Source: The New York Times.
ALTERNATIVE GUITAR SUMMIT at various locations (March 21, 25 and 27-28, 7:30 p.m.). Organized by the guitarist Joel Harrison, the annual Alternative Guitar Summit gathers some of the most talented six-string improvisers in jazz, post-rock and world music. This year’s festival begins on Thursday with a 50th-anniversary celebration of the music of Woodstock, at Le Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village. Harrison will play music from the Richie Havens and the Grateful Dead songbooks alongside the Everett Bradley Choir. The guitarist Ben Monder and the vocalist Jo Lawry will collaborate on music by John Sebastian and the Band. And the guitarist Nels Cline, who’s best known for his work in Wilco, will revisit Santana’s iconic Woodstock performance. The summit’s second concert takes place on Monday, when Cline, Leni Stern and others will pay tribute to the esteemed guitarist (and multi-instrumentalist) Ralph Towner at Drom, in the East Village. It concludes on Wednesday and Thursday at Jazz Standard with solo shows from Towner himself. (On the last two nights, there will be second sets at 9:30 p.m.)
FIRE! AND MADALYN MERKEY at the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural Center (March 28, 8 p.m.). The tenor saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, one of Europe’s most uncompromising free improvisers, angles toward the void in Fire!, a trio that includes the bassist Johan Berthling and the drummer Andreas Werliin. Whether scrawling an illegible smear of notes across the top of a pounding beat or erupting in fury as the rhythm dissolves beneath him, Gustafsson keeps the intensity high and your ears alight — even when his tone skews murky and dark. Fire! shares the bill here with Merkey, whose semi-ambient electronic music guides listeners into a kind of dreamlike state. This concert — Fire!’s first ever in New York — is presented by the nonprofit organization Blank Forms.
DEREK GRIPPER at Roulette (March 23, 8 p.m.). Gripper, a South African guitarist, has developed a virtuoso approach to playing Malian music that was originally composed for instruments such as the kora (a 21-string instrument, somewhere between a harp and a guitar) and the ngoni (a possible progenitor of the banjo). He fingerpicks his classical guitar in percussive swirls, producing a sound that’s as enlivening as it is hypnotic. His repertoire includes music by the kora master Toumani Diabaté and the guitarist Ali Farka Touré, as well as folk songs from South Africa’s Western Cape. This concert kicks off the fifth annual A World in Trance festival, which spotlights music from around the world with explicitly spiritual overtones.
WEBBER/MORRIS BIG BAND at the Jazz Gallery (March 22, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.). The tenor saxophonist and flutist Anna Webber recently put out “Clockwise,” an album full of atonality and friction and discomfited momentum — not to mention, some of New York’s premier improvising musicians. Angela Morris, a fellow saxophonist, shares some of Webber’s style, while also drawing more heavily on the influence of Impressionist composers and jazz’s most ancient styles. They have been playing their ambitious original compositions in this big band for a few years, and supposedly there’s an album on the way — but so far all we have to show for it are a few YouTube clips and a bit of buzz on the scene. To really hear the Webber/Morris Big Band, you’ve got to go in person.