Elton John. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

By CHARLES ANDREWS

TO ACCOMPANY GREAT MUSIC

Or you can have a fine time just being really close and catching every nuanced note from great jazz musicians, as was the case last weekend with the Peter Erskine Trio and George Garzone at Sam First, a first-rate jazz club near LAX that is still being discovered by music lovers (like me) after more than a year. The interior design is striking, the seating unorthodox but offering great visibility, the sound superb. Live music every Thursday through Sunday. I chatted with pianist Alan Pasqua and found out he, like Erskine, is also a Santa Monica resident of many years. This town is just filthy with great musicians, I tell ya.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED:

ST. PAUL & the BROKEN BONES – WHISKY X LA (can’t wait to hear this 8-piece Alabama soul outfit, don’t be fooled because vocalist Paul Janeway looks like your high school chemistry teacher, when he attacks the mic he’s pure Memphis Stax, great music accompanied by sampling 60+ fine whiskies from distillery experts, fab food too, I do believe I call this Heaven, an LA event again right here in our terrific town, you can walk home!), Fri 6 p.m., Barker Hangar, Santa Monica Airport, $50-$125.

ROBBIE BURNS DAY (for decades THE party of the year in Santa Monica, and it’s only January! — honoring a poet who is a national hero, God bless the well-versed Scots, with a bagpiper and men in kilts, wear one and you get 10 percent off, proprietor Phil McGovern, raised in London but of Scottish heritage, wearing what I call his kilt tuxedo, to die for, honors the great man each year by providing a free buffet of Scottish delights like Scotch Eggs, Orkney Clapshot, Courageous Cock A Leekie soup and of course Heroic Haggis, which must first be slowly, solemnly paraded around the room and not dug into until Burns’ famous “Ode to A Haggis” is recited, in its entirety, by a true Scot so you probably won’t understand a word, and all manner of Scottish ales and whisky cocktails, alcohol-happy kilted young men often jump upon tabletops as the night wears on to bellow traditional Scot songs, and the ladies present seem to like that), Sat, The Daily Pint, 2310 Pico, free.

RECOMMENDED:

TONIGHT! – BRANFORD MARSALIS QUARTET (if I have to tell you who he is just skip to someone you do know, but the rest of y’all, there are good reasons legends are legends and the eldest Marsalis has earned his laurels many times over, this is billed as an intimate jazz club setting), Thurs, 8 p.m., The Soraya, Northridge, $35-$78.

THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN (whisky and Broken Bones or a possibly amazing, crazing, uniquely unforgettable show Friday night from a ‘60s UK legend, how to choose? — Brown will be strutting his crazy outfits, make room, Dr. John, and spouting his hell-”FIRE!!” — this is one of only two 2019 U.S. dates so we’re really fortunate, look him up, this is a guy who read the winds and saw the course of music and history changing and reflected it with his huge huge really huge and influential 1968 smash hit), Fri 6:30 p.m., Catch One, Mid-Wilshire, $30.

ELTON JOHN (Rock and Roll and Songwriters Hall of Fame occupant Sir Elton, after half a century on the road with more than 4,000 performances in more than 80 countries, one of the top-selling solo artists of all time, only Sir Paul, sorta-Sir Bono and Jimmy Buffet are richer, is hanging up the platforms with his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour, more than 300 shows across five continents not ending until 2021, promoters warn: “the show will begin promptly at 8 p.m., with no opening act,” so get there early) Fri, Wed 8 p.m. (+ The Forum Feb. 1, 2), Staples Center, DTLA, $60-$250.

LA PHIL HARMONIC – SYMPHONIES FOR YOUTH (A Journey Through Minimalism — an interactive concert experience for the whole family, explore the patterns, layers and rhythms of iconic minimalist music by Philip Glass, Steve Reich, John Adams, Arvo Pärt played by our superlative symphony orchestra, with hands-on workshops for kids, 5-11, but, ahem, parents and such get some great music for a bargain price, eh?), Sat 11 a.m., Walt Disney Concert Hall, DTLA, $23-$27.

STANLEY CLARKE (it’s Stanley Clarke… here in town… in a great concert hall… he ain’t just jazz but he is just genius… goes where no other bassist dares to, so go so you can tell your grandkids), Sat 7:30 p.m., The Broad Stage, Santa Monica, $64 & up.

Gates of the West: Joe Strummer Celebration with WAYNE KRAMER, JAKOB DYLAN, MIKE WATT, SUZI GARDNER, JESSE MALIN (really good lineup, Clash lead vocalist-rhythm guitarist Strummer’s songs were dope, this is a benefit for a couple of good causes, officially sold out but, you know, show up anyway and beg or bribe) Sat 8 p.m., The Roxy, Hollywood.

SOUNDWAVES + JACARANDA preview (how can you miss? our Main Library’s Jeff Schwarz has been presenting adventuresome musical journeys by total pro musicians, some quite famous, for f-f-ree, and Jacaranda has been thrilling with likewise little-heard but deserving compositions, for $20 to $45 a seat and well worth it, at our acoustically wonderful First Presbyterian Church downtown, so now you can hear a preview of the upcoming Jacaranda concerts at the Library and decide whether or not to go for the full ride, this one draws from Jacaranda’s “Premonitions I & II” program Feb. 3, pianists Inna Faliks & Daniel Schlosberg discussing and partially performing Gustav Mahler’s Sixth Symphony, arranged for piano 4-hands), Wed 7:30 p.m., main Library, DTSM, free.

COMING ATTRACTIONS: BONNIE MURRAY TAMBLYN (longtime SM), SEVERIN BROWNE (brother of longtime SM Jackson), Kulak’s Woodshed, Feb. 1; THE REVEREND SHAWN AMOS presents A Night in Harlem (he’s a great entertainer), The Broad Stage, Feb. 1; I SEE HAWKS IN L.A., Gwendolyn (from TV’S Weeds,OITNB, Chuck & Buck), Rich D, Highland Park Bowl, Feb. 1; The Last, Dime Box Band, Trotsky Icepick, The Cinema Bar, Feb. 1; 02/01: EASY RIDER (50th anniversary, great cultural touchstone film, great soundtrack), Nuart Friday ‘Round Midnight, Feb.1; ROSANNE CASH, Chapman University, Feb. 2; JACARANDA – LYRIS QUARTET, Inna Faliks & Daniel Schlosberg, piano, see SOUNDWAVES + JAC above, Feb. 3; chart-topping rap royalty TRAVIS SCOTT (his stage show should be epic but like Common I wish he had turned down the socially unconscious NFL for their Super Bowl, like Rihanna did, and Jay-Z last year), the Forum, Feb. 8.

Charles Andrews has listened to a lot of music of all kinds, including more than 2,000 live shows. He 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 therealmrmusic@gmail.com

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