The Nine Best Concerts In New York This Week
Tues., Jan. 8. 8:00 p.m. 92nd Street Y. $29-$55.
No matter what happens, no matter how many times he makes an "Oochie Wally" or an I Am . . ., New Yorkers will always love Nas, in part because there's always a "Thief's Theme" or a Stillmatic hiding right around the corner. His latest return to form, the summer hit Life Is Good, featured the city's rapper laureate spitting over Salaam Remi and No I.D.-produced boom-bap, and launched a song about worrying over your daughter into Hot 97 rotation. Tonight, he comes to 92Y to discuss (with Rolling Stone contributing editor Anthony DeCurtis) his youth in Queens, his early days in the rap game, and the real-life daughter behind his latest hit. -- By Nick Murray
Donald Harrison, Ron Carter, & Billy Cobham
Tues., Jan 8 - Fri., Jan. 11. 8:00 p.m. daily. Blue Note. $20-$35.
Since their 2004 debut, this trio has refined their ever-shifting sense of balance to blend frenzied moments and well-plotted flourishes with some of the most muscular lyricism around. The saxophonist flutters, the bassist strolls, and the drummer pressurizes everything--even the ballads. -- By Jim Macnie
Tues., Jan. 8 - Fri., Jan. 11. 8:30 p.m. & 11:00 p.m. daily. Birdland. $40.
Jazz's leading male singer has theatricality in his vocal arsenal, but he seldom abuses it; his casual delivery helps him quickly befriend an audience. Both skills are in play on his latest disc, a nod to the Brill Building's irrefutable art and extended aura. From Carole King to Burt Bacharach, he puts a personalized spin on some classics, testing the waters with phrasing, tempo, and harmony updates. He doesn't touch "Shopping For Clothes," though--best not to mess with royalty. -- By Jim Macnie
'Unraveling: Corey Dargel & Jacob Cooper'
Mon., Jan. 7. 7:00 p.m. Le Poisson Rouge. $15.
Falling at opposite ends of the contemporary classical continuum, electro-minimalist Jacob Cooper and nouveau cabaret singer Corey Dargel present two song cycles that comment on the integration and unraveling of technology in society and in music. Cooper's "Silver Threads" features captivating soprano Mellissa Hughes, ostensibly comfortable in any scenario, singing over an electronic trance track. Dargel's wry "Hold Yourself Together" traces six interlocking stories on the breakdown of communication and the toll it takes on modern love, sung over a Baroque-style synthesizer. A more highbrow form of glitch, these subversive composers embrace technology only to undermine it from within. -- By Aidan Levy
Julian Lynch + Andrew Cedermark
Tues., Jan. 8. 8:30 p.m. The Glasslands Gallery. $10.
Despite his interdisciplinary approach, the Wisconsin-based multi-instrumentalist maintains a clear focus when it comes to his forthcoming LP, scheduled to drop this April. Like his past releases, Lynch recorded its tracks in his Madison apartment using low-fi techniques, but he continues honing the material in live sets. Supposedly, this one picks up where he left off with Terra, his densely atmospheric 2011 release, with the lonely hum of bass clarinet meeting an understated, pop-infused synthesizer aesthetic. -- By Aidan Levy