Ella Fitzgerald

Sometimes I wish I could write about every great show I’m privileged to experience. So many. Sonny Green winning over a hardcore blues crowd in the valley, far from his Inglewood digs. The crazy and wonderful violin plus analog electronics concert at the Main Library here. The incredible lineup of some of the best jazz pianists on the planet, paying tribute to the incomparable Oscar Peterson at Disney Hall, or anything there batoned by our treasure Dudamel.

But, I did spend about 45 years doing that and now I’m really happy to just sit or stand there and take it all in, add it to the memory banks and not try to take notes go home and prop toothpicks in my eyelids and down strong coffee and come up with something for the ages. This format of using my knowledge and experience of all that time to try to guide you to the best shows in the coming week, that you might otherwise miss, is good for me and I hope it works for you. Keeping in mind that I do miss a lot, I’m not up on everything new, but I do have some pretty good expert advisors.


TONIGHT! — DWIGHT YOAKAM (boy things have changed since I first saw Dwight for free at The Palomino in the early-’80s and he would scream at his band or the sound guy if things weren’t just dwight, now he’s got 25M albums sold, 12 gold and 9 platinum, five No. 1s on the Country charts and 14  others in the top 10, 21 Grammy noms and lotsa wins, blah blah blah but the important thing is, this Kentucky native was a large force in focusing country music away from slick Nashville and back to CA), next Thurs 8 P.M., The Roxy, West Hollywood, $100.

CHRISTIAN McBRIDE BIG BAND (jazz produces many more legends on horns, keyboards, drums, but none tower more than its greatest bassist and McBride is surely one for the ages, I saw him ages ago at SMC when he was just a kid and he blew me away then, has become quite devoted to educating young players too), Fri 8 p.m., The Soraya, Northridge, $34-$86.   

LA PHILHARMONIC with ESA-PEKKA SALONEN (thank goodness our former brilliant maestro remembers where we are and returns, usually to spectacular results, and this time he tries to dig up something new in Respighi’s poplar “Pines of Rome,” with some Debussy, Ravel and modern Donatoni thrown in), Fri, Sat 8 p.m., Sun 2 p.m., Walt Disney Concert Hall, DTLA, $57-$196.

PHOTOVILLE LA (is the Annenberg Space for Photography celebrating 10 years in a big way, promising a full makeover for Century City as they spill out into the park adjacent to the Photo Space to create “a spectacular village full of remarkable art with banners, light cubes, concessions and a full slate of exhibitions, talks, workshops and programming”), check for times each day, Fri-Sun, next Thurs-Sun, The Photo Space, Century City, free but talks, workshops require online RSVP.

LA CHAMBER ORCHESTRA – MOZART’s REQUIEM (conductor-designate Jaime Martín takes his historic first bow with Wolfgang’s amazing “Requiem,” also Bryce Dessner’s West Coast premier of “Voy a Dormir”), Sat 8 p.m., Alex Theatre, Glendale, $31-$143; Sun 7 p.m., Royce Hall, UCLA, $28-$130.

The Spring Quartet with ESPERANZA SPALDING, JACK DEJOHNETTE, JOE LOVANO, LEO GENOVESE (great quartet and Spalding, with 12 albums and four Grammys at 31, a prodigy who was playing violin professionally at 5, has become a leading, innovative jazz bassist, composer, vocalist and bandleader always pushing the boundaries strongly and creatively, worth it just to see her), Sat 8 p.m., John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, Hollywood, $35-$70.

RED HEN PRESS: The Figure of Orpheus in Poetry and Performance (so ya really like your Orpheus, hm, how about getting it in spoken word, film and music, you can do that here with a nationally all-star lineup of poets delivering contemporary Orphic odes, appropriate film clips from Marcel Camus’s “Black Orpheus” and pianist Paul Barnes’s amazing transcription for solo piano of “The Orphée Suite for Piano” from Philip Glass’s opera “Orphée,” if the trees and rocks aren’t dancing by the end of this, they must not have ears), Sun 2 p.m., Broad Stage, SM, $35.

Members of the LA PHIL (chamber music for strings, rarely heard masterpieces by Hindemith, Haydn and Schoenberg, and DON’T FORGET the complimentary wine tasting and mixer beforehand, see if you can get that cellist unstrung), Tues, 8 p.m., Walt Disney Concert Hall, DTLA, $20-$60.

COMING ATTRACTIONS: LA PHIL-EMANUEL AX plays Mozart, Disney Hall, LA, May 2-5;  BeachLife Festival 2019 with WILLIE NELSON, BRIAN WILSON, BOB WEIR & Wolf Bros, ZIGGY MARLEY, GRACE POTTER, VIOLENT FEMMES, STEEL PULSE, Dawes, Blues Traveller, Pancho Sanchez, Chris Pierce, Manny Moore, Redondo Beach, May 3-5; PLACIDO DOMINGO in “El Gato Montés,” Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, LA, May 4, 5, 8, 11, 16, 19: ART GARFUNKEL, Saban Theatre, May 9; THE SMITHEREENS, MARSHALL CRENSHAW, Huntington State Beach, May 11; FLORENCE & THE MACHINE, Santa Barbara Bowl, May 12, 13; PLACIDO DOMINGO, soprano Ailyn Perez with orchestra, The Broad Stage, Santa Monica, May 14.

BAND NAMES OF THE WEEK: Bikini Kill, Ex Hex, Feels, Pretty Awkward, Harm’s Way, Moisture Boys, Egrets on Ergot, The Letter Openers, Snails, Slugs, Slutty Lungs, Henry Nowhere, Boy Harsher, Good Kid, Suzie True, House of Broken Promises, Raised on TV, Cruel Reflections, Garage Life, No Suits, F*** U Pay Us, Fancy Space People, Space Yacht, Space Jesus, Pinky Pinky, Grateful Shred, Sh*t Givers, The Flying Fantastic Aquarium Drunkard Circus Show, Ski Mask The Slump God, Hammered, Camelphat, Flock of Dimes, Epic Beard Men, Sage Francis, Maggot Heart, Confidence Man, Alice Bag, Half the Animal, Friendly Bear, Yip Yops.

BODACIOUS BIRTHDAY: —  ELLA FITZGERALD (1917) — the First Lady of Song, the Queen of Jazz. In the Pantheon. Beyond legend, a Goddess. Purity of tone, impeccable diction, genius phrasing without a shrug, perfect intonation, and a horn-like improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing. She smiles sweetly and opens her mouth and without any seeming effort spills forth such inspired jazz vocals that everyone else throws in the towel. Sinatra adored her, Duke, and Louie too. And the ethereal Billie. As a teen vocalist for the very popular Chick Webb Orchestra, mostly at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, she stepped in as bandleader too when ill health felled him. Just go listen.

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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