Issue of 2005-04-04
Posted 2005-03-28

The tenth-anniversary celebration of John Zorn's composer-friendly label concludes with shows by Charming Hostess and Pharaoh's Daughter. The Bay Area vocal trio Charming Hostess has a sublime new record, “"Sarajevo Blues",” that’'s a joint effort between the bandleader Jewlia Eisenberg and the Sarajevan exile poet Semezdin Mehmedinovic. It fuses Mehmedinovic’'s funny and bitter verse (“"Death Is a Job"” concerns war photographers) and Eisenberg’'s intricate, pan-ethnic vocal harmonies, which career from Sufi to Motown to Sephardic. Pharaoh's Daughter, led by the oudist and vocalist Basya Schechter, has its own new record, the instrumental release “"Queen's Dominion".” The trance-inducing songs, loosely inspired by travels to countries such as Kurdistan and Mali, are full of odd time signatures and tapestry-like melodies from Schechter’'s oud and the Persian santir (a hammered dulcimer), played masterfully by Alan Kushan. (Edmond J. Safra Hall, Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Pl. 646-437-4202. March 30 at 7.)

After performing in relative obscurity for nearly six decades, the legendary traditional-gospel ensemble is enjoying something of a rebirth. They recently performed at the Grammy Awards with fellow-winner and hip-hop darling Kanye West, and they’'ve just released “"Atom Bomb",” a collection of soul-stirring religious hymns and gut-wrenching interpretations of soul classics. The blues-harp master Charlie Musselwhite, who appears on their latest release, lends a hand. (Town Hall, 123 W. 43rd St. 212-307-7171. March 31 at 8.)

On his recently released album, “"The Way Up",” Metheny delivers a sixty-eight-minute opus that takes full advantage of his revamped, eclectic ensemble, which now includes the Mexican drummer Antonio Sanchez, the Vietnamese trumpeter Coung Vu, and the Swiss-born harmonica player Grégoire Maret. (Beacon Theatre, Broadway at 74th St. 212-307-7171. April 1-2 at 8.)

The brainy singers Kurt Elling and Luciana Souza both have a taste for mating poetry to jazz rhythms; Elling has cited Rilke and Rexroth, while Souza prefers Elizabeth Bishop and Pablo Neruda. The good news is that neither leaves swing out of the mix. (Allen Room, Broadway at 60th St. 212-721-6500. March 31-April 2 at 7:30.)

Musicians and night-club proprietors live complicated lives; it’'s advisable to call ahead to confirm engagements.

376 9th St., Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-965-9177)—--April 1: The Wiyos, a Brooklyn-based trio named after one of New York City’'s toughest old-time street gangs, draw on rural blues, ragtime, spirituals, and Appalachian jug-band music of the nineteen-twenties and thirties. The group brings exuberance and intensity to these vintage styles, and its performances are layered with vaudevillian stage antics reminiscent of such mavericks as Uncle Dave Macon. Tuesdays: Slavic Soul Party, a neo-Balkan brass band fronted by the vibraphonist Matt Moran, plays traditional Slavic fare while fearlessly following their instincts into free-form jazz and funk grooves.

237 W. 42nd St. (212-997-4144)—--March 31: Roots rock with a dash of New Orleans from Cowboy Mouth. April 3: The German thrash-metal outfit Kreator & Vader. April 4: The Frank Zappa tribute band Project Object gets a boost from the Zappa-band vets Ike Willis and Napoleon Murphy Brock.

6 Delancey St. (212-533-2111)—--March 30: The young piano player and singer Regina Spektor was born in Moscow, but she made her name in New York City’'s anti-folk scen€. She has a pungent and engaging take on the singer-songwriter genre. March 31: The North Mississippi Allstars have spent the past decade cultivating a rambling, heartfelt mix of hill-country blues and roots rock. The Mississippi-raised brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson (sons of the legendary Memphis producer Jim Dickinson) and the bassist Chris Chew stay loyal to their region’'s music, but they aren’'t afraid to explore psychedelic pop and indulge in a jam-band sensibility. April 1: In 2002, the bespectacled guitar player Graham Coxon left the massively successful British band Blur in order to pursue the more experimental fringes of lo-fi indie rock. Coxon now embraces, on his own terms, the pop sound he once shunned. His latest album is “"Happiness in Magazines.” April 2: The flagship group on the über-hip DFA label roster, LCD Soundsystem is the pet project of that label’'s impresario, James Murphy. Its quirky electronic music is rife with knowing references to indie-rock esoterica.

17 Irving Pl., at 15th St. (212-777-6800)—--April 1: The young blue-eyed-soul singer Marc Broussard, who was born and raised in Louisiana, has a voice as rich as the smokiest roux. April 2: The groovy Venezuelan dance band Los Amigos Invisibles. April 5: Dogs Die in Hot Cars has to be one of the worst-named bands in recent memory. But don’'t judge this band by its moniker. The Scottish outfit’'s contemporary take on the sparkly pop of the New Wave era calls to mind the best of XTC, Wall of Voodoo, and Dexy’'s Midnight Runners. The New York Swing Dance Society gathers here the first Sunday of every month, with sets from eight until midnight. For information on the Society, call 212-696-9737.

