GERALD CLAYTON & Friends – Here are some things I might tell you: born in Utrecht, Netherlands but raised in LA in a royal musical family (Clayton Brothers Quintet, renowned bassist father’s Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra), attended LACHSA and earned the 2002 Presidential Scholar of the Arts Award, studied at USC /Thornton under Billy Childs, after a year in New York with Kenny Barron, placed second in the prestigious Thelonious Monk Jazz Piano competition in ‘06 (God took first but is no longer allowed to enter), received a GRAMMY nomination for his debut album, and three more for his next two albums, continues as Musical Director of the Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour, recorded with Diana Krall, Roy Hargrove, Dianne Reeves, John Scofield, and has been associated nearly a decade with sax legend Charles Lloyd. But all you really need to know you will discover after just a few minutes of his virtuosic but sublime, fully engaged explorations of art and life, on the piano keys. He is immersed in his performance, and it is transcendent. Fri, Sat 7:30, 9 p.m., Sam First, LAX, $25.
LA OPERA presents BACH’S ST. MATTHEW PASSION – Oh boy, oh boy, it’s been months since LA Opera’s last great production, classic Rossini riffs in “Cinderella” (like you’d never seen her), and then there was heavy Wagner in “Tannhauser” before that, how can they top that, well, possibly with the Bach opera that many consider one of the finest pieces of sacred music in the Western world, and with the Hamburg Ballet on stage as well. Sat, Thurs 7:30 p.m., Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, LA, $23-292.
SOUTHSIDE SLIM – Thank you, Harvelle’s, for once again making available, right here in downtown SM, a bluesman of rare talent and energy (and he is no kid!). Slim absolutely tore it up there recently, with his jaw-dropping guitar work and killer band pushing a mix of soulful blues both slow and frantic, jazz, funk, Latin, soul and R&B, and a guest vocalist who filled the dance floor. Sat 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $10.
JOHN NEMETH – I almost missed this listing! Shame on me, because you shouldn’t miss one of the best bluesmen around, and he’s not even 80. But it seems like I “discovered” Nemeth so long ago, through some musician friend’s A+ recommendation, either Wes Starr (TX) or Steve Mugalian (SM). (Hmmm – both are drummers.) He might just be both the finest blues shouter AND harp blower, and that is saying something. Mon 8 p.m., Maui Sugar Mill Saloon, Tarzana, $20.
EM the MASTER –Every Tuesday night, witness the magic of Em. I’ve been giving EM’s show a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for months now and still do. She sings, dances, has dancers. She crawls across the floor like a reptile, gripping the mic and never missing a beat. She doesn’t play the piano, she attacks it. Uses her voice as an instrument in creative ways. Her energy is nonstop and seemingly limitless. Writes terrific songs perfect for her act. More talent than anyone has a right to. Every Tues 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $10..
TONIGHT! – HAMILTON — Still with us, but only two more weeks. Tonight – Thurs, Fri, Sat, Tues, Wed, next Thurs 8 p.m., Sun 1 p.m., 6:30 p.m., also Sat 2 p.m., Pantages Theater, Hollywood, $49-3000+, depending on date/time.
JANIS IAN – Finally she’s here! After being booked months ago under pandemic restrictions. Her End of the Line tour. She will probably have a lot to say. But it is months ago sold out, so bring a bunch of Benjamins and see if someone in line is more a fan of him than her. Fri, Sat 8 p.m, $40, Master Class Sun 12N (did you Spring your clocks forward?), $50, McCabe’s, Santa Monica.
SOUNDS OF LA with SALAR NADER – This is part two of the Getty’s revitalized short series of monthly world music concerts, and if the first one, led by Nobuko Miyamoto was any indication y’all should definitely catch the last two. This features tabla master Nader, musically celebrating the Afghani New Year (Nawrooz), with a rare lineup of fellow Middle Eastern virtuosi, Homayoun Sakhi (rhubâb), Chetram Sahni (dhol), with Hangama Zohra and Shamali Afghan (vocals). Sat 7 p.m., Sun 4 p.m. (did you Spring your clocks forward?), Getty Center, Brentwood, free with reservations, $15-20 parking.
LIBRARY GIRL presents “I’M GONNA FIND ME A RESTLESS WOMAN,” Redux reading of play “TENT SHOW” – This should be great, an insight into the poet/writer SUSAN HAYDEN who created this series but usually gives the spotlight to the work of others. She put aside this play after its performance in Hollywood 30 years ago, spoke to me about four years ago about wanting to resurrect it, and here ‘tis! With the original lead actress, O-Lan Jones! A lesson for artists of all stripes – don’t abandon those old ideas you always thought had merit, they may be gold someday. Sun 7 p.m. (did you Spring your clocks forward?), Ruskin Group Theatre, Santa Monica Airport, $20 (includes, I can testify, really yummy, cooked before you tacos and gorditas, plus, always, desert, 6 p/m.)
MIDORI – You’ve never caught her, in 35 years? Her “accuracy of pitch, clarity of tone, and rhythmic care” (LA Times)? Me neither, but I intend to now, a sure bet. Mozart, Schumann, Bach, Skalkottas, Brahms, with piano accompaniment, by Özgür Aydin. Wed 8 p.m. (did you Spring your clocks forward?),Walt Disney Concert Hall, LA, $64-123.
TOLEDO DIAMOND — Have you gone to catch his unique show yet, every Sunday night at Harvelle’s, here in SM? I’ve been recommending him for… decades. Choreographer to the biggest stars, smoky-voiced hep cat, creator of a unique floor show, with his dames, circus hoops, and a band that is truly a knockout. Trust me. You’ve never seen anything like Toledo. You will not forget this show and likely you will be back, friends in tow. Sun 9:30 p.m. (did you Spring your clocks forward?), Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $12.
DANIEL ROTEM & “Wise One”: Celebrating the Music of JOHN COLTRANE – Going out on a limb a little on this one because I’m not familiar with this ensemble, and only with two of the four players, but, those two are gold, BILLY CHILDS on piano and DAREK OLES on standup bass, and they are playing the music of COLTRANE so, worth a gamble. Wed 7:30, 9 p.m., Sam First, LAX, $25.
COMING ATTRACTIONS: HILLARY HAHN, Walt Disney Concert Hall, 3/18, 19, 20; DAVID HIDALGO, RICK HOLMSTROM BAND, McCabe’s, 3/20; LA OPERA presents BACH’S ST. MATTHEW PASSION, 3/20, 23, 26, 27; IOLANTA, PACIFIC OPERA PROJECT, 3/20, 26, 27; LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III, McCabe’s, 3/21. 22; FREDA PAYNE, Vibrato, 3/24; LA PHIL plays MAHLER 7th, Walt Disney Concert Hall, 3/24. 26, 27; PETE ESCOVEDO, Vibrato, 3/30; JAVIER CAMARENA, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 3/31, 4/2; LA PHIL with ZUBIN MEHTA, MOZART’S GREAT MASS, Walt Disney Concert Hall, 3/31, 4/1, 2, 3; TOM RUSH, McCabe’s, 4/6; ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 4/6; ELIZA GILKYSON with NINA GERBER, McCabe’s, 4/8.
Charles Andrews has listened to a lot of music of all kinds, including more than 3,000 live shows. He has lived in Santa Monica for 36 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at firstname.lastname@example.org