THE FIRST NOTEWORTHY COLUMN OF 2020!
Researched and written 12/24-26, so stuff may change, double check all you see here. Holiday printer’s schedule to blame. Back to normal next time.
Amazing. Even in probably the slimmest live performance week of the year — musicians just got triple time for ringing in the New Year, do they now want to drive across town for gas money? — there’s enough here to keep you smiling and glad you pushed yourself out the door.
Speaking of which, live music, the best shows you’ve ever been to, I’ve gotten some great responses from readers, so now’s a good time to share one of them with you.
Our own Michael Tarbet, venerable co-founder of SMRR in 1978 and still on the board (so obviously we don’t see eye to eye on a lot of things, but he’s always respectful of other opinions and I like that, and I honor his groundbreaking work here in the ‘70s on behalf of tenants), has been around the block, including the musical merry-go-round, and here’s how he responded:
“[Like you, Charles] I also went to see Dylan and The Band, but at the Forum. It was a late delayed show and we all sat around on our cars in the parking lot for what seemed like hours. But it was worth it.
“Another at the Forum: Joan Baez during the Viet Nam war. About a dozen concertgoers came up and burned their draft cards on stage. Joan was beautiful AND persuasive. But what a voice she had then! Maybe the best.
“I was around 5 when I went to my first concert with my mom. At UCLA, Pete Seeger. That was fun. Saw him again a few times, including at [Samohi’s] Barnum Hall.”
OK, that’s only three. My daughter demanded 10, not five. (And did she get that fudge? What do you think?) What were the best five concerts you ever saw and heard? Send to me at my email, always at the bottom of every column.
Next week I will introduce my new assistant, so much more musically hip than I. What other newspaper in LA gives you this stuff? I’m just sayin’.
MEHTA’S MAHLER, #2, “Resurrection” (we’ve been fortunate here to have a succession of conductors/music directors for our 100-year-old LA Phil who are considered among the very best, from Artur Rodziński and Otto Klemperer, Stravinsky and Schoenberg through to John Cage, but especially from 1961 on with Zubin Mehta taking over at only 25, then Carlo Maria Giulini, Andre Previn, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and now Gustavo Dudamel, only 27 when appointed, so to hear one of the most-loved return to tackle Mahler’s self-defining “Resurrection,” voted the fifth-greatest symphony of all time in a survey of conductors carried out by the BBC Music Magazine, is a special occasion and a treat on several levels), Fri, Sat 8 p.m., Sun 2 p.m., Walt Disney Concert Hall, DTLA, $76-$232.
BAD HABITS (haven’t seen it yet but when does the Ruskin Group do anything less than terrific and this is a family affair starring Orson Bean and wife Alley Mills of The Wonder Years and The Bold & the Beautiful, written by master Steve Mazur who gave us the unforgettable Sneaky Ole Time there, and it’s full of nuns, I just don’t think you can go wrong), Sun 2 p.m., Ruskin Group Theatre, SMO, $20-$35.
HOT CLUB OF LA (if Django was still alive he would sit in with these guys, and have to hustle to keep up, they really are good, they’re there at the tiny funky cool Cinema Bar every Monday night FOR YEARS now and there’s no cover so, such a deal… get going!), Mon 9 p.m., The Cinema Bar, Culver City, free.
SOUNDWAVES/Pianospheres: Richard Valitutto (the LA Times calls Richard a “vivid soloist…quietly dazzling…vigorously virtuosic,” with a program of his own work plus Messiaen, Poulenc, Sciarrino, Skyrabin, beginning the third year of collaboration with the Pianospheres series, our main library offers previews locally in the intimate MLK Jr. Auditorium, at no charge, of complete performances by the same professional musicians elsewhere that would cost you 40 bills, it is always challenging, engaging, creative music that you walk out afterwards thinking, why don’t I always come to these? am I crazy?), Tues 730 p.m., Main Library, DTSM, free.
BARBARA MORRISON (it’s the fabulous blues-jazz voice of Barbara Morrison, at another venue you might pay $20-40 but the comfy confines of Pips are her sometime home, take advantage), Tues 7 p.m., Pips on La Brea, LA, free.
THOM ROTELLA QUARTET (LA, lucky us, has always been crawling with great jazz musicians, giving nothing to New York or New Orleans, so when a revered name like Rotella comes around, with 11 solo albums to his credit, one of the most in-demand session musicians in LA while remaining an irreplaceable part of the thriving LA live jazz scene, even if you’ve never seen or heard him, like me, you should run over to the airport to correct that oversight, because his quartet this night is also stellar), Wed 8, 930 p.m., Sam First, LAX, $15-$20.
COMING ATTRACTIONS: MEHTA conducts WAGNER, SCHOENBERG, WEBERN 1/10, 11, 12, JASON ISBELL acoustic 1/10, LAURIE ANDERSON & CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE 1/21, BEETHOVEN with EMANUEL AX 1/24, 25, 26, Disney Hall, DTLA; BAD HABITS 1/10-26, Ruskin Group Theatre, SMO; PITTANCE CHAMBER MUSIC with LIV REDPATH, soprano 1/11, Pasadena Conservatory of Music; BARBARA MORRISON 1/14, 21, 28, Pip’s on La Brea; SOUNDWAVES: Daniel Rothman 1/15, SM Main Library; KT TUNSTALL 1/10, WAR 1/11, THE WAILERS 1/18, JOHN MAYALL 1/24, The Canyon Montclair; WAR 1/10, TOWER OF POWER 1/17, JOHN MAYALL 1/25, ENGLISH BEAT 1/31, The Rose, Pasadena; LIBRARY GIRL – Tribute to BILLIE HOLIDAY 1/12, Ruskin Group Theatre, SMO; JOACHIM COODER 1/12, DAVE ALVIN & FRIENDS: A Tribute to Chris Gaffney 1/18, ERIC ANDERSEN, SCARLET RIVERA, 1/25, McCabe’s, SM; LED ZEPAGAIN 1/17, Harvelle’s; STANLEY CLARKE BAND with LYRIS QUARTET 1/18, Broad Stage, SM; TOWER OF POWER 1/19, WAR 1/24, The Canyon Santa Clarita; JOHN MAYALL 1/23, The Canyon Agoura Hills; ROBBIE BURNS NIGHT, 1/25, The Daily Pint, SM; LA OPERA – EURYDICE 2/1-23, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, DTLA; PHAST PHREDDIE & THEE PRECISIONS Reunion! 2/1, Burbank somewhere; JACARANDA – PAX AMERICANA I & II, 2/2, First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica, DTSM; MAVIS STAPLES, 2/13, The Soraya, CSUN; NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALL STARS 2/13, Teragram Ballroom, DTLA.
BODACIOUS BIRTHDAYS: nobody. Of note. Roger Miller? “Dang Me”? Nah. I guess no one musically inclined screws around on April Fools Day.
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