Our guide to pop and rock shows and the best of live jazz happening this weekend and in the week ahead.
Pop & Rock
BIG FREEDIA at Brooklyn Bowl (Jan. 11-12, 11:59 p.m.). The latest EP, “3rd Ward Bounce,” from New Orleans’s best-known bounce ambassador surges with a high-energy vibe, which concertgoers can expect to be in full force at these shows. And the late hour should enhance the performances, loosening the audience’s inhibitions and encouraging people from all backgrounds to twerk to the irresistible rap-dance blend. Bounce has had a notable influence on a number of recent pop hits, including Drake’s “Nice for What” and Beyoncé’s “Formation,” both of which feature Freedia.
KATE BOLLINGER at Trans-Pecos (Jan. 12, 8 p.m.). This singer-songwriter from Charlottesville, who hasn’t yet graduated from the University of Virginia, makes delicate, R&B-tinged pop; her most recent song, “Tests,” sounds like a lullaby, but nearly imperceptible electronic percussion gives it some unexpected flair. She is joined on the bill by two other similarly minded artists, each abstractly confessional with guitars in tow: Caroline Schuck is a local who sings compellingly about identity crises; Grace Ludmila veers more toward dream pop. The bill’s gritty foil to these three performers is the experimental banjo player Gouox.
DJ LOGIC at Brooklyn Bowl (Jan. 17, 8 p.m.). Growing up in the Bronx, this turntablist was surrounded by rap’s earliest experiments with jazz via sampling. His music, though, puts the two genres in conversation in a far different way: He uses his turntable as an instrument, going far beyond the flourishes meant to add streetwise flair. Instead, he improvises through spinning, scratching and sampling with bands that span jazz, funk and R&B. On Thursday, he’ll be joined by guests such as the jazz bassist Christian McBride and Living Colour’s Vernon Reid, who has long been his mentor.
LADY MOON & THE ECLIPSE at National Sawdust (Jan. 11, 8 p.m.). There’s a lunar eclipse happening on Jan. 20, so the Brooklyn R&B collective named after that astronomical event is going on tour — a ritual they’ve developed over the past few years. The group specializes in neosoul with a cross-genre bent that manifests through Afrobeat, gospel and funk. The result is charmingly retro, with rich harmonies and an emphasis on live instrumentation. Harsh Armadillo, a funk band from New Hampshire, and the Nigeria-born saxophonist and D.J. Eli Fola open.
MUNYA at Elsewhere (Jan. 16, 8 p.m.). Making nostalgic French pop that isn’t overwhelmingly cloying is a feat in itself, but the Montreal singer-songwriter Josie Boivin, who records under the name Munya, has even more to offer. Her breathy soprano, layers of synths and a band that can go from understated groove to maximalist jam in the space of a chorus merge to create songs that are engaging, even as they create an easy ambience. “I don’t justify/Everything comes and goes,” she sings on “Some More,” lyrics that are reassuringly laissez-faire.
SLICK RICK at Brooklyn Bowl (Jan. 11, 8:30 p.m.). The hip-hop legend is hosting what’s billed as his “9th annual” birthday celebration — which means he’s turning 54 on Monday. And his debut, “The Great Adventures of Slick Rick,” reached an important milestone in November: its 30th anniversary. The album includes “Children’s Story,” familiar to most through Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It” and the lyric “Once upon a time, not long ago,” a catchphrase in mainstream hip-hop. Much of his music has had a similarly long tail: Even those who’ve never listened to it will likely hear something familiar.
DARCY JAMES ARGUE’S SECRET SOCIETY at the Jazz Gallery (Jan. 11-12, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.). Maybe you’ve heard: New York’s big-band scene is quietly roaring again (not that it ever went completely silent). If you’re trying to find the action, the Gallery is a good place to start, and to understand where a lot of today’s young composer-bandleaders draw their inspiration, Darcy James Argue’s long-running Secret Society ensemble is a good bet. This weekend the sophisticated, space-rock-tinged, 18-piece band will perform works from across its three-disc catalog, as well as some unrecorded numbers. (On Thursday, the Gallery will also host its 12th Jazz Composers’ Showcase, organized by Miho Hazama, with a house big band playing compositions by three young composers.)
EMMET COHEN TRIO WITH RON CARTER at the Village Vanguard (Jan. 15-20, 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.). Cohen is a young piano virtuoso with a delicate touch and an assured, swaggering swing feel; he has endeared himself to some of the most imposing figures in straight-ahead jazz, and plays in bands led by the bassist Christian McBride and the drummer Herlin Riley. But there may be no living jazz musician with more cachet than Ron Carter, the 81-year-old bassist and National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master — and technically Cohen counts him as a side musician. On the album that Cohen, Carter and the drummer Evan Sherman released in 2018, Carter’s slippery bass and Cohen’s debonair flow are all sorts of simpatico.
THEO CROKER at Ginny’s Supper Club (Jan. 11-12, 7 and 9 p.m.). A young trumpeter who’s equal parts insouciance and fleet command, Croker recently unveiled a new ensemble: the Big Brother Big Band. That group will cram onto the stage at Ginny’s on Friday, giving uptown listeners their first glimpse at Big Brother’s soul-and-hip-hop-infused take on the large-ensemble tradition. On Saturday, Croker returns to Ginny’s with a smaller group.
ORRIN EVANS QUINTET at Smoke (Jan. 11-13, 7, 9 and 10:30 p.m.). Evans, a daring Philadelphia pianist, is as deeply rooted in bebop tradition as he is versatile and incursive. His Captain Black Big Band (which used to hold down a weekly residency at Smoke) released one of last year’s best large-ensemble records, but he’s equally enthralling as a leader of small groups. Here Evans, 43, presents a quintet featuring powerful players from across generations with the upstarts Josh Lawrence on trumpet and Caleb Curtis on alto saxophone, plus the bassist Ben Wolfe and the drummer Ralph Peterson, both respected veterans in their mid-50s.
JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER ORCHESTRA AND NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA OF ROMANIA at the Rose Theater (Jan. 11-12, 8 p.m.). Wynton Marsalis is Jazz at Lincoln Center’s artistic director and the lead composer for its large ensemble. The New York Philharmonic commissioned him to write a piece it could perform in collaboration with Marsalis’s Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and he came up with “The Jungle (Symphony No. 4),” an ode to the urban frenzy of New York City, which premiered in 2016. (It is apparently not a reference to Upton Sinclair’s working-class novel of the same name, which is set in Chicago.) Here the Jazz at Lincoln Center ensemble will perform the work with the visiting National Symphony Orchestra of Romania.
JUSTICE IS COMPASSION at Nublu 151 (Jan. 16-21, 7:30 p.m.). Arts for Art, the organization behind the annual Vision Festival and presenters of and advocates for free jazz, is back this year with a souped-up version of this wintertime festival. Started in January 2016, it has become an annual Trump-era tradition for a group committed to strengthening the ties that bind radical music and social justice. This year, the festival has been wisely pared down to six days, and has moved into the nicely outfitted room at Nublu 151, a step up from the small gallery space it formerly used. Things kick off Wednesday night with a trio featuring the bassist Michael Bisio, the trumpeter Kirk Knuffke and the cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and a quartet including the trumpeter Jaimie Branch and the alto saxophonist Darius Jones. Each subsequent night appears promising; a full schedule is at artsforart.org.
For an overview of January and February’s cultural events, click here.
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