Live Music Picks 8/13-8/19

Great free music from Vijay Iyer and guests at Celebrate Brooklyn, Smokey Hormel and band in Red Hook, the Flowmingos and some young MCs in Bushwick, Biggie Smalls tribute show and much more.

Live Music Picks 8/13-8/19

PLEASE do not forget to contact the venues or at the very least check their social media to make sure that the event is not canceled due to inclement weather, and do check with individual venues about their vaccination requirements and proof for attendees, and whether RSVPs are required to buy tickets at the door.

Since the mid-90s, Victor “Ticklah” Axelrod has been almost like Broklyn’s own Jackie Mittoo, the Jamaican keyboardist jack-of-all-trades. Axelrod has made his own wonderfully melodic dub instrumental albums for Easy Star, been in the house band at Daptone (playing on Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black, among many) and has become a great keys-for-hire.

On Friday (8/13), he brings something special to the backyard at South Slope/Sunset Park’s Mama Tried. (787 3rd Avenue, 9 pm, FREE)

The Flowmingos is a three-horns-and-a-drummer quartet, that’s been gaining notoriety playing funk rhythms across the streets of NYC, and, increasingly, backing young rappers.

On Friday (8/13) they’re joined by a few of those young vocalist (including Cash Sinatra, Justin Starling, and OG Picasso), as well as the all-female octet Brass Queens, at Bushwick’s now-classic pizza joint, Roberta’s, for an event to celebrate some schwag they designed with Phoenix Brand. (261 Moore Street, 5 pm, FREE)

You almost can’t get any more old-school NYC dance culture than Danny Krivit, whose DJing, records and edits have been helping defined the city’s club sound for almost five decades. His 718 Sessions parties with Benny Soto, among others, are easily some of the city’s best places to lose yourself on the dance-floor.

And Knockdown Center, on the East Williamsburg/Maspeth border, where they’ll be held on Saturday (8/14), is a great industrial outdoor dance floor. (52-19 Flushing Avenue, 3 pm, $5 early/$15 advance/$20)

Two great back-to-back freebies in/around Prospect Park on Saturday (8/14):

First, stop by B’Rhythm: Beats in Motion, a living dialogue between Indian Classical music, dance and world percussion sounds and movement, inspired by the city’s rhythms, and brought to fruition by the folks at Jiva Performing Arts. With music by NYC-based Indian classical percussionist and composer Bala Skandan, and choreography by Brinda Guha and Sonali Skandan. (Garfield Place bet. Prospect Park West and 8th Avenue, 2 pm, FREE)

Then walk down Prospect Park West to join what is, for my money, the finest of this summer’s Celebrate Brooklyn bills. Which only got better, when the great “jazz” pianist Vijay Iyer released that his already massive band will, on this night, be joined by a superlative string of guests, including the vocalists Moor Mother and Arooj Aftab, trumpeter Abrose Akinmusire, the acclaimed multi-instrumentalist Tyshawn Sorey, and others.

And if that ain’t enough, the original line-up also includes the great vibes player Joel Ross, the massive vocalist/flautist Melanie Charles, and the Nuyorican Poets Cafe legend, Mahogany L. Browne. No other words but, WOW! (Prospect Park West @ 9th street, 7 pm, FREE)

File under: “Great Musicians Quietly Working In Our Midst.” In hip-hop, Rodney Chapman as “Godfather Don,” a beat-maker who solo and as one-half of the production team Groove Merchantz was responsible for classics by Ultramagnetic MCs, Nas, Cormega, and a host of others.

Under his own name, he’s also been playing tenor saxophone, adding his own voice to the music sometimes identified as “free jazz.” On Sunday (8/15) his trio, The Open Mind, which also features Zach Swanson on bass and Vijay Anderson on drums, come to Barbes in Park Slope. (376 9th street, 7 pm, TBD)

Potentially great back-to-back shows of new music at IRL, which will now admit vaccinated-only patrons:

On Monday (8/16), the small Greenpoint space will host an evening of what promises to be spiritual percussion energy, courtesy of the duo Spontaneous Space, Samer Ghadry and Greg Fox, two great but completely different drummers who are already renowned for exploring deeper meanings in the world of rhythm. (80 Franklin Street, 7 pm, $15 adv/$20)

And on Tuesday (8/17), those who love both deep classic techno and improvised music, would be remiss if they did not tune into a solo set by Will Shore, a vibraphonist who studied under the late great “Conduction” master Butch Morris, and who augments his instrumentals with wonderfully intricate programmed rhythms. Also: a DJ set by Augment. (80 Franklin Street, $15adv/$20, 7p)

Named after a now-classic album he made in 2002, the veteran trumpeter Ralph Alessi’s This Against That is a wonderfully inventive group, with a stable of massive players (Ravi Coltrane on saxophone, Mark Ferber on drums) that also naturally lends itself to great additions.

On Tuesday (8/17) night at Soapbox Gallery, that includes pianist James Carney and bassist Drew Gess. (636 Dean, 8 pm, $25)

File under: “Brooklyn Classic You Should Visit At Least Once.” For guitar aficionados, the name Smokey Hormel has the ring of a secret hero, as he spent the 1990s reinventing the instrument’s sound on recordings by the likes of Tom Waits, Beck, KD Lang, and many, many others, still playing the part of studio guitar-clinger.

He’s also long run Sunny’s classic (almost every) Wednesday night jamboree, Smokey’s Roundup, where Hormel, his band and a variety of guests play Western Swing music, in a country-jazz hootenanny for the ages. They’re doing it this Wednesday (8/18). If you’ve never been, Go! (253 Conover Street, 8 pm, FREE)

There’s no denying that Biggie Smalls deserves a Tribute Show, that his large shadow continues to loom over the borough, or that getting the likes of Busta Rhymes, Lil’ Kim and The LOX (fresh off their own crowning performance on last week’s Verzuz) to salute him is gonna be a spectacle.

Prospect Park Bandshell on Thursday (8/19). Please be safe in celebrating one of the greatest rappers who ever lived. (Prospect Park West @ 9th Street, FREE with RSVP/21+ only)

Reminder: If you are a Brooklyn (or greater New York) artist, label, venue or musicker organization that is releasing new music, or producing (Brooklyn) events, or just making noise that you want to spread through the community, please drop us a line at We’d love to hear it — and potentially put it on.


Sign in or become a Bklyner member to join the conversation.