Normally we try to give you lots of lead time before sending you out to see something. But today we're going to tell you about a concert happening tomorrow night — that's Sunday, July 31st — at Central Park SummerStage. It's a triple bill of groundbreaking Black artists representing new strands in creative jazz and pop, and it's a killer.
The headlining act is Sons of Kemet, a British quartet led by Shabaka Hutchings, who plays saxophone along with a tuba player and two drummers. It's one of several bands that Hutchings leads, and on its latest album, "Black to the Future," the group plays with a handful of prominent guest stars. The group mixes jazz improvisation with African and Caribbean beats, as well as a decided political slant.
Press reports have stated that this is the last U.S. tour for Sons of Kemet, at least in its present configuration, so you won't want to miss this opportunity. And the occasion is an even bigger deal because it includes two more groundbreaking acts: Chicago drummer and composer Makaya McCraven and Brooklyn singer and instrumentalist L'Rain, two of the most talked-about artists in contemporary creative music. July 31st at 6 p.m.; cityparksfoundation.org
Next weekend at Lincoln Center, the MacArthur genius award-winning choreographer Kyle Abraham opens a series of performances that should prove to be extraordinary. So much of what Lincoln Center has done with its programming is dedicated to ideas about marking what we've lost and celebrating what we have as we start to come together again after pandemic isolation, and these Abraham events are suited to that idea.
First up is a program literally called "Reunions," in which seven star alumni of his dance company, A.I.M. by Kyle Abraham, present new pieces of their own design. That's happening at Lincoln Center's Hearst Plaza, and it's free. August 6th and 7th at 6 p.m.; lincolncenter.org
That sets up a second program called "Requiem: Fire in the Air of the Earth," a major new evening-length dance by Abraham in its New York City premiere. The music is based on Mozart's well-known "Requiem," a mass for the dead, but it's been reworked by the amazing electronic musician Jlin. The tie to the somber idea of a "Requiem" is there, but this particular dance is as much about the joy of reuniting and being alive.
"Requiem" is happening in the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center on August 11th, 12th, and 13th, and tickets are available on a "choose what you pay" basis. That means they're not likely to last, so you'll want to plan ahead. August 11th-13th at 8 p.m.; lincolncenter.org