GREEN AND SWIFT
Green Lantern? Green Arrow? My boyhood fave superheroes, not marquee so I figured they needed more love than Superman and Batman.
Actually, I’m referring to the great show by Green and Swift put on by the Jazz Bakery last Saturday at New Roads’ acoustically wonderful Moss Theatre. I went for Benny Green, “master jazz pianist, my favorite on the planet” I wrote in my last NOTEWORTHY column. I was also interested in his singer, Veronica Swift, unknown to me but apparently getting a lot of attention lately.
Green did not disappoint, his precision, invention, speed and soul something to behold. But vocalist Veronica Swift upset me at times — because she was so good I was hanging on every note and sometimes not listening so much to Green. Kudos to impresario Ruth Price to recognize and book this monster talent combo.
Green and Co. were actually Swift’s “band,” though they deservedly came out and opened the show with 20 minutes on their own. At 23, Swift is strong and confident and a master of so much, especially delivery. I thought of Amy Winehouse, a very different voice but a singer also so instinctive, so natural in her understanding of genre nuances and at such a young age.
About these here RECOMMENDations I make…
I discovered long ago that unless you are the kind of unwashed fanatic filling every waking moment with your obsession, or, someone working in the music industry full time who is getting paid to keep up on everything, you can only know so much. I’ve never been either. Never had that full-time, full-pay job, and have always showered.
I do know a lot. Three things really helped: 1) I’m old enough to have experienced first-hand the birth of rock and roll and all that followed (and later, caught up with that which gave it life); 2) liner notes, on LPs, you know, vinyl, 12×12, were something I grew up with, voraciously devoured, and got a lifetime education; 3) I had two kids, 24 years apart, both hungry for music and loving it, who have tried valiantly to keep me hip, kind of a lost cause (if you ask them) but it helps. Having pushed myself out to more than 2,000 live concerts helps too. (My daughter will probably pass that by 30.)
So there’s a lot of good new stuff I’m not up on. But that liner note education taught me to interpret details that taken altogether can tell you a lot.
I’ll never recommend something I’m not pretty sure about, though music is always a gamble. Van Morrison can take you to the mountain or piss you off, any given night (but his albums have been pretty consistent for half a century now, no mean feat). I’d rather miss recommending something than have somebody come back and tell me (and they have), why in the world did you send me to THAT show?
RECOMMENDED: WALTER TROUT (the best blues guitar shredder you’ve never heard of, a master), Thurs, 9 PM, The Canyon, Agoura Hills, $24-$34, also Sat, 8 PM, the Coach House, San Juan Capistrano, $30.
JANE MONHEIT (superb jazz vocal stylist), Thurs, Fri, Sat, 8:30 PM, Catalina Bar & Grill, Hollywood, $25-$35.
SYD STRAW, five others (another multi-performer extravaganza at my favorite 65-year-old country-folk-Americana dive), the Cinema Bar, Culver City, Thurs, 9 PM, no cover.
MONK’estra, a cinematic project, plus GERI ALLEN’S ERROLL GARNER PROJECT: Concert by the Sea (high-level tribute night, here’s pianist John Beasley’s description of his project MONK’estra: captures the spirit of Thelonious Monk’s singular style with off-beat melodies, humor, strange beauty, unbounded swing in fresh arrangements flavored with New Orleans, hip-hop, Afro-Cuban, contemporary, atmospheric rhythms and colors featuring guest vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, pianist Gerald Clayton, and rare film footage of Thelonious, plus the late Geri Allen’s recreation of the classic Garner LP, with a pre-concert lobby display of jazz books and related memorabilia and a complimentary drink in honor of Monk’s 1951 classic “Straight, No Chaser” courtesy of Martell’s Cognac — too cool!), Fri, 8 PM, Walt Disney Concert Hall, downtown LA, $47-$126.
MANHATTAN TRANSFER (still one of the premier vocalese groups), Fri, 9 PM, Saban Theatre, Beverly Hills, $48-$78.
KRONOS QUARTET (a California treasure for 40 years, rotating musicians and jaw-dropping palette of music, much of it world and/or experimental), Fri, 8 PM, Royce Hall, UCLA, $29-$59.
ACADEMY OF ST. MARTIN IN THE FIELDS with JOSHUA BELL (luminous English chamber orchestra, my favorite, founded half a century ago by Sir Neville Marriner and led until his death in 2016, with baton brilliantly picked up by renowned pianist Joshua Bell), Fri, 8 PM, Renée & Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, South Coast Plaza, OC, $48.
Brighter Sun benefit with DUSTBOWL REVIVAL, Simon Petty (I’ve usually seen Dustbowl Revival for free but this is a good cause and they are worth it anyway, exceptionally good musicians playing every genre of Americana), Sat, 7:30 PM, El Rey Theatre, LA, Miracle Mile, $20 & $75.
BUDDY GUY (there are few real bluesmen remaining, he is one, ‘nuff said), Sun, 8 PM, the Novo, downtown LA, $42.50-$65, Wed, 7:30 PM, Musco Center for the Arts, Chapman University, Orange, $50-$95.
LORDE, Run the Jewels, Tove Styrke (OK, who doesn’t love Lorde? a young woman of exceptional musical integrity and style), Wed, 7 PM, Staples Center, downtown LA, $39.50-$99.50
MOBY (c’mon, Moby, at the Echo? when will that happen again?), Wed, 8:30 PM, the Echo, Echo Park, $35.
BAND NAMES OF THE WEEK: Hot flash Heat Wave, the Spirit of the Beehive, JJUUJJUU, Hammered Satin, Rat Soup (worse than the Rolling Stones’ Goat’s Head Soup?), Rats in the Louvre, Guantanamo Baywatch, the Disgustingtons, Leprous, Glasgow Tiki Shakers, the Charles Mansion After Party,
LYRIC OF THE WEEK: “I’ve never seen a diamond in the flesh, I cut my teeth on wedding rings in the movies and I’m not proud of my address, in the torn up town, no post code envy, and we’ll never be royals, it don’t run in our blood, that kind of lux just ain’t for us, we crave a different kind of buzz, let me be your ruler, you can call me queen B and baby I’ll rule I’ll rule I’ll rule I’ll rule, let me live that fantasy.” — Lorde (“Royals”)
Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 32 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at email@example.com