Tough decisions this weekend. Too many incredible offerings. No, wait – there can never be too many. This is exactly why I moved here 40 years ago and I’ve never once thought, “Oh gosh, what’s there to do?”
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (yes, I needed a special category for this one):
Tribute Concert for AIRTO — Actually, the full title is “A Tribute Concert for the great Airto Moreira,” and he is: who has their own radio show as a pre-teen, meets and marries the great vocalist Flora Purim, moves to New York and moves from Miles Davis’ legendary “Bitches Brew” band to co-founding the all-star Weather Report to Chick Corea’s superb Return to Forever band? That’s barely the beginning; look him up. But the phenomenal Brazilian percussionist has encountered devastating health problems including loss of hearing and vision, and this is a benefit for him. This will likely be amazing, based on the inspiration, and the line-up, pretty much a jazz hall of fame: the legendary (Santa Monica) drummer PETER ERSKINE, ALEX ACUÑA, BYRON MILLER, LUCIANA SOUZA, PATRICE RUSHEN, PETE ESCOVEDO, JUSTO ALMARIO, JOSEF LEIMBERG, “and more!” and it’s apparently hosted by Cheech & Chong. I don’t know how this wound up at the hip Lodge Room in Highland Park but it is right in line with their stated mission for music and the arts and community. This could be the show of the year, and I’ll bet you would never have known about it unless you were a very smart music hunter who knows NOTEWORTHY takes care of you. Tuesday, 7 p.m., The Lodge, Highland Park, $30.
THE HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES — Breakneck, virtuosic 1930s Django-style swing music in the cozy Culver City dive (almost 75 years old) with live music almost every night and never a cover charge. It’s gigs like this that make putting up with the bad side of Santa Monica worth it. Monday, 9 p.m., Cinema Bar, Culver City, no cover.
EM – She’s still amazing. But nothing good lasts forever, you know. Don’t push your luck. So why not go this Tuesday night? Betcha you’ll thank me. Tuesday, 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $10.
LA OPERA, “OMAR” — I’m so excited about this but I have run out of time to say anything more at this moment, except that it is a new opera with words by the remarkable multi-instrumentalist vocalist musicologist Rhiannon Giddens, of the life of an enslaved Muslim scholar, the only biographical account recorded in Arabic. Don’t miss. (And Giddens will be performing Nov. 12 at Disney Hall.) Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, LA, $ 18-199.
GEORGE KAHN Jazz & Blues Revue – I’ll tell you right now, I’m not going to this show. Because I’ve known the musical Kahn family for decades, kids went to school together, daughter Nicole sang in Diana Zaslove Kahn’s choral group at SMC, son Evan is a superb cellist playing professionally, and I have been fortunate enough to attend many home concerts with George at the ivories. Let’s put it this way for the rest of you: Catalina’s does not book no scrub acts. Khan will lead a sextet with horns backed by three great singers. Sunday, 7:30 p.m., Catalina Jazz Club, Hollywood, $30.
“SHADES OF DJANGO”– nope, haven’t seen this band, Pepperdine, like The Broad and some others, have a lot of good or great acts that are one-offs, in town for one show, so no opportunity to have seen them before or on the first night of a longer run. But – I have always loved the music of Belgium-born gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt (1910-1953), and chances are this touring combo will do him justice, especially since it is led by superb French guitarist Stephane Wremble. Sunday, 7 p.m., Pepperdine Smothers Theater, Malibu, $30-65.
TOLEDO DIAMOND — The true hipster (when that sobriquet meant something way cool), choreographer to the stars, smoky Svengali, showman supreme. Toledo and his unquestionably unique show always please, if you are ready for the very different. Every Sunday, 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $12.
GERALD CLAYTON & Friends — Yes, I still think Gerald Clayton is a treasure everyone should experience, one of the very best pianists on the planet who seems to often connect directly with the creative source that flows exquisitely through his fingers. And I will still tell you that Sam First, an intimate jazz club near LAX that Clayton favors, is a near-perfect setting for this music. So, why am I not giving it a “HIGHLY RECOMMENDED?” This evening is further titled, “: Jam Session, hosted by Gerald Clayton,” and in previous columns, I added “(??)” because I personally have found their information to be a bit confusing and not completely reliable. They do this every Tuesday evening, an opening set and then a follow-up two-hour jam session. If Clayton is leading it, it’s probably terrific, but never having seen it, I can’t personally recommend it, and that’s exactly what this column is: personal recommendations I will stand behind. Clayton alone or with a duo or trio, where he will be featured, I can recommend every time. They went some weeks here when Clayton did not lead the band; now they do add “hosted by.” So, as I recommended last week in most situations, call the club and verify before you plan your evening, buy the ticket and drive across town. If you do go, let me know what you thought. Tuesday, 7 p.m. set ($25), 9 p.m. jam session ($15), Sam First, LAX.
COMING ATTRACTIONS: TOLEDO DIAMOND, Harvelle’s, 10/30, 11/6, 13, 20, 27; HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES, Cinema Bar, 10/31, 11/7, 14, 21, 28; EM, Harvelle’s, 10/25, 11/1, 8, 15, 22, 29; LA OPERA, “OMAR,” Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 10/30, 11/2. 5. 9, 13; DANNY ELFMAN Halloween Shows, Hollywood Bowl, 10/28, 29; SOWETO GOSPEL CHOIR, The Soraya, 10/29; RICK SHEA, TONY GILKYSON, CINDY BERRYHILL Songwriters Showcase, McCabe’s, 10/30; CHAKA KHAN, Disney Hall, 10/30; HERWAY TO HELL, Harvelle’s, 10/31; THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI with organ, Disney Hall, 10/31; B-52s, Youtube Theater, 11/4; PONCHO SANCHEZ, Canyon Santa Clarita, 11/4; JEFF BECK, Orpheum Theater, 11/6 (also Thousand Oaks, Anaheim, Temecula); LYLE LOVETT, JOHN HIATT, The Soraya, 11/9; BRET MCKENZIE, Theatre at Ace Hotel, 11/11; RHIANNON GIDDENS, Disney Hall, 11/12; ALBERT LEE, McCabe’s, 11/12; NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON, Saban Theatre, 11/13; ELTON JOHN, Dodger Stadium, 11/17, 19, 20.
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 email@example.com