HIGHLY RECOMMENDED:

TONIGHT! – JAMEY JOHNSON (the biggest bearded, baddest-looking, baddest country bass singing, monster guitar playing when he wants to, kick-ass band leader and insightful, wise, sensitive songwriter around, ain’t no Nashville wuss in this guy), Thurs 7 p.m., The Wiltern, Mid-Wilshire, $19.50-$80.

LA OPERA: MOZART’s The Clemency of Titus (two more chances to not miss this long-neglected but inspired piece of music-singing-sets-book from Mozart at the end of his career and life, written at the same time as “The Magic Flute,” he used some of the same music in both, superb singing and playing all around but conductor James Conlon, for shame, blurting out a huge spoiler on the plot in the last moments of his otherwise informative pre-concert lecture, most people have never seen this, and this is Hollywood, you should know, no spoilers!), Sat 7:30 p.m., also Mar. 24, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, DTLA, $23-$289.

DUSTBOWL REVIVAL, HOT CLUB OF COWTOWN – Across the Great Divide: A Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of THE BAND (I have literally been waiting months for this, why? — because Dustbowl Revival has been a favorite of mine for years, since I first heard them playing sans introduction in a corner of the Townhouse in Venice, I’ve since embraced their varied musical styles, New Orleans jazz, bluegrass, folk, country,  blended into a joyous Olde Timey sound even before discovering DR OG master mandolinist and fiddler Connor Vance is a Samohi/UCLA product and lifelong resident of Ocean Park, and I always love it when young musicians know their history, their warm embrace of The Band and this performance of their early music tells me a lot, all good, and Hot Club is a superb veteran trio out of Austin along the same pedigree), Tues 8 p.m.,  Smothers Theatre, Pepperdine University, Malibu, $20-$40.

RECOMMENDED:

TONIGHT! — “EINSTEIN!” (did you forget we’ve got this great little theatre tucked away downtown, mostly terrific local productions but here’s a noted traveling show coming in for one performance only, if you’re lucky enough to get a ticket, I try to recommend only performances I have some personal familiarity with but this Jack Fry one-man show, based on thousands of new documents, has gotten nothing but awards and rave reviews so I think I’m safe, the young Einstein in war-torn Berlin creating world-changing calculations amidst personal and political chaos), Thurs, 7:30 p.m., Santa Monica Playhouse, DTSM, $40-$60.

TONIGHT! — THE JOY WHEEL (what’s goin’ down, underground, in Joy, IL? — really funny, topical play directed by Seinfeld’s JASON ALEXANDER, don’t assume it will be here forever, go now), Thurs, Fri, Sat 8 p.m., Sun 2 p.m., Ruskin Group Theatre, SM Airport, $20-$35.

BILLY CHILDS QUARTET (there are certain performers you just have to see before you die, or they do, and local giant Childs is one of them, as far as I know he’s in great health at only 61 but how are you doing, hmm? — 5 Grammys, 16 nominations but this probably explains why I love him so much: “influenced early on in his playing by Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Keith Emerson [of The Nice and ELP, an Ocean Park neighbor of mine for decades until his sad suicide two years ago Monday] and in his composing by Paul Hindemith, Maurice Ravel and Igor Stravinsky,” now THAT’s some really interesting influences, and it shows, you really should go, Sam First is a great little jazz venue, not far, LAX), Sat 8 p.m., 9:30 p.m., Sam First, LAX, $25.

JACARANDA – Flying Dream (great program from a consistently excellent series, this almost made HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, featuring compositions by Duke Ellington and William Grant Still, recently honored in an LA Phil concert, plus Florence Price’s “Piano Sonata” and George Walker’s “Lyric for String Quartet” and of course that SQ will be the marvelous Lyris Quartet, oh goody), Sat 8 p.m., First Presbyterian Church, DTSM, $20-$45.

CANTILENA TRIO (flute-guitar duo plus tenor, great credentials from classical to jazz, on a Sunday morning upstairs at a movie theater for free, of course — this is Santa Monica), Sun 11 a.m., Laemmle Monica Film Center, DTSM, free.

SOUNDWAVES (Daniel Corral is a composer and multi-instrumentalist born and raised in Eagle River, Alaska now living in LA, his unique voice expressing in accordion orchestras, puppet operas, handmade music boxes, microtonal electronics, site-specific installations, chamber music, post-punk opera, you get the picture, this evening presents a new song cycle, “Unknown Summits,” for vocalist, the Koan String Quartet and yes my old instrument, accordion,  but don’t be scared off, the SOUNDWAVES series, curated by Daniel Rothman and Jeff Schwartz, is consistently challenging, fascinating, enjoyable and of the highest level of musicianship, and it’s free and there’s convenient parking what do I have to do to fill those seats, pick you up myself?), Wed 7:30 p.m., Main Library, DTSM, free.

COMING ATTRACTIONS: OCEAN PARK LIBRARY 100th ANNIVERSARY FINALE Party, Mar. 23; 13th Annual Santa Monica AIRPORT ARTWALK, Mar. 23; LA PHIL – Gershwin, Ravel, Walt Disney Hall, Mar. 28-31, and Free Neighborhood Concert: Springtime in Watts, Macedonia Baptist Church, Mar. 31; SPIRITUALIZED, Troubadour, Mar. 29;  MAVIS STAPLES and Friends, Theatre at Ace hotel, May 22.

BODACIOUS BIRTHDAYS: QUINCY JONES (1942) — OK, he’s a giant of the music biz but I’d rather acknowledge tomorrow’s birthday boy, RY COODER 1947.

Way too much to say about the low key but brilliant Ryland Cooder (Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Capt. Beefheart, “Buena Vista Social Club,” no. 8 on Rolling Stone’s 2003 list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”). He’s a local boy (Samohi ‘64) whose liberal lawyer father lived here and Ry still does, with his wife, photographer Susan Titelman who, yes, for those of you who have read liner notes for decades might suspect, is the sister of Russ Titelman, the genius producer for Warner Bros. Records in the ‘70s when they were a unique, inspired label. Cooder’s son Joachim, SM-born, is earning a solid music reputation. My wife, I’m so jealous, caught him playing a few years ago at the Church in Ocean Park.

He took up guitar when he was three, and has had a glass eye since he accidentally stuck a knife in it at age four. He played banjo — one gig — with Doc Watson and Bill Monroe, who told him, “you’re just not ready, son.” He toured with Randy Newman in the mid-’70s and when they came to Albuquerque I had the chance to interview one of them and I picked Newman because of his more prominent association with the soundtrack to the movie “Performance,” with which I was obsessed (and rightly so). Newman turned out to be truthful when he warned me at the outset, “I’m a pretty boring interview.” Thing was, I learned decades later that he actually lied to me to downplay what he knew about that amazing recording. I should have picked Cooder; he was also on it, and future father-in-law Russ Titelman played percussion.

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 33 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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