Life is short, mostly you don’t get a second chance — don’t miss these.
PETER ERSKINE, premier jazz drummer presents Daniel Szabo’s “Visionary” (oh the pain, to have to miss this one, just because my wife’s mother is throwing her 90th birthday party and people are coming from all over, happy birthday Marie! she’s a treasure but if it wasn’t in San Pedro I would sneak away because this one sounds landmark, I’ve never seen Erskine make a misstep yet and this is something obviously… visionary, chamber music informs jazz, with 1st and 2nd violins, viola, cello, oboe, English horn, bassoon, flute, tenor, alto and soprano saxes, clarinet and bass clarinets, Erskine says, “The kaleidoscopic breadth of Szabo’s repertoire celebrates a blend of jazz, classical and film music idioms, robustly American yet genetically Hungarian, this is the sweetest fusion music I’ve played!” — yikes!), Sat 8 p.m., Jazz Bakery, Moss Theater, SM, $25-$35.
PACIFIC OPERA PROJECT – Verdi’s MADAMA BUTTERFLY (boosted to HIGHLY RECOMMENDED now that I’ve seen it, exceptionally good in every way, and this is a “new” opera company started in 2011, right here in SM at the Miles Playhouse with a little known Leonard Bernstein opera with a cast of five and a piano, they’ve set classic operas in modern LA, staged outdoors, did “Cosi Fan Tutte” in “Gone with the Wind” style, performed “La Boheme AKA The Hipsters” with only four rehearsals only a week after an elaborate production of “Sweeney Todd,” in the beginning the idea was POP-Ups, putting together an entire costumed, orchestrated, well-sung opera with only a few rehearsals in a couple of weeks, performing in unusual venues like Forest Lawn and the South Pasadena Library, and in seven years they have gotten a lot of critical praise and quite a following, this one is at the beautiful Aratani Theater in the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center and the beloved “Butterfly” will be presented, for the first time ever bilingually, with Japanese and Japanese-American artists singing their parts in Japanese alongside the English roles, no Italian, with translations of both), Sat, Sun 7 p.m., Aratani Theatre, Little Tokyo, $15-$75.
TODAY! — NIPSEY HUSSLE’s Celebration of Life Memorial (at 21,000 capacity Staples Center, no names announced but you know EVERYone will be there, tickets online, have to show a CA zip code, only four tix per order, it “sold out” in 20 mins, why oh why do the good guys, our role models have to be taken with such sad regularity, even for the most insignificant reasons, by every account rapper Hussle, of Eritrean descent, was a beacon to his community and now another light is snuffed, I’ve long thought that JFK’s assassination in ‘63, followed by MLK Jr. and RFK in ‘68, was a cosmic shift for the USA, the beginning of a downward spiral), Thurs 10 a.m., Staples Center, free.
LA PHIL – SALONEN, various Stravinskys, Fri, Sat 8 p.m., Sun 2 p.m., next Thurs, Sat 8 p.m., Fri 11 a.m., Disney Hall, DTLA, $55-$194.
It’s the COACHELLA!!! Valley Music & Arts Festival – JANELLE MONAE, KACEY MUSGRAVES, CHILDISH GAMBINO, BILLIE EILISH, TAME IMPALA, TY SEGALL, KHALID, UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA, WEEZER, this year’s Beyonce, cough cough, Ariana Grande, and a couple more (not everyone feels that way !!! but the talent, like the prices, are sky high), Fri, Sat, Sun and F-S-S 4/19-21, all day and all night, Empire Polo Club, Coachella Valley Preserve, twixt Palm Springs and Indio, $429 and up, way up.
RICK SHEA (you know by now — I’m not going to keep explaining why you should go see this CA country legend-in-the-making, just go and the next time he pops up on the Westside you will drag your friends to hear him), Sat 8 p.m., Boulevard Music, Culver City, $20.
Laemmle Live presents cellist ARMEN KSAJIKIAN with host RICH CAPPARELA,
Sun 11 a.m., Laemmle Monica Film Center, DTSM, free.
SANTA MONICA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Spring Concert (never miss these, silly, since 1945, now a noteworthy orchestra, at Samohi’s Barnum Hall with outstanding acoustics, always free, Conductor/Music Director Guido Lamell, featuring violin soloist Roberto Cani, Capparela again with free lecture at 6 then Stravinsky: “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Lecuona: “Malaguena,” Rózsa: “Spellbound Concerto for Orchestra,” Waxman: “Carmen Fantasy,” Rachmaninov: “Symphonic Dances”), Sun 7 p.m., Barnum Hall, SM, fre
MELISSA ETHERIDGE (at The Troubadour?! yeah, pay the price!), Wed 7 p.m., The Troubadour, West Hwd, $44-$244.
