I love stories of talented musicians persisting and finally making their mark. Especially when they’re local.
There’s a very talented jazz singer living here some 33 years, who I heard a few years before that, at The Palomino of all places, who had considerable success with a female vocal trio who toured Japan four times and had a five-year residency in the beautiful Observation Lounge of the Queen Mary in Long Beach and a year in Vegas at the just-opening NYNY.
But then voice over acting became more of a focus, more of a money maker, and her lifelong dream of recording an album of all her original songs began to fade. But never say never. Sometimes the universe seems to be waiting for all the right elements to come together. Recently they did, she assembled a killer band, her daughter sang “Blood Harmony” (that’s what it’s called, when it’s family, and the name of her album), the perfect pro studio and mixer appeared, and nearly 50 years after writing her first song she will be presenting her album with a live band performance at The Church in Ocean Park, Sun June 9, 3-6 p.m., refreshments served, CDs available.
Her professional name is Diane Michelle, but some just call her Mrs. Andrews. Hope you can come.
TONIGHT! and Fri, Sat — LA PHIL – EMANUEL AX (late Mozart, early Beethoven, with an Andriessen world premier thrown in, prime Ax, Esa Pekka-Salonen conducting, that’s all you need to know), Thurs-Sat, 8 p.m., Sun 2 p.m., Walt Disney Hall, DTLA, $20-$99.
PLACIDO DOMINGO in “El Gato Montés (The Wildcat)” (hooray, opera is back with bandits, bullfighters and a beauty, with some flamenco thrown in, straight from Madrid and with our legendary director, tenor Placido, veteran of more than 100 complete opera recordings and performing around the world in six languages, this time Spanish, taking the lead in one of his favorite and underperformed operas), Sat, Wed 7:30 p.m., Sun 2 p.m., also May 11, 16, 19, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, DTLA, $20-$367.
TYLER BLANTON TRIO (the local Jazz Bakery doesn’t seem to have anything scheduled for a while but how does a vibes, drums and bass trio sound to you, you only have to slide on over to LAX, two sets, modest cover, great room, solid bookings — take a chance), Fri 8 p.m., 9:30 p.m., Sam First, LAX, $20 + drink.
BeachLife Festival 2019 with WILLIE NELSON, BRIAN WILSON, ZIGGY MARLEY, GRACE POTTER, BOB WEIR & Wolf Bros, VIOLENT FEMMES, STEEL PULSE, Dawes, Blues Traveller, Pancho Sanchez, Chris Pierce, Manny Moore (I’m sure it will be a clusterfork but it’s nearby and a chance to see some of your faves out on the beach, surf’s up Brian!), Fri-Sat-Sun, 11 a.m., Redondo Beach, $97-$2500.
UNION STATION 80th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION (sounds like fun, such a cool, historic place to hang out anyway but now for two days there will be all sorts of exhibits, activities and live music, check the website for a schedule), Fri 1:30-7 p.m., Sat 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m., free.
FUR DIXON, Vicky & the Vengents, The Carvels NYC (I’m a Fur fan, not so much from her early punk days but that informs her current unique style of country-blues-rock, she’s just a damn good singer and storyteller, Cinco celebration with Leo’s BBQ!), Sun 3:30 p.m., Maui Sugar Mill Saloon, Tarzana, free but drink 2 drinks.
JOSHUA BELL, Jeremy Denk, Steven Isserlis (already renowned as a violinist, when they handed Bell the baton of the exquisite Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, founded by director-for-life Sir Neville Marriner, that was as good as white smoke from the Vatican chimney for me, here he reunites with old buds for their first U.S. tour ever, Mendelssohn, Shostokovich and Ravel trios, you don’t want to miss this), Wed 8 p.m., The Soraya, Northridge, $49-$109.
ART GARFUNKEL (the S&G high notes, and a few things since then), Saban Theatre, next Thurs, 7 p.m., The Saban, BH, $51-$104.
BODACIOUS BIRTHDAY: — LINK WRAY (1929) — so much to say. But one word says it all: “Rumble.” His 1958 hit radically changed the face and direction of a still-nascent rock and roll. It got down and dirty. It got dangerous. It was banned from radio, the only instrumental ever so honored in the U.S., and still sold a million copies. His record label owner, who originally passed on it (until his teenage daughter changed his mind), for whom he was making a name and a fortune, told him he’d have to clean up his act. So he left. And had limited success and was kicked to the side of the road when the British invasion came along. (Pretty ironic, since all those lads were greatly influenced by him.) He resurrected several times, like when his songs were featured in movies like “Pulp Fiction,” “Independence Day,” “Desperado.” Moved to Denmark and died there at 76. Dennis McLellan wrote a nice obit on him for the L.A. Times that included the story of how he got that rumble.
There is no disagreement among anyone who knows rock and roll, from some teen in Tangier to The Who’s Pete Townshend, who acknowledged, “if it hadn’t been for Link Wray and ‘Rumble,’ I would have never picked up a guitar.” Iggy Pop stated that he “left school emotionally” at the moment he first heard “Rumble” at the student union, leading him to pursue music as a career. It may sound at first unremarkable to 21st Century ears listening casually, but music giants genuflect at the sound and books have been written and movies made.
The best movie is “Rumble: the Indians Who Rocked the World” (2017), being shown this year on PBS. American Indians in rock and roll? OK, you knew Buffy Sainte-Marie, folk, really — the buffalo song was a clue, right? You may not even have known Link Wray was a Shawnee, hidden from the marauding Klan as a child in North Carolina. But what about blues progenitor Charley Patton, The Band’s Robbie Robertson, Tony Bennett’s favorite singer Mildred Bailey, Jesse Ed Davis (not very famous but a very highly respected modern guitar player), Rhiannon Giddens, John Trudell, Redbone, Xit, Randy Castillo, and don’t forget Jimi’s Native American grandma. All featured in the film. (Jimi, not his grandma.)
But the best explanation I will leave to Jimmy Page, Led Zep musicologist and also guitar player, in a clip from my favorite rock and roll movie of all time, “It Might Get Loud.” Watch as he flips through part of his collection of singles, comes to his London Records pressing of “Rumble,” carefully drops it on his very expensive turntable in the middle of a large room lined with shelves of vinyl, cranks up the volume, steps back and strokes his chin, and just can’t keep from smiling, grinning, finally laughing out loud in delight as though he were hearing it for the first time. That, my friends, is rock and roll.
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