Author: Seth Colter Walls

  • Holiday Arts Guide: Music Picks

    Jason Moran & the Bandwagon November 26–December 1 Moran, a MacArthur “genius grant”-winning pianist, can be heard to fine effect in a variety of bands and settings — though the Bandwagon is one of his steadiest (not to mention most rewarding) groups. It’s been three years since their last Blue Note album, Ten, so this […]

  • Music Summer Guide: Erykah Badu and the Brooklyn Philharmonic Team Up

    When I’m nudged into Erykah Badu’s backstage dressing room at the Brooklyn Museum, she’s still recovering from a spontaneous outbreak of extended public adulation. The peerless soul vocalist’s Q&A for the Red Bull Music Academy has just climaxed with every audience member who wasn’t allowed to ask a question storming the stage at Ms. Badu’s […]

  • Spring Arts Guide: Wadada Leo Smith Brings His Epic Ten Freedom Summers to Brooklyn

    It’s not unusual for a working musician to think that critics ought to be ignored. But in the annals of icy press relations, the fearlessly independent composer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith took the freeze-’em-out approach to a new level in the 1970s by formally requesting that music journalists not write at all about the […]

  • Spring Arts Guide Picks: Music

    DJ Spinn & DJ Rashad, Afrika Bambaataa May 23 The Red Bull Music Academy, a series of concerts, club nights, talks, and films, runs from April 28 to May 31 all over town, and it means business. (The show on May 2 at the Knockdown Center in Queens—featuring Oren Ambarchi, Peter Rehberg, and Kim Gordon’s […]

  • Holiday Guide: Arts Listings

      MUSIC Edited by Seth Colter Walls   Dinosaur Jr.   December 1 You might call any album other than You’re Living All Over Me the best work by Dinosaur Jr., but you’d be wrong. For its 25th anniversary, the band will play the work front to back. But because it’s just 36 minutes long, […]

  • Fall Arts Guide 2012: Music

    Anthony Braxton September 13 The magisterially awesome saxophone improviser, Wesleyan professor, and MacArthur grant-winning experimental composer, now 67, will only make one New York appearance in 2012. But this solitary night brings two of the legend’s latest bands to Brooklyn, in what amounts to a event (and a bargain). The first set promises Braxton playing […]

  • Fall Arts Guide 2012: Einstein Heads Back to the Beach

    Einstein on the Beach is notorious as the opera that exploded the idea of what an opera could be. And yet it is also unknown, so rarely is it performed. That unknownness likely applies even if you’re aware it’s a nearly five-hour immersive experience employing the following: dancers from the Lucinda Childs company, non-narrative staging […]

  • Summer Music Guide: Death Grips’ Disappearing Act

    Last month, seeking an interview with the elusive Sacramento experimental noise-rap band Death Grips, I e-mailed the address posted at the bottom of the band’s website, thirdworlds.net. The group had announced a June 13 show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in support of its much-anticipated major-label debut album, The Money Store—and with no publicity […]

  • Spring Guide 2012: Vijay Iyer Brings Accelerando to Birdland

    The phenomenon of popula–rity descended, without much warning, upon jazz pianist Vijay Iyer in 2009. After a decade of working in a series of well-respected bands and as a leader in his own right, the notoriously fickle Mainstream Gods decreed, in that year, to make the Indian-American musician an official Big Deal. Historicity, a record […]

  • Björk Gets Pedagogical

    Please don’t misunderstand Björk. While she might be returning to New York for her first concerts here since 2007 with a residency of conceptual dates premised on her eco-obsessed recent album Biophilia—not to mention specialty instruments and a 24-piece Icelandic choir—the singer would hate for you to think she’s putting on any undue airs. “I […]