Our guide to pop and rock shows and the best of live jazz happening this weekend and in the week ahead.
Pop & Rock
RICHIE HAWTIN at Avant Gardner (Dec. 8, 10 p.m.). The celebrated Canadian D.J., best known for his minimal Detroit techno, will make his sole stateside appearance this year in Brooklyn. Hawtin’s current live project is called Close, for its mission to make audience members, even in a massive warehouse such as Avant Gardner’s Great Hall, feel like they’re looking over the D.J.’s shoulder. As Hawtin makes music with a variety of synthesizers, drum machines and mixers, six cameras show his hands at work, lifting the veil on his process to onlookers.
HOSPITAL FEST at the Knockdown Center (Dec. 8, noon). The poster for this festival promises “noise metal electronic,” and that’s an apt assessment of what the audience can expect at this all-day event, presented by Quo Vadis Productions and the experimental New York-based label Hospital Productions. Its founder, Dominick Fernow, is on the bill as Prurient, a moniker under which he creates haunting, ambient soundscapes; he’ll be collaborating onstage with the Texas-based thrash metal band Power Trip. The festival’s widely varied lineup also includes the singer-songwriter Zohra Atash, who favors ’80s-style synth pop; the composer Kelly Moran, who fuses electronic and contemporary art music idioms; and Merzbow, a.k.a. the Japanese noise artist Masami Akita.
THE KINGS AND QUEENS OF NEW JACK SWING at the Apollo Theater (Dec. 9, 6 and 9:30 p.m.). The producer Teddy Riley grew up in Harlem’s St. Nicholas Houses, mere blocks from the Apollo. At 51, he’s the recipient of a tribute at the storied theater for his contributions to New Jack Swing, the bouncy fusion of synth-pop gloss and hip-hop grooves that dominated the airwaves in the late 1980s and early ’90s. Riley helped shape the genre through hits for artists like Michael Jackson, Bobby Brown and Keith Sweat. Sweat is on the bill at the Apollo, as are Riley’s own trio Guy, Doug E. Fresh, Kool Moe Dee, MC Lyte and members of Blackstreet.
MAXWELL at the Beacon Theater (Dec. 9, 8 p.m.). Of the 1990s neo-soul artists who made a mainstream impact, the Brooklyn-born crooner Maxwell might have been the most unlikely: His delicate, understated style was hardly irresistible radio fodder (though his work has long been a staple of adult R&B stations), and his deliberate, complex ballads seemed ill suited to court anyone beyond R&B purists. Despite this outlier status, not long after Maxwell returned from a seven-year hiatus, he found himself surrounded by artists who took his influence and ran with it, like Miguel, Frank Ocean and Daniel Caesar. Now, Maxwell’s sound seems ubiquitous.
THE MIDNIGHT HOUR at the McKittrick Hotel (Dec. 13, 10:30 p.m.; Dec. 14, 12:15 a.m.). The D.J. and producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad (A Tribe Called Quest) and the composer Adrian Younge have long operated in the same circles, but a commission to create the soundtrack for Netflix’s “Luke Cage” series helped foster a more official musical partnership. As the Midnight Hour, the duo pushes toward a vision of hip-hop that’s polished but uncompromising, and complex without being inaccessible. Another explicit source of inspiration is the Harlem Renaissance, so fittingly there’s a fair amount of jazz in the mix — the boom-bap grooves, though, remain central.
STEVE MILLER AND MARTY STUART at the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center (Dec. 7-8, 8 p.m.). Miller, a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, will continue his lifelong exploration of the blues during this two-night run, which honors the music of Appalachia. He’ll be joined by Stuart, a bona fide country legend who spent five years playing guitar and singing backup vocals for Johnny Cash. Stuart’s band, the Fabulous Superlatives, will also be present for what promises to be a down-home show.
JUSTUS PROFFIT AND JAY SOM at Baby’s All Right (Dec. 7, 8 p.m.). Proffit, a singer-songwriter, and the multi-instrumentalist Melina Duterte — who performs under the name Jay Som — have achieved indie rock without pretension on their stripped-down joint EP “Nothing’s Changed.” Separately, Duterte’s music skews more toward garage rock and Proffit’s toward gentler, almost folksy fare; on this project, they more or less meet in the middle. The songs are rough around the edges but still have pop flair thanks to jaunty guitar riffs and retro harmonies. “You have aged and nothing’s changed,” they sing on the title track, somehow making existential resignation sound appealing.
DOCFEST BENEFIT CONCERT at the New School’s John L. Tishman Auditorium (Dec. 9, 3 p.m.). DocFest is not a documentary festival. Rather, it’s a bi-municipal gathering (in Houston and New York) honoring the legacy of Robert Morgan — known to students as Doc — one of the more influential educators in jazz’s recent history. He served for over 20 years as director of jazz studies at Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, shepherding the careers of dozens of professional musicians, including the eminent contemporary pianists Jason Moran and Robert Glasper. This concert features appearances from the trumpeters Randy Brecker and Wallace Roney, the drummer Eric Harland, and the pianists Helen Sung and Aaron Parks.
IKUE MORI at the Stone (Dec. 11-15, 8:30 p.m.). This percussionist, electronic musician and full-scope sound experimentalist can create an entire world of sonic encounter using just her laptop. But she’s also endlessly adaptive when placed into a larger context, quick to find her niche in almost any kind of ensemble. In the coming week, she is in residence at the Stone, working with some of today’s finest improvisers: the guitarist Mary Halvorson and the trumpeter Nate Wooley on Tuesday, the pianist Craig Taborn on Wednesday, and various others through Dec. 15.
ANNETTE PEACOCK at First Unitarian Congregational Society (Dec. 7, 8 p.m.). A genre-bender and a prophetic force in music since the late 1960s, Peacock is one of the most riveting — though overlooked — vocal performers in jazz. Her psychotropic albums of the ’70s are cult classics, with a style landing somewhere between Anita O’Day and Betty Davis, and she has remained active (though secluded) in recent years, putting out albums on her own record label, Ironic. Her New York performances are rare; this one, presented by Blank Forms and Artists Space, may be the only chance to catch her in the city for years.
ESPERANZA SPALDING at the Town Hall (Dec. 12, 8 p.m.). Over the past four years, this bassist and vocalist has been working her way down a jazz-rock fusion trail of her own design. For a while, it was unclear where it was going to lead. The release this fall of “12 Little Spells,” a bold recording featuring videos accompanying each song, was the reward for her fans’ patience: It unifies her prolix, philosophical style of writing with a devotion to groove and ear-encompassing orchestration. Spalding and her band will perform music from the album at this show.
CECIL TAYLOR MEMORIAL at Roulette (Dec. 11, 7 p.m.). For the second week in a row, New York is mourning the loss of Cecil Taylor with a star-studded tribute concert. At this memorial event, presented by Arts for Art, the pianist and free-jazz pioneer — who died in April — will be celebrated with performances by dozens of musicians, including the drummer Andrew Cyrille, the pianist and multi-instrumentalist Cooper-Moore, the alto saxophonist Oliver Lake and the trumpeter Jaimie Branch.
MYRON WALDEN QUINTET at Smalls (Dec. 7-8, 7:30 and 9 p.m.). Walden is a saxophonist and bass clarinetist of simmering intensity and exacting technique, with a fervid but unflashy approach as an improviser. You are most likely to have heard him — whether you realized it or not — alongside the famed drummer Brian Blade, whose bands typically feature Walden as a central member. He appears here with the guitarist Mike Moreno, the pianist Adam Birnbaum, the bassist Peter Slavov and the drummer Mark Whitfield Jr.
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