Butler Bernstein & The Hot 9

I am heading out to Reno tomorrow, where I promise not to shoot a man just to watch him die. But with travelling on my mind, this week I have you biking to Bushwick for a couple of shows, and on the G train Saturday heading to some modern stride jazz piano at an outdoor dance party in Prospect Park.

Thanks to Sonya P. who wrote up some of her own recommendations for part of this post.

Here are our weekend picks.

Maitri, Friday 8pm Max Cellar


Songwriting partners Caroline Davis and Ben Hoffmann of Maitri identify the following performers as influences on their band’s sound: Bill Withers, Sam Cooke, Billie Holiday, and Erykah Badu.

As a child, Hoffman borrowed Sam Cooke’s album Live at the Harlem Square Club (1963) from his local Manitowoc library in Wisconsin and became obsessed with Cooke’s music. From Billie Holiday, Davis learned about “musical expression of hardship and beauty in general.”

Regarding Bill Withers’ influence, the band was “exposed to [him] later in our lives, funny enough both hearing his songs on some movie soundtracks – American Beauty, Anchorman (hilarious), The Bodyguard, and Lean on Me,” says Davis.

Davis performs on saxophone and flute for Maitri, and provides vocals. Hoffman plays keyboards and the Moog synthesizer, and sings on some tracks. Sam Weber (bass) and Jay Sawyer (drums) round out the band. Max Cellar is located at 2 Knickerbocker Ave. in Bushwick.

Jason Moran, Saturday 7:30pm Prospect Park

Jason Moran

Everyone has their own version of Lost New York, former favorite places in the city that become more prosperous and lose their romance.

For me, radio airwaves, not just geographical places, echo with ghosts. From my East Village apartment during the late 1990’s, I would listen to Blanco y Blanco, a nostalgia show hosted by a husband and wife who had conventional day jobs in the financial industry. On air they transformed into a 1930’s duo lost in romance. Their playlists were heavy on the Boswell Sisters and Fats Waller.

Jason Moran’s album tribute to Fats Waller

So it was with absolute joy that I found MacArthur Fellow Jason Moran resurrecting Fats Waller on his latest album, taking Waller’s Harlem Stride piano compositions and adding funk and hip-hop elements to create a modern dance party. Moran performs a free show just a G train ride away on Saturday when his band plays as part of the Celebrate Brooklyn! series.

Butler, Bernstein & The Hot 9 — a band also intent on updating an American classic sound, New Orleans jazz — opens the show.

The venue is near the 9th Street entrance to the park, so take the G train to the 15th Street/Prospect Park station. Bring a picnic blanket, because if you get there too late for amphitheatre seats, the acoustics are still great from the surrounding lawn area.

Wolfman Slack, Sunday 9pm Pine Box Rock Shop

Wolfman Slack plays “bedroom folk,” according to a tweet by fellow musician and friend Kevin Devine. Well, music does not get any more home-centric than writing and recording music on waterlogged instruments after losing your house to Hurricane Sandy.

Wolfman Slack

Wolfman Slack’s latest album is available now on a “name your price” basis here. Check out “Modern Family” and “Their Ascent (Will Be Greater Than You).” Find out more when he plays at 9pm on Sunday, June 28 at Pine Box Rock Shop (12 Grattan St) in Bushwick.

Also don’t forget our recommendation from earlier this week to catch Hurrah! A Bolt of Light!, playing at 7 pm tonight at Cameo Gallery (93 North 6th St.). Mirage-rock band Ceramic Animal and singer-songwriter Abby Payne complete the bill.

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