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I don’t usually mention a show this far in advance, but dearly beloved and uniquely, monstrously talented WILLIE NELSON will be celebrating his 90th birthday at the Hollywood Bowl April 29, 30, with a few friends. Here’s a partial list:

Beck, Bob Weir, Chris Stapleton, Edie Brickell, Kacey Musgraves, Leon Bridges. Lukas Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Margo Price, Miranda Lambert, Nathaniel Rateliff, Neil Young, Norah Jones, Rosanne Cash, Sheryl Crow, Snoop Dogg, Sturgill Simpson, The Avett Brothers. The Chicks, The Lumineers, Tom Jones, Warren Haynes, Ziggy Marley, with more to be announced.


AX – MA – KAVAKOS– Picasso-Dali-Basquiat, Brando-Bogart-Poitier, Buddha-Jesus-Mohammed, Tinkers to Evers to Chance. We all have fun weighing in on our choices for the GOAT, Greatest Of All Time, in every field of endeavor imaginable. It’s completely subjective, of course, but there is a top tier in everything that most aficionados can agree on. When it comes to chamber music, pianist Emmanuel Ax, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Leonidas Kavakos are unquestionably the cat’s pajamas. And with an all-Beethoven program? Well, I’m not the only one who considers this highly recommended because it is sold out. It wasn’t when I first listed it in COMING ATTRACTIONS – you have got to jump on performances like this right away, or you will sit home a lot, weeping. But you know the drill: go, check the box office for last minute cancellations, and look pathetic and a little desperate as you cajole those smart people who already have tickets and maybe one to spare. Sat 2 p.m., Walt Disney Concert Hall, LA, $-good luck. 

THE HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES – It’s just outside Santa Monica, street parking is easy, it’s a friendly little neighborhood bar where you can see and hear everywhere in the tiny room, the sound is great, the stage is maybe a foot high and right next to the patrons, drinks are reasonable and there is no cover. Hot Club’s brand of virtuoso, breakneck Django-style 1930s gypsy swing jazz is found nowhere else and even if it was, it couldn’t possibly be this good. It’s a show worth 50 bucks cover, and worth waiting a year for. These guys are masters, individually and collectively. You will find it hard to stop smiling all night. Mon 9 p.m., Cinema Bar, Culver City, no cover.

EM – She’s back! One of the most gifted and dynamic entertainers you will ever see. Really! Go see her and then tell me I’m lyin’. After a little break she might even be over the top with energy and new creativity, so, now’s the time! Tues 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, $12. 


TOLEDO DIAMOND – Unique, riveting, first class act. Just trot your procrastinating carcass down this Sunday night and see what you’ve been missing. Choreographer to the biggest stars, his stage show is funky but finely crafted. His persona is unique; octaves-low growl vocalizing that is ‘50s hipster poet meshed with ghetto cool. His band just keeps getting better and are worth the show themselves. And The Dames? – well I remember back when he was on Sunset Strip that we were still taken by surprise when a young woman seemed so moved by the moment that she slid to the dance floor to gyrate to the groove, progressing (by Diamond design of course) to a featured dance number, even incorporating chairs, table and bar tops, and unsuspecting patrons as props. With Toledo barely noticing and never skipping a beat. There’s nothing like it, it is high performance art and great fun, and he’s been doing it at Harvelle’s every dang Sunday night for more than two decades, no misses, even when he had to fly back from making a film in France. Rarely is degeneracy so well disciplined. Sun 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $12.

EMMANUEL AX – With a name like that he should have picked up an electric guitar when he was a kid, and he probably would have been great, but lucky for us he wound up on the black and whites because the world does not need another guitar slinger, and Emmanuel Ax has shown through a long career that he is a uniquely skilled, sensitive and warm pianist, among the very best that we have. He will perform Schubert and Liszt. I have had the privilege of seeing him a couple of times, and you should not miss this opportunity. Such gifts are not with us forever. Life doesn’t often present second chances so if you missed him in trio last Saturday, well, here you go. Wed 8 p.m.,Walt Disney Concert Hall, LA, $64-221.

COMING ATTRACTIONS: SOCAL MUSEUMS ANNUAL FREE-FOR-ALL, many locations, 2/5; TOLEDO DIAMOND, Harvelle’s, 2/5, 12, 19, 26; HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES, Cinema Bar, 2/6, 13, 20, 27; EM, Harvelle’s, 2/7, 14, 28; P-22 CELEBRATION OF LIFE, Greek Theater, 2/4; MOZART’S “THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO,” LA OPERA, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 2/4, 6, 11, 16, 19, 23, 26; RICK SHEA, Cinema Bar, 2/10; DAREK OLESZKIEWICZ BD CELEBRATION, Sam First, 2/10, 11; “RACHMANINOFF WAS HERE: Beverly Hills Avant-Garde, Surrealism to Sunset Strip,” BH Womens’ Club, 2/11; “RACHMANINOFF WAS HERE: at the Greystone Mansion & Gardens,” 2/11; DAMN WELL PLEASE ORGAN TRIO, Harvelle’s, 2/21; CHRIS PIERCE, Hotel Cafe, 2/25.

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 37 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at