LIBRARY GIRL (that time of the month again, our SM spoken word extravaganza, the 10th year of LG presents the provocatively themed “Kiss Me, You Criminal! A Night of Library Noir” with Tony Abatemarco, Rick Bursky, Tanya Ko Hong, Darrell Larson, Suzanne Lummis, Dale Raoul, Erika Schickel, Annette Zilinskas, music by Mason Summit). Sun 7 p.m., Ruskin Group Theatre, SM Airport, $12, includes dessert!
COMING ATTRACTIONS: CHRISTIAN McBRIDE BIG BAND, The Soraya, Northridge, Apr. 26; LA CHAMBER ORCHESTRA – MOZART’s REQUIEM, Apr. 27, Alex Theatre, Glendale, Royce Hall, UCLA, Apr. 28; The Spring Quartet with ESPERANZA SPALDING, JACK DEJOHNETTE, JOE LOVANO, LEO GENOVESE, John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, Hollywood, Apr. 27; RED HEN PRESS: The Figure of Orpheus in Poetry and Performance, Broad Stage, SM, Apr. 28.
BAND NAMES OF THE WEEK: — wha? Never seen close to this many good ones in one week… The Hillbilly Moon Explosion, Tyrone’s Jacket, Drug Dealer, Merlot Embargo. Pink Furs, Actual Wolf, Childish Gambino, King Princess, No Parents, Cowboy Mouth, Yawning Man, Weezer, Very Be Careful, Thirsty Crows, Hot Sink, Prettiest Eyes, Live Nude, Meatbodies, The Chonks, Insulin Reaction, Cinnamon Roll Gang, Love Weapon, Sourdough Slim, Four Tet, I See Hawks in L.A., Tame Impala, Deep Dish, Vaud & the Villains, Ritual Howls, Meteor Anniversary, Kill Birds, Shirley Shirley Shirley, Chasing Desolation, Pistol Beauty, Help the Doctor, Selectric, Egg Drop Soup, Adult Beverage, Buffalo Bones, Barrio Funky, Coma Girls, Toys That Kill, Melted, Cat Scan, Karma Dealers, Soccer Mommy, Bad Bunny, Sofi Tukker, All Your Sisters, The Bonedaddys, Urethra, Hell Is Other People, Strawberry Army, Forced Identity, Low Hum, Women Tied to Railroad Tracks, Intestinehead, Melted Bodies, Ex Architects, Hop Along, Lasers Lasers Birmingham, Fade Up Fade Out Bye Bye, Tramp for the Lord, The Letter Openers, Bobby Blunders.
BODACIOUS BIRTHDAY: CLARENCE “GATEMOUTH” BROWN (1924) — When I was in New Orleans years ago with a group of friends for the famous and fabulous Jazz & Heritage Festival, I think ‘96, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown was in the lineup but we skipped him — so many stages and tents, so much music — because we knew we could catch him at one of the memorable not-on-Bourbon-Street clubs that evening, and we did. I didn’t know much more than the name then, so I was a bit surprised to walk in and see this dude in full Western regalia, 10- or 12-gallon hat, leather pants, pointy-toe exotic skin boots. I came for the blues; was I going to get the bad country music I fled my native NM for?
I quickly learned that Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown was a dedicated synthesist, born in LA but raised in TX, breaking down musical barriers and prejudices, masterfully mixing old blues, TX blues, country blues, jazz, rock and roll, cajun, folk, R&B. His outfit kind of prepared you for it. And whatever he played and sang, in that sweaty club with a 12” stage, c’mon up y’all! — you just about had to dance to it. During a break we discovered he was totally accessible and totally cool.
The outside gigs are the treasures at Jazz & Heritage. We barely squeezed in to a restaurant where Neville Brother Aaron was singing like an angel and leading his big gospel group, and a tip from a po’ boy sandwich maker at a famous dive led us, run run run, to the last tickets for a full Neville Brothers show that night at Tipitina’s, more than a dozen Nevilles on stage, not starting until after midnight but going till 3 a.m. Seated in the rafters — good seats — we could look across the way and see a procession of folks lining up to pay tribute to Aaron, like grateful peasants kissing the good king’s ring.
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