The Tribeca Festival is going to draw lots of viewers into movie theaters. And there's a huge range of features screening this year, from actor Ray Romano's directorial debut to a documentary about David Lynch's fixation with "The Wizard of Oz".
But the festival also includes outdoor events — some free, others ticketed — and it's one of those that I'm looking forward to most: the premiere of a film called "Hargrove," screening on Sunday, June 12th, on the plaza outside of Brookfield Place that's in the neighborhood.
Roy was a wunderkind who blew in from Texas and spun heads with his abundant talent. Having seen him play in a Texas nightclub when he was a teenager, I can attest to this effect personally. For the film, director Eliane Henri and her crew followed Hargrove around the world in 2018, not knowing it was his final year – he died on November 2nd, at age 49. We hear about his impact from marquee names like Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock, Questlove and Erykah Badu (who's one of the film's executive producers). We learn about the vast range of styles he covered: straight-ahead jazz, Latin jazz, funky fusion, R&B, hip hop.
But we also get a sense of just how demanding and draining the life of a touring artist is. Roy battled with substance abuse, and long after he put that behind him, he endured chronic pain for the rest of his life. His passing left a hole in New York City's musical life that's still felt, and this documentary honors his memory. June 12th at 8 p.m.; tribecafilm.com
Year after year, Celebrate Brooklyn is one of New York City's best loved and best attended outdoor music series. Presented by BRIC at the Prospect Park Bandshell, this year's festival opens on Wednesday night, June 8th, with the ecstatic sounds of Los Angeles saxophonist, bandleader and multimedia artist Kamasi Washington.
Many listeners will remember that Washington and his extended family of L.A. jazz players first drew attention for working with rapper Kendrick Lamar. His style is a throwback to a more optimistic era of soulful jazz, reminiscent of the late '60s and early '70s. He writes big bold music for large bands and choirs. You might also sense his kinship with conscious R&B artists like Curtis Mayfield. One thing's for sure: it's going to sound great outdoors. June 8th at 7:30 p.m.; bricartsmedia.org
Sarah Kirkland Snider is among the most impressive younger composers in the New York new-music scene. Her music can sound ageless and contemporary at once, with an emotional impact that's direct and immediate. And she's got a hot streak of events happening in June. Snider's curating an intimate evening at Lincoln Center's Kaplan Penthouse on Wednesday night, June 8th, which sets the stage for the world premiere of "Forward Into Light," a new piece she's written for the New York Philharmonic to perform on Friday night at Carnegie Hall. June 10th at 8 p.m.; nyphil.org
Everyone always asks, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall." This week, Snider's grappling with a different question: Once you've gotten to Carnegie Hall, what do you do for an encore? Well... would you believe a cemetery? "Mass for the Endangered" is a choral work Sarah wrote with her close collaborator, poet Nathaniel Bellows. The English choir that recorded the piece, Gallicantus, is here to perform the mass on June 14th, 15th and 16th in the Catacombs at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. It's part of a series called The Angel's Share, which includes an hour of spirits tasting and a twilight walk through the cemetery. These events tend to sell out early, so if you're intrigued, head to the website right away. June 14th-16th at 6 and 7:30 p.m.; deathofclassical.com