The Eight Best Concerts In NYC This Week


These are the eight best concerts in NYC this week. And if you don’t know, now you know.

Memphis Bleek + Freeway + Young Gunz
Wed., Dec. 19. 7:30. Gramercy Theatre. $19.50.
Although this show is being billed as the Roc-A -Fella Reunion, there are a few more prominent names keeping it from being a true family affair (cough, Hova, cough, Cam, cough, fill in the blank). That said, the triumvirate of Brooklyn’s Memphis Bleek and Philly’s Freeway and Young Gunz has enough collective hits and beats from their early 2000s heyday to fill an evening–even if there will be a few pauses for Jay-Z’s and Beanie Sigel’s verses here and there. — By Kory Grow

Matt Wilson’s Christmas Tree-O
Wed., Dec. 19. 7:30 & 9:30pm. Jazz Standard. $20.
His whimsical holiday album decked every hall in town last year–nice to see it has become an ongoing tradition. Helping with the fa la la las this time around is guitarist Bill Frisell, who I bet puts a memorable spin on “Mele Kalikimaka,” the red-nosed Christmas salutation from our 50th state. They also share a love of John Lennon love, so sing along and war will be over (if you want it). — By Jim Macnie

Max Richter
Wed. & Thurs., Dec. 19 & 20. Le Poisson Rouge. $25/$30.
Anyone familiar with his album’s worth of music for ringtones (24 Postcards in Full Colour) won’t be shocked to learn that British composer Max Richter has rescored Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons as the latest installment in Deutsche Grammophon’s “ReComposed” series. Vivaldi’s original gestures, shapes, and textures are sampled, looped, extended, and dubbed out in a manner that honors the original by acknowledging what has been lost and gained by its ubiquity. Richter’s otherworldly and rhythmically rejuvenated quasi-minimalist remix will be performed here by ensemble LPR, under the direction of Tito Muñoz, and feature violinist Daniel Hope, who recorded it for DG with the Konzerthaus Kammerorchester Berlin. Richter describes the work as a “conversation” with the 16th-century composer, who might want check his voicemail. — By Richard Gehr

George Schuller’s Circle Wide
Wed., Dec. 19. 8:30pm. ShapeShifter Lab. $10
There’s a track on the newish Listen Both Ways called “A Map Would Help,” but the drummer’s sextet always seems to know where it’s going. The freebop sensibility that some improvisers struggle with has no problem flowing naturally from this reed-vibes-guitar front line. That means the pleasures of swing are blended with the oddities of outness. — By Jim Macnie

Sufjan Stevens + Sheila Saputo
Fri. & Sat., Dec. 21 & 22. 8pm. Bowery Ballroom. $20.
The ultimate Renaissance man of the indie scene, Sufjan Stevens creates folk of epic symphonic proportions. Now with a pair of Christmas albums under his belt, he is touring with a five-piece band in support of the second, Silver & Gold: Songs for Christmas Vols. 6-10. Officially called the “The Sirfjam Stephanapolous Christmas Sing-A-Long Seasonal Affective Disorder Spectacular Music Pageant Variety Show Disaster,” the night will be a mix or reverent hymns, pop carols, and cheap holiday props. Song sheets will be provided, so there’s no excuse not to sing your holiday heart out. — By Sarah Madges

Jherek Bischoff
Thurs., Dec. 20. 7:30 & 9:30pm. Lincoln Center-Performing Arts. Free.
The Seattle composer-bassist is one of the more promising uncategorizeables operating in the slipstream of contemporary music. Bischoff knocked one out of the park earlier this year with Composed, an album of charmingly akimbo arrangements sung by David Byrne, Caetano Veloso, and others. These shows include a half-hour of new music created at the behest of Lincoln Center and performed by Bischoff, the yMusic ensemble, and Deerhoof percussionist Greg Saunier. — By Richard Gehr

Jane Ira Bloom Trio
Thurs., Dec. 20. 8pm. The Stone. $10.
It’s one of those ongoing joys the way Bloom’s lithe soprano sax parkours through the ever-shifting architecture of bassist Mark Helias and drummer Bobby Previte. Forward motion is everything in this band, and the hurdles that the rhythm section supplies aren’t road bumps but springboards, bringing the action to a graceful zenith. — By Jim Macnie

Monoloc + Rebekah
Thurs., Dec. 20. 10pm. Cielo. $20.
Beatport recently awarded Cielo the best sound system in America, and the sunken dance floor can assuredly be a glorious place to disappear into frequencies, even despite a crowd that typically treats whatever beats are blasting as simple background. Monoloc’s recent Drift was a an exercise in precision programming that dissolves many of the German label CLR’s usual blunt-object techno, and should only improve heard through Funktion Ones. — By Aaron Gonsher

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