LA PHIL presents OSCAR, WITH LOVE (I have never seen such a lineup of so many of the best jazz pianists of our generation, except on the 2016 tribute album to the great Oscar Peterson, arranged by his wife, recorded on his own Boesendorfer in his private studio in Canada, these are most of the players from that album — Monty Alexander, Kenny Barron, Benny Green, Bill Charlap, Renee Rosnes, Gerald Clayton, Justin Kauflin, Robi Botos, this would be great even if it were only Benny Green — Peterson was beloved by jazz and classical audiences alike for his virtuosity, equally influenced by his classical training and jazz icon Art Tatum, he’s the man Duke Ellington called “the maharajah of the keyboard”), Sat 8 p.m., Walt Disney Hall, DTLA, $104-$139.
LA OPERA: MOZART’s The Clemency of Titus (last chance, do 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), Sun 2 p.m., Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, DTLA, $23-$289.
AFTER HOURS: A Musical Nocturne (is presented after some performances, present your ticket when you arrive for the opera or get one online if you’re not attending, how generous, a salon curated by Matthew Aucoin on piano, this time featuring spirituals and Celius Dougherty’s sailor songs performed by Clemency of Titus cast members Janai Brugger, Servilia and James Creswell, Publio, both tremendous vocalists), Sun 5 p.m., DC, DTLA, free.
TONIGHT! — THE JOY WHEEL (won’t be turning here forever so I’d go now if I were you, I already did, directed by Seinfeld’s JASON ALEXANDER but it’s definitely not about nothing), Thurs, Fri, Sat 8 p.m., Sun 2 p.m., Ruskin Group Theatre, SM Airport, $20-$35.
ALICIA OLATUJA QUARTET (everything evolves, this column sure has, and now I alter my criteria for recommending a show, from usually having seen the act myself, preferably recently, to my sometimes-used standard of knowing so much peripheral stuff about it that I will bet my rep that it will be excellent, which means there are some organizations or venues that you can count on, though not everything they do will be everyone’s cuppa tea, The Jazz Bakery is one of them, 27 years in, run by jazz singer Ruth Price who toured with Mingus and recorded with Shelly Manne, and if Ruth is hyping Olatuja as “a heartstopping vocal talent!” that means she is forcefully putting her rep on the line and that’s good enough for me), Fri 8 p.m., Moss Theater, New Roads School, SM, $25-$35.
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.
“TRANSPARENT WATER” (Omar Sosa, piano, Seckou Keita, kora, Gustavo Ovalles, percussion, see ALICIA OLATUJA QUARTET listing above for explanation of recommendation), Sat 8 p.m., Moss Theater, New Roads School, SM, $30-$40
OCEAN PARK LIBRARY 100th ANNIVERSARY FINALE Party (music, games, crafts and refreshments on the lawn, this is one of the last standing Carnegie Libraries in Southern California, built just past the turn of the last century with a grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation), Sat 2 p.m., free.
13th Annual Santa Monica AIRPORT ARTWALK (more than 60 local artists and performers will have their private studios and works on view, there will be pottery firing demonstrations, theater and art workshops for the whole family, food available from local restaurants and food trucks, I’ve always enjoyed this a lot), Sat 12N, free.
THE PHIL NORMAN TENTET – 25th Anniversary Show (I’ve been here more than 25 years but somehow always missed this large band, as opposed to “a big band,” so now’s my chance and yours, presented by The jazz Bakery in the acoustically marvelous Moss Theater, see ALICIA OLATUJA QUARTET listing above for explanation of recommendation), Sun 4 p.m., Moss Theater, New Roads School, SM, $30.
CELEBRATING LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI’S 100th BIRTHDAY! (this sounds great but then I have a slightly special relationship to Ferlinghetti and his first book, “A Coney Island of the Mind” 1958, now at 100 he is releasing a new one, “Little Boy,” an autobiographical novel, here will be live music, films, readers, many readers, a panel discussion with City Lights stalwarts Bob Branaman and Pamela Mosher), Sun 5 p.m., Beyond Baroque, Venice, free.
SOUNDWAVES (don’t be scared off, the SOUNDWAVES series is always strange and wonderful and free at our Main Library, this performance featuring pianist Susan Svrček and guests in an evening of new transcriptions and arrangements of the music of Arnold Schoenberg), next Thurs, 7:30 p.m., Main Library, DTSM, free.
LA PHIL – Gershwin, Ravel (met each other at a New York party in 1928 and expressed deep mutual admiration and passion for jazz), next Thurs 10 a.m., Invitational Rehearsal for Friends and Patrons of the LA Phil, free; next Fri 8 p.m., “Casual Fridays” drop one piece, a 17-min. Ravel, and no intermission BUT free drinks in the garden beforehand and an apres-concert meet with orchestra members and more drinks, alllright; next Sat, Sun 2 p.m., Walt Disney Hall, DTLA, $76-$224.
COMING ATTRACTIONS: SPIRITUALIZED, Troubadour, Mar. 29; and LA PHIL, Free Neighborhood Concert – Springtime in Watts, Macedonia Baptist Church, Mar. 31; Royal Scottish National Orchestra, DANNY ELFMAN, Apr. 4, The Soraya; PETER ERSKINE presents Daniel Szabo’s “Visionary,” Moss Theater, Apr. 13. ; MAVIS STAPLES and Friends, Theatre at Ace hotel, May 22.
BODACIOUS BIRTHDAYS: SOLOMON BURKE (1940) — when you say Solomon Burke was a big figure in music, that would be on every level. None other than revered Atlantic Records executive Jerry Wexler referred to him as “the greatest male soul singer of all time.” His prodigious recording career spanned 55 years and at least 17 labels, he released 38 studio albums and had 35 singles that charted in the US, finally got a GRAMMY in 2003 and by 2005 had sold 17M albums.
Always a large man, his weight in middle age went up to between 300-400 lbs and was probably over 350 at the time of his death at 70. He was married four times, fathered at least 14 children (the first at age 14), had 7 step children, 90 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. He was personally responsible for more than 120 adopted children.
I was privileged to see him perform twice, once at Amoeba Records and once at the House of Blues, from that red throne he was famous for (he was known as King Solomon, plus he couldn’t stand and sing with all that weight), and with about 40 of his progeny on stage, singing and playing. What a sight.
My huge regret is that I never was able to seek out his church, the Prayer Assembly Church of God in Christ in Inglewood, pre-Internet-finds-all. He was consecrated a bishop at birth by his grandmother in the Solomon’s Temple, was preaching at age 7, a “frantic sermonizer” and “spellbinding in his delivery” and was soon nicknamed the “Boy Wonder Preacher.” He became a pastor of the congregation at age 12, appeared on radio station WDAS and later hosted a gospel show on WHAT-AM, mixing songs and sermons in broadcasts from Solomon’s Temple. On weekends he traveled with a truck and tent to Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas to carry on the spiritual crusade of his church. Influenced by Superman, “the first sign of a royal persona was evident in the cape that he wore only on Sundays, made from his ‘blankie’ by his grandmother.” You can’t make this stuff up.
By 2000, Burke’s Solomon’s Temple: The House of God for All People had over 300 ordained ministers to “feed the hungry and educate the uneducated,” and 40,000 parishioners in close to 200 churches across the USA, Canada, and Jamaica.
“The ample figure of Solomon Burke symbolized the ways that spirituality and commerce, ecstasy and entertainment, sex and salvation, individualism and brotherhood, could blend in the world of 1960s soul music.” (Brian Ward)
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 email@example.com