As sweltering summer weather descends upon the city, many residents flee to the beaches of the suburbs or to a country setting, but one of the many advantages to spending the summer in the city is the sheer volume of free outdoor live music. Queens has plenty of it scheduled for 2006, and deciding where to go is only a matter of what you’re looking for.
If sitting under a tree, laying on a blanket and feeling the grass between your toes sounds tempting, spend an afternoon in Queens’ third largest park, Forest Park, which plays host to many free summer music events at the George Seuffert Bandshell, on Forest Park Drive near Woodhaven Boulevard.
Latin Summer Sundays began last week at Forest Park and runs until July 9, featuring the sounds of Brazil, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Andes and Mexico.Concerts begin at 4 p.m. except on July 9, when performances for the Mexico Vive Arts program begin at 2 p.m.
Ýf classical music is more your style, the bandshell becomes host to the oldest and largest performing arts organization in Queens, the Queens Symphony Orchestra, performing Sundays on July 30, August 6 and 13 at 4 p.m.
Another chance to lounge in a park with some classical music is Thursday, July 13, at 8 p.m., when the New York Philharmonic—the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States—performs Tchaichovsky’s Coronation March and Violin Concerto, and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8 in Cunningham Park in Fresh Meadows on the 193rd Street field.
Several museums and arts institutions will also fill their outdoor space with live music this summer. Flushing Town Hall, 137 35 Northern Blvd., presents a variety of musical styles with its Free Summer Garden Concert Series. Held on four Fridays at 8 p.m., the series kicks off July 7 with contemporary country music by Brian Clayton and the Green River Band. On July 21, enjoy the music that defined soul with James Jones and Positive Energy featuring the Encyclopedia of Rhythm and Blues. Get “rad” with beach party surf music by Marty Raneri and the Channel Surfers on August 4. The series will close August 18 with Asian Jazz Fusion, when jazz drummer Pheeroan Aklaff collaborates with a group of taiko drummers, demonstrating a powerful style of Japanese percussion.
On Thursday, July 6 at 6 p.m., Jazzmobile returns to the Louis Armstrong House, a historic landmark and former longtime home to the musical genius, at 34 56 107th St. in Corona.Timbalero Henry “Pucho” Brown and the Latin Soul Brothers will give a free performance of their exciting blend of Latin, Soul and Funk, in front of the museum.
The Noguchi Museum, at 9 01 33rd Rd. in Long Island City, will also hold its Second Sundays, an exploration of innovative live musical performances in the sculpture garden, in July and August.On Sunday, July 9 at 3 p.m., Marta Topferova and her trio perform new and original fusion of contemporary and folk music traditions of Latin America. On August 13, members of the American Contemporary Music Ensemble will perform. Both shows are free with museum admission.
Finally, Queens’ East River waterfront is the perfect setting for some summertime tunes, with its backdrop of twinkling and glistening water slipping past the Hell Gate Bridge.
The Waterfront Concert Series on the Astoria Park Lawn kicks off with some old time rock and roll swagger by Risky Business on Thursday, June 29 at 7:30 p.m., followed by a fireworks display.
The series continues on Thursday evenings with an All Star Tribute Show July 13, a tribute to Bobby Darin on July 20, Big Band on July 27, Latin Jazz featuring Bobby Matos and the NY Latin Allstars on Aug. 3, and Pop Rock, featuring the Getaway Drive, on Aug. 10. All performances are free and begin at 7:30 p.m.
Risky Business, rock performance on the Astoria Park Lawn, Shore Drive at Astoria Park South. Thursday,June 29 at7:30 p.m.
Henry “Pucho” Brown and the Latin Soul Brothers, performing outside the Louis Armstrong House, 34 56 107th St., Corona. Thursday, July 6 at 6 p.m.
The New York Philharmonic, in Cunningham Park, 193rd Street field, Fresh Meadows. Thursday, July 13 at 8 p.m.