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Your July Jazz Calendar

Ten top-tier jazz shows to catch this month.


Lakecia Benjamin   

The Stone at the New School; 7/6 at 8:30 p.m.; 55 W. 13th St., nr. Sixth Ave.
This trio led by Israeli guitarist Eyal Maoz comes at jazz by way of noise rock, with erratic riffs falling over each other. Drummer and UC Irvine professor Lukas Ligeti is a moving highlight reel — he seems to be everywhere all at once.

Blue Note; 7/10 and 7/11; 131 W. 3rd St., nr. Macdougal St.; 212-475-8592
MonoNeon is a must-follow on Instagram, where he makes songs out of Cardi B monologues, exploring the natural music of the English language. (It’s also a great excuse to hear Cardi talk.) Onstage, decked out in Day-Glo, he’s one of the most-sought-out bassists in funk: he was working with Prince at Paisley Park shortly before the Purple One’s death.

Dr. Lonnie Smith
Jazz Standard; 7/11–7/15; 116 E. 27th St., nr. Park Ave. S.; 212-576-2232
As if the three tiers of the Hammond B-3 aren’t enough to work with, Smith has added a Moog to his touring rig, creating a one-man symphony of soul jazz. Smith will perform with his working group of Jonathan Kreisberg on guitar and Johnathan Blake on drums, with vocalist Alicia Olatuja sitting in on Friday and Saturday night.

Prospect Park Bandshell; 7/12 at 7:30 p.m.; Prospect Park W. at 9th St.; 718-965-8951
Afrobeat is an annual fan favorite of New York’s free Celebrate Brooklyn! outdoor concert series, and none does it better than the Brooklyn-based Antibalas, now in their 20th year together under the direction of Martín Perna and singer Duke Amayo. New York quartet Combo Chimbita opens, pulling from their brilliant Pan-Latin debut from last summer, Abya Yala.

Milford Graves Full Mantis
Metrograph; 7/13– 7/19; 7 Ludlow St., nr. Canal St.; 212-660-0312
The new documentary directed by Jake Meginsky and co-directed by Neil Young explores the life of Milford Graves well beyond his contributions to the avant-garde. While pioneering the role of the drummer in free jazz, the Queens native managed to become an acupuncturist, a sculptor, a martial artist, and an expert of the human heart, writing software that turns its pulse into melody. The film, with Graves serving as its only voice, is a lesson in autodidactism.

Village Vanguard; 7/17–7/21; 178 Seventh Ave. S., nr. 11th St.; 212-255-4037
Mary Halvorson plays in a lot of bands, and fans of angular guitar work should see them all — especially her trio with bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Tomas Fujiwara. On the new record of Thumbscrew originals, Ours, the trio has moments of raw beauty and occasional terror: “Words That Rhyme With Spangle” stuck me with Danny–from–The Shining face at its apex.

James Francies
The Jazz Gallery; 7/21 and 7/22; 1160 Broadway, nr. 27th St., fifth fl.; 646-494-3625
The 22-year-old pianist’s most famous contribution thus far is his key work on Chance the Rapper’s Grammy-winning victory lap “No Problem.” As part of its Residency Commissions series, Francies has written a new suite, “R3act,” for the Jazz Gallery, featuring vocalist Kate Kayes and drummer Eric Harland.

Michael Formanek
Korzo; 7/24 at 10:30 p.m.; 667 Fifth Ave., nr. 19th St., Brooklyn; 718-499-1199
Bassist and composer Michael Formanek writes complex heads with stirring emotion — Mingus comparisons are not out of line. Tim Berne, then, is his Eric Dolphy, tearing apart the alto sax in his cantankerous solos.

Prospect Park Bandshell; 7/27 at 7:30 p.m.; Prospect Park W. at 9th St.; 718-965-8951
Born in 1960 in Mali, Ibrahim Ag Alhabib was first drawn to the guitar watching Roy Orbison in the camp Western The Fastest Guitar Alive, eventually building his own out of a tin can and bicycle brake wire. With his hands on the real thing, he founded Tinarwiren in 1979, creating politically charged Tuareg blues with enchanting, long-form guitar runs.

Lakecia Benjamin
Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola; 7/30 at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.; 33 W. 60th St., nr. Broadway, fifth fl.; 212-258-9595
Washington Heights native Lakecia Benjamin is a powerhouse alto player with a tone that can adapt to any occasion. It’s led her to tours with artists from Reggie Workman and David Murray to Alicia Keys and Macy Gray — not to mention her performance with Stevie Wonder at Obama’s inaugural ball.

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