Wednesday, June 13
After a successful launch last year, the Blue Note Jazz Festival is returning in 2012 — running until June 30 — with more than 50 shows throughout New York City featuring jazz and funk luminaries such as McCoy Tyner, Bela Fleck, Stanley Clarke & George Duke, Michel Camilo, Cassandra Wilson, Questlove and many more.
Tonight Bootsy Collins hits B.B. King's Blues Club. Collins is the "Man Who Put Bass In Yer Face," originally with James Brown in the late 1960s, and then with Parliament-Funkadelic in the 1970s. It's safe to say that Collins singlehandedly redefined and enriched the vocabulary of the bass guitar in modern music — whatever the genre, including funk, disco, jazz, rock and hip-hop. Collins was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, along with 14 other members of Parliament-Funkadelic.
Glass has captured the imagination of the American public perhaps more than any living composer. In his operas, symphonies, compositions for his own ensemble and wide-ranging collaborations, Glass has had an huge impact on the musical and intellectual life of his times. This first evening of the three-day festival includes a special presentation of Nate Wooley’s seven-part "7 Storey Mountain" and a solo performance by Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields, closing with a duo performance by Glass and Merritt.
Jonathan Richman began playing guitar at age 15, and in the early 1970s formed the hugely influential Modern Lovers, whose raw, minimalist sound (think The Velvet Underground) helped to lay the groundwork for punk rock. By the time the group's debut album was released in 1976, Jonathan had already moved on to a quieter sound and a gentler lyrical focus. Since then, he's continued to record and tour prolifically, first with a series of Modern Lovers lineups, later on his own, and eventually as a duo with drummer Tommy Larkins. Richman's music has absorbed a multitude of influences, from doo-wop to country, without sacrificing his effervescent personality. At the Bowery Ballroom.
Thursday, June 14
A big night awaits at B.B. King's Blues Club, with two titans of the American music scene playing: Little Richard and Matt "Guitar" Murphy. Little Richard, known as "the originator" and "the architect of rock 'n' roll," exploded into the American consciousness in the mid 1950s, singlehandedly laying the foundation and establishing the rules for this brand-new musical form. Born and raised in Georgia, the third of 12 children, Richard Wayne Penniman began singing in his local church choir before signing with RCA Records in 1951 after winning a talent contest. He released two singles, neither of which received much notice. Returning to his job washing dishes in a Greyhound bus station, Richard sent a demo tape to Specialty Records, a fledgling Los Angeles label. The song "Tutti Frutti" was his catalyst for success and led to an uninterrupted run of smash hits: "Long Tall Sally," "Rip It Up," "Lucille," "Keep A Knockin'," "Good Golly Miss Molly," and "Ooh! My Soul." By 1968, Little Richard had sold more than 32 million records internationally.
Born in Sunflower, Miss., blues guitarist Matt Murphy has been called "one of the true guitar innovators of the American blues" by Blues Review. He is perhaps best known for his role as Aretha Franklin's hen-pecked husband in the 1980 movie "The Blues Brothers." Murphy first took up the guitar at age 13 and initially made a name for himself performing with his brother Floyd in the Memphis music scene. He soon moved on to perform with other groups, working with Howlin' Wolf's band, Little Junior Parker and Ike Turner's The Flames. In 1952, Memphis Slim persuaded Murphy to move Chicago to play with his band, which he did for the next 20 years.
Friday, June 15
Taking place in the walkable radius of Williamsburg and Greenpoint, the Northside Music & Arts Festival is an eight-day showcase of the best of cutting-edge Brooklyn music and arts culture. This afternoon from 4 to 10 p.m. Jens Lekman, Of Montreal, The Thermals and Beach Fossils will rock the the Heineken Stage at McCarren Park (North 12th and Berry streets).
Also tonight, Scottish rockers Mogwai perform at Webster Hall. Don't forget your earplugs — their multi-guitar lineup and love of squealing, distorted feedback can be brutal on your ears (also Thursday).
Saturday, June 16
Kurt Vile & The Violators and L.A. band Dawes play a free show as part of Central Park's Summer Stage. Doors are 7 p.m., but fans should plant to get there early. Vile is great live — drawing on great American songwriters such as Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen — and he plays mesmerizing folk-rock flavored tunes that stand out from the crowd.
Sunday, June 17
Bronx hip-hop legends Ultramagnetic MC's play the Music Hall of Williamsburg. They were known as the first rap group to employ a sampler as an instrument and the first hip-hop group to employ a live band in their shows. This gig is part of the Northside Music & Arts Festival.
Monday, June 18
Destroyer is the longstanding project of Canadian Dan Bejar (The New Pornographers). Active since 1995 and heavily influenced by the psychedelic and minimal sounds of David Bowie, Destoyer's latest album is 2011's "Kaputt". At Brooklyn Masonic Temple (and Tuesday at Le Poisson Rouge).
Tuesday, June 19
The Tallest Man On Earth is the solo moniker for the frontman of the band Montezuma, Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson. His raw and acoustic guitar-accompanied ditties have a way of worming their way into your conciousness. Think early Bob Dylan and you're on the right track. At The Town Hall.
Also tonight: Das Racist and Araabmuzik play a free show at Red Hook Park.