, avant-garde affinities and ever-present felted beaver-fur hat might stamp him as the definitive New York art rocker. He’s got the bona fides, dating back to his formative early-’80s stint as a guitarist in the last edition of the Magic Band, the alchemical engine for the late rock ‘n’ roll visionary Captain Beefheart—whom Mr. Lucas also managed.

“I don’t mind being categorized as an experimental player,” said Mr. Lucas, 56 years old, over morning coffee at the home of a friend near his West Village apartment. “But I’ve written songs that have been Grammy-nominated. How many people out of that scene really have made any attempt to bridge a gap, to try to expand the audience to include people who normally might reject avant-garde music?”

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Improv master Matthew Shipp has an ear for just about everything

Matthew Shipp

Matthew Shipp is profiled by the Boston Globe:

He might be older and wiser, but Matthew Shipp has not mellowed with age. A galvanizing force among the heirs to jazz’s avant-garde movement of the 1960s, the pianist has spent the past quarter century building a vast, roiling musical universe. As an invaluable sideman and prolific bandleader, as a sometimes caustic advocate and discerning curator of Thirsty Ear Recordings’ influential Blue Series documenting the work of similarly edgy musicians, he has done more than just about any other figure of his generation to uphold and advance a jazz aesthetic built upon free improvisation.

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Jazz Listings From the New York Times

Vijay Iyer
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Jon Irabagon Quintet (Thursday) Jon Irabagon is a saxophonist often given to mock-heroic overspill in his improvising, though that isn’t the result of any limitations. In this new band he opts for a more arranged, more orderly ideal of postbop interplay, with intelligent collaborators: the trumpeter Ralph Alessi, the pianist Jacob Sacks, the bassist John Hébert and the drummer Mike Pride. At 8:30 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street, West Village , (212) 989-9319,; $10 cover, with a $10 minimum. (Chinen)

Hafez Modirzadeh ‘Post-Chromodality’ (Thursday) Hafez Modirzadeh, a tenor saxophonist and musicologist versed in the Persian modal system of dastgah, has often spoken of a chromodal musical ideal; here he seems intent on somehow pushing past it. His partners are the trumpeter Amir ElSaffar, the pianist Vijay Iyer, the bassist Ken Filiano and the drummer Royal Hartigan. At 9 and 10:30 p.m., Jazz Gallery, 290 Hudson Street, at Spring Street, South Village , (212) 242-1063,; $15, or $10 for members in the first set; $10, or $5 for members in the second set. (Chinen)

Jesse Stacken and Kirk Knuffke (Sunday) Mr. Stacken, a pianist, and Mr. Knuffke, a cornetist, have ample experience working as a duo; this appearance is timed to usher in the release of “Orange Was the Color” (Steeplechase), their new album, featuring compact but searching readings of songs by Charles Mingus. At 8:30 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street, West Village , (212) 989-9319,; $10 cover, with a $10 minimum. (Chinen)

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Classical Music Listings from the New York Times


Axiom (Sunday) Birthday celebrations large and small are just beginning for the composer Steve Reich, who turns 75 in October, but the concerts are already memorable. Le Poisson Rouge is more intimate than Carnegie Hall, which hosted a major party last weekend, but the program planned by Juilliard’s 20th-century music ensemble is epic, if simple: a complete performance of Mr. Reich’s “Drumming,” the culmination of his hypnotic “phasing” pieces. The work is 40 years old now but sounds ever-young. At 7 p.m., Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street, near Thompson Street, Greenwich Village , (212) 505-3474,; $25. (Woolfe)

Chiara String Quartet / Matmos / Now Ensemble (Friday) Three hot new-music groups share the spotlight at Le Poisson Rouge. The Chiara performs string quartets by Jefferson Friedman, and the electronic music duo Matmos responds with remixes of the same works. (The two groups collaborate similarly on their new New Amsterdam CD.) The NOW Ensemble plays music from their new “Awake” album (also on New Amsterdam), which includes works by Patrick Burke, David Crowell, Mark Dancigers, Sean Friar, Judd Greenstein and Missy Mazzoli. At 7:30 p.m., Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street, near Thompson Street, Greenwich Village , (212) 505-3474,; $15 in advance; $18 at the door. (Allan Kozinn)

Ensemble ACJW (Tuesday) The young artists of the Academy have become known for their vibrant programming, and this concert is no exception. Steve Reich, getting a burst of attention in his 75th birthday year, is represented by his “Different Trains,” a piece for string quartet and tape recording about the Holocaust. It follows two other powerful, propulsive works: Copland’s Sextet and Stravinsky’s Octet for Wind Instruments. At 7:30 p.m., Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall , (212) 247-7800,; $25. (Woolfe)

Mata Festival (Monday through Thursday) This inventive, stylistically nondogmatic new-music festival gets under way with a party and salon on Monday, at which a few of the featured composers discuss their works with the conductor Alan Pierson and the composer Aaron Jay Kernis. The music gets going on Tuesday, with an afternoon workshop by Phil Kline and a concert in the evening by the New York ensemble ACME and L’Arsenale, an Italian group. The Corey Dargel, the Dither Guitar Quartet, Cantori New York, Chris Danforth and Florent Ghys are among the performers (and in some cases composers) in Wednesday evening’s concert. And Thursday includes a composer’s roundtable (called “Composer Survival School”) led by Lisa Bielawa, in the afternoon, and a concert by the Metropolis Ensemble (works by Ryan Carter and Remmy Canedo and a hip-hop opera, “The Rake,” by Brad Balliett and Elliot Cole). The opening-night discussion is Monday at 7 at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, 529 West 20th Street, 10W, Chelsea; $50 to $200. Mr. Kline’s and Ms. Bielawa’s workshops are at 2 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday at the Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street, West Village; $7. The concerts are at 7:30 p.m. at Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street, near Thompson Street, Greenwich Village , (212) 505-3474,; $15 to $75, $100 for a festival pass. (Kozinn)

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