425 Lafayette St. (212-539-8777)—--March 31: John Doe (see This Week). April 1: Mark Stewart and Rob Schwimmer are a pair of serious sidemen who follow their musical ids when they perform as Polygraph Lounge. Using everything from toy instruments to theremins, they invoke the spirit of the twentieth-century comedic bandleader Spike Jones.

74 Leonard St., between Broadway and Church St. (212-219-3055)—--March 31: A dozen years ago, the hip-hop artist Lyrics Born (then known as Asia Born) burst onto the scen€ with politically charged, deeply introspective raps delivered in a fast-paced singsong style. The Tokyo-born, Berkeley-raised rapper’'s new album, “"Same !@#$ Different Day,” which includes collaborations with such artists as KRS-One, Lateef, and DJ Shadow, adds freewheeling, harmonious raps to his trademark vocal style. With MC Felix and his Minnesota-based hip-hop group, Heiruspecs. April 1: The noise outfit Wolf Eyes occupies a cacophonous no man’'s land between frenzied hardcore and electronic dissonance.

204 Varick St., at W. Houston St. (212-243-4940)—--March 31: The Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista stirs up a storm with his spellbinding ensemble Beat the Donkey.

530 W. 27th St. (212-268-9477)—--April 1: The Mexican singer Julieta Venegas grew up listening to American rock and roll by way of Southern California radio stations; her infectious, angular compositions recall introspective singer-songwriters such as Suzanne Vega and spikier artists such as Fiona Apple and Björk. Her latest album, “"Si,” is an upbeat collaboration with the Argentinean songwriter and producer Coti Sorokin.

240 W. 47th St. (212-921-1940)—--April 5: The Psychedelic Furs. Though largely relegated to the eighties nostalgia circuit, the graying onetime MTV darlings continue to write new material and tour.

125 E. 11th St. (212-353-1600)—--April 2: Ray Lamontagne was four years out of high school and working at a shoe factory in Maine when he heard a song on the radio one morning that changed his life: “"Tree Top Flyer,” by Stephen Stills. He quit his job, sold his van, bought a guitar, and immersed himself in the likes of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Ray Charles, and Otis Redding. Their influences, plus a strong debt to Van Morrison, mark his début.

376 9th St., Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-965-9177)—--April 1: When Anthony Coleman’'s not delving into Jewish music or avant-garde jazz, the pianist can be found parsing the durable legacy of the New Orleans patriarch Jelly Roll Morton. April 3: Coleman’'s occasional musical partner, the saxophonist Roy Nathanson, brings in his own quartet. This former Lounge Lizard values humor as much as farsighted improvisation. Sundays: The French guitarist Stephane Wrembel channels the hot jazz of Django Reinhardt. Tuesdays: The violinist Jenny Scheinman. You’'ve heard her violin on Norah Jones’'s hit record “"Come Away with Me,” but this ambitious composer and performer samples a larger variety of the world’'s music when she’'s on her own.

315 W. 44th St. (212-581-3080)—--March 30-April 2: You might find time suspended when listening to the veteran vocalist Andy Bey, both for his mesmerizing interpretations and for his glacially slow delivery.

Broadway at 60th St. (212-258-9595)—--March 29-April 3: Two seasoned pros, the singer Ernestine Anderson and the saxophonist and flutist Frank Wess and his quartet, pay tribute to Billie Holiday; her ninetieth birthday would have been on April 7.

1650 Broadway, at 51st St. (212-582-2121)—--March 30-April 3: The trombonist Roswell Rudd has been paying homage to Thelonious Monk since at least the early sixties, when he and the late Steve Lacy led a band devoted to the pianist’'s quirky and imperishable compositions. The younger devotees Don Byron, on clarinet, and Dave Douglas, on trumpet, will have their own musical reflections to add. Mondays belong to the electric-guitar innovator Les Paul.

116 E. 27th St. (212-576-2232)—--Through April 3: The bluesy forms of Jimi Hendrix’'s signature tunes give the World Saxophone Quartet plenty to work with, as they proved on last year’'s surprisingly effective album “"Experience.”

88 Seventh Ave. S., at Bleecker St. (212-255-3626)—--March 30-31: Rashied Ali, John Coltrane’'s last drummer, and Sonny Fortune, a rugged saxophonist who’'s worked with Elvin Jones (the man Ali replaced), investigate common ground.

107 Norfolk St. (212-358-7503)—--April 3: The Willem Breuker Kollektief, spectacularly skilled Dutchmen who mate classical precision to free-jazz ideas and spice it all with Marx Brothers antics, are irreverent, virtuosic, and downright funny.

178 Seventh Ave. S., at 11th St. (212-255-4037)—--Through April 3: Kurt Rosenwinkel’'s latest album, “"Deep Song,” provides further evidence that this skillful guitarist can bring flair to crafty originals as well as the well-chosen standard. The saxophonist Mark Turner, a longtime collaborator, enlivens his quartet. The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra holds sway on Mondays.