TONIGHT! – LA PHIL, MEHTA CONDUCTS MAHLER 3 – Now that we know Gustavo Dudamel will be leaving us for New York in 2025, we’d better start appreciating the other baton masters who grace our podium. This one we know so well. Our Conductor Emeritus Zubin Mehta was conductor and music director here from ‘62 – ‘78, before likewise taking pity on the NY Phil and moving there to save their chops. He did such a good job they kept him 13 years, longer than any other conductor. He is considered one of the foremost Mahler interpreters so this should be a treat. It’s the towering third symphony of the troubled Austrian genius Gustav Mahler, which Mehta considers an attempt to express “the entire world,” from the voices of alpine flowers to forest animals and humankind, to the angels. The incredible last movement goes even further: it is Love itself. With the Women of the LA Master Chorale and the LA Children’s Chorus. Thurs, Sat 8 p.m., Fri 11 a.m., Sun 2 p.m., Walt Disney Concert Hall, LA, $72-269.
LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO – I don’t have to tell you who these cats are, right? They’ve been making beautiful harmonies with uplifting messages for 60 years, but of course shot to worldwide prominence when Paul Simon used them on his mega-selling “Graceland” album in 1986. After 70 albums and five Grammys, they are considered South Africa’s cultural ambassadors to the planet. Interesting footnote: the reggae expert mentioned doing the tours of the Bob Marley Experience listed here, loves to tell the story of when he had a chat with Simon and thrust a CD into his hands with the supplication, “PLEASE listen to this!” That was before “Graceland” and the rest is history. (I have known Steffens for years and he does not tell no lies when it comes to music and culture.) Fri 8 p.m., Walt Disney Concert Hall, LA, $45-116.
SONNY LANDRETH, CINDY CASHDOLLAR – Years ago I was excited and incredulous that one of my very favorite slide guitar players, he’s just a monster, whom I had wanted to catch for years was, hard to believe, scheduled for an afternoon gig in a nondescript tiny coffee shop in the Third Street Promenade. I rushed over only to find Louisiana bluesman Sonny Landreth walking out the door after his (poorly attended) performance. They had advertised the wrong time, proving once more that God has a sense of humor. But why me, Lord? And surprise, I just found a video of him playing a Bach cantata, quite nicely, with a full symphony orchestra. Also excited to see a dobro and pedal steel master who has played with so many big names (and with a great name herself), Cindy Cashdollar. The bad news is… it’s sold out. When tiny concert room McCabe’s books a great show like this, you have to jump on it. Sun 8 p.m., McCabe’s, Santa Monica, sold out
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. (But there is no room for swing dancers unless you want to go out on the sidewalk.) Hot Club’s brand of virtuoso, sometimes 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 – is back! Well, she was gone only last Tuesday because the Damn Well Please Organ Trio very musically and energetically took over the joint with its annual Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras show. So come see what you’ve been missing, one of the most talented and versatile artists in this town. Tues 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, $10.
TODAY! – BOB MARLEY ONE LOVE EXPERIENCE – Here’s why I recommend this exhibit that I have not yet seen. A lot of Americns still don’t get this, but Bob Marley was one of the greatest performers and musicians (no, not his guitar, his compelling, hypnotic vocal instrument)… ever. He often seemed possessed by some divine spirit when he sang, his Wailers were musically phenomenal, and his songwriting ranks with the very best. He was also, not incidentally, a powerful spiritual and political leader worldwide. Music was in every fiber of his being but it was the platform through which he wanted to change the world. One love. That’s a pretty big philosophy and call to action, in just two words. But is this an exhibit that lives up to the subject matter? I’m pretty sure it does because Silverlake’s Roger Steffens, the world’s foremost authority on Marley, if not reggae itself, is leading tours every weekend at 1 and 3, and he would not do that if it wasn’t up to snuff. He does caution that this covers only “the Island (record label) years,” but that’s what most people are familiar with. Thurs-Sun-Wed 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., Fri-Sat 11 a.m. -10 p.m., Mon-Tues 11 a.m. -5:30 p.m., Ovation Hollywood, $20-70.
TOLEDO DIAMOND – Unique, riveting, first class act. There’s nothing like it, it is high performance art and great fun. Degeneracy is rarely so well disciplined. Sun 9:30 p.m., Harvelle’s, Santa Monica, $12.
NATHANIEL RATELIFF Plays NILSSON – OK, there is some quirky (but topshelf) personal bias in this pick that may not have everyone raving, but…. If I didn’t think you should go it wouldn’t be here. Not everyone knows of Rateliff, leader of The Night Sweats with their bluesy Americana, stinging guitar and horn section. I love ‘em. Another of those bands I heard on 88.5 FM and nowhere else. But this seems to be Rateliff solo, fronting the LA Phil or some part thereof, and singing the romantic classics that Harry Nilsson had the nerve to put out on “A Little Schmilsson in the Night.” (“It Had to be You,” “You Made Me Love You,” “As Time Goes By”…) His rough hewn voice should be interesting on these. But for me the best part will be the promise that after he covers the entire album, he will sing some Nilsson originals. This is a match made in heaven. Wed 8 p.m., Walt Disney Concert Hall, LA, $49-109.
COMING ATTRACTIONS: ACADEMY OF ST. MARTIN IN THE FIELDS with mandolinist AVI AVITAL, BroadStage, 3/11; TOLEDO DIAMOND, Harvelle’s, 3/11, 18, 25; HOT CLUB OF LOS ANGELES, Cinema Bar, 3/13, 20, 27; EM, Harvelle’s, 3/14, 21, 28; NATHANIEL RATELIFF Plays NILSSON, Disney Hall, 3/8; JANE’S ADDICTION, Hollywood Palladium, 3/9; RICK SHEA, Cinema Bar, 3/9; LA PHIL, MEHTA CONDUCTS “SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE,” Disney Hall, 3/10, 11, 12; LIBRARY GIRL, Ruskin Group Theatre, 3/11; LA CHAMBER ORCHESTRA, JEFFREY KAHANE, Royce Hall, 3/11, 12; KULA SHAKER, Regent Theater, 3/12; BONNIE RAITT, Terrace Theater, 3/14; ZIGGY MARLEY, Disney Hall, 3/16, 17; WILLIE NELSON 90, Hollywood Bowl, 4/29, 30.
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 email@example.com