The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 9/20/13
For more shows throughout the weekend, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.
Life is a cabaret with Tony winner Laura Benanti at 54 Below this weekend
8pm, Friday & Saturday; 11pm, Friday, $50-$60
She's strutted on Broadway musical stages and nabbed a Tony, she's showing up as a hospital exec on USA's Royal Pains, she was just at the Delacorte Theater for The Tempest, playing a goddess and wearing something she might have worn as Gypsy Rose Lee, and now she's back here doing the cabaret thing. You can bet no one thinks she doesn't sizzle in these surroundings: Todd Almond, who wrote the hot Tempest score and her hot-hot-hot number, is the musical director and arranger. -- By David Finkle
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Patti Smith is a poet and a dreamer, but she's most importantly a punk rock priestess who likes to remind you whose sins Jesus didn't die for. This fall, Patti returns to the Met after last year's personalized tribute to Andy Warhol, who was the hero of her close friend, the late Robert Mapplethorpe. This year's show is dedicated to an artist of a different era, with Patti paying tribute to Hildegard de Bingen, a German composer, philosopher, writer and much more. Much like the Warhol show, the Met's audience may get a taste of Patti showing appreciation for some of her favorite musicians in the form of her unique covers that always fit seamlessly into a set of her beautiful and mystifying originals. -- By Brittany Spanos
Jazz at Lincoln Center, Time Warner Center, Rose Theater
8pm, Friday & Saturday, $28.50-$125
Ask Pete Rock about Ahmad Jamal. He might tell you that chords tumble out of Jamal's piano like water falling over a series of rocks--with total ease, to devastating effect. It is from this chordal cascade that Rock sculpted the soundscape to Nas's immortal "The World Is Yours," sampling Jamal's pristine "I Love Music." Jamal is a noted jazz minimalist, letting the spaces left in-between his tasteful notes speak for themselves, and in this way, his music emphasizes all the forced silences of slavery and displacement that rest at the heart of the African-American cultural tradition. Jazz occupies a privileged position as the art music of that tradition, and no jazz pianist represents the restrained elegance of the African-American struggle for expression better than Jamal. Perhaps this is why he has been able to enter his eighth decade, both as a human being and a pianist, with the same focus and vision that saw him erupt on the scene with 1958's Live At The Pershing. His 2012 release Blue Moon shows that the world is still his. -- By Winston Groman
The Pretty Reckless
Almost a century ago, the blues was being cast as the Devil's music, and now the Pretty Reckless are trying to approximate that kind of hysteria with the bluesy hard rock of their latest LP, Going to Hell. To bolster that theory, frontwoman and provocateur Taylor Momsen (former child actress in The Grinch and Gossip Girl) has long had a penchant for wearing T-shirts sporting slogans like "I fuck for Satan," and in an album teaser she even proclaims, "Don't bless me father, for I have sinned." It would all seem a bit corny if the songs weren't actually good. -- By Kory Grow
Fred Frith's 'Gravity'
The experimental guitarist revisits his second solo album after leaving important British avant-rock group Henry Cow. Recorded in New York and released in 1979 on the Residents' Ralph label, Gravity mixed avant-garde tropes with merry melodies and holds up far better than you might expect. Frith will lead an 11-piece group through its myriad quirks and delights. With Dominique Leone Band. -- By Richard Gehr
254 W. 54th St., New York, NY
60th St. & Broadway, New York, NY