March Concert Picks from Rhythm Planet

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Jazz titan Herbie Hancock performs at Walt Disney Concert Hall to launch the Power to the People! Festival presented by the LA Phil Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association

Tuesday-Wednesday, March 3-4 | Roberto Fonseca - Yesun | bluewhale (Downtown)

Like fellow Cuban pianists Chucho Valdés and Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Roberto Fonseca is classically trained and exceptional at the keyboard. He’s joined at the intimate bluewhale by his regular trio-mates, Yandy Martinez (bass) and Ruly Herrera (drums). The two shows will feature music from Fonseca’s album Yesun, which blends Afro-Cuban sounds with jazz, classical, funk, electronic music, and more. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Thursday, March 5 | Power to the People! Herbie Hancock | Walt Disney Concert Hall (Downtown)

Jazz titan Herbie Hancock collaborates with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic for an evening of music of inspiration to launch the Power to the People! festival.  The program includes works by composers Jessie Montgomery, Courtney Bryan, Wayne Shorter, and Herbie Hancock himself, with his tributes to Angela Davis and Martin Luther King Jr. This will be quite a show. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Saturday, March 8 | 12th Annual Nowruz Celebration | UCLA Royce Hall and Dickson Courts (Westwood)

Nowruz, the Persian new year, signals the beginning of spring. (This always seemed more logical to me—that a new year should coincide with a celebration of the coming of spring.) During the day, the free and family-friendly Nowruz celebration presented by the Farhang Foundation features dance, puppet shows, children’s festivities, a Persian tea house, and food trucks. The UCLA Marching Band will be on hand, and the LA Daf Ensemble is also scheduled to perform (the daf is the traditional Persian hand drum). The event also features the Djanbazian Dance Academy, actress Boshra Dastournezhad, violinist Yara Bahonar, and the Negar Estakhr puppet company.

Acclaimed Iranian opera singer Darya Dadvar caps the day-long celebration of Persian new year with an evening performance at Royce Hall. Classically trained in France and based in Paris, Dadvar is adept in a variety of styles, including jazz and blues, which has made her one of the most popular singers in contemporary Iran. Click HERE for tickets to the concert. Daytime events are free.

Thursday, March 19 | Ladysmith Black Mambazo | UCLA Royce Hall (Westwood)

The celebrated South African Zulu choir postponed their February show to attend the funeral of their founder, Joseph Shabalala. If you ever enjoyed their work with Paul Simon on Graceland, come see them on their own. The music is heartfelt and joyful. Click HERE for tickets and more information. 

Watch them perform “Rain, Rain, Beautiful Rain” at KEXP in Seattle:

Saturday-Sunday, March 21-22 | Hamilton de Holanda | The Getty Center (Sepulveda Pass)

Brazilian musician Hamilton de Holanda is acclaimed for his compositions and virtuosic command of the bandolim (Brazilian mandolin). He plays incredibly fast and cool. I loved his album celebrating the songs of two giants of Brazilian music: Egberto Gismonti and Hermeto Pascoal called GismontiPascoal: The Music of Egberto and Hermeto. Click HERE to reserve free tickets and for more information.

Thursday, March 26 | Fly Higher: Charlie Parker at 100 | UCLA Royce Hall (Westwood)

Charlie “Yardbird” Parker is one of music’s great geniuses. He invented a new way of playing jazz and influenced every jazz musician who followed. Parker studied the classical music of Paul Hindemith and French composer Edgar Varèse. Even though he died young at just 34, he left an enduring legacy which makes him an immortal. This show celebrates the genius of Parker with alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, vocalist Charenée Wade, trumpeter Adam O’Farrill, pianist Kris Davis, bassist Larry Grenadier, and hip hop drummer Kassa Overall. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Watch this vintage clip of Charlie Parker and tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. Also check out the second video that starts at 3 minutes for taste of Bird’s bebop genius. The world had never heard anything like it.

Friday, March 27 | José Rizo’s Mongorama | Jazz Bakery at Moss Theater (Santa Monica)

Popular radio deejay José Rizo gathers together a fabulous big band of L.A.’s crème de la crème of tropical Latin musicians. They’re always fun to see live in concert. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Sunday, March 29 | Peter Erskine Quartet | Jazz Bakery at Moss Theater (Santa Monica)

Peter Erskine is one of the best drummers in the jazz world, bar none. Erskine and the seasoned musicians in his quartet go back a long ways—pianist Alan Pasqua, saxophonist Bob Sheppard, and bassist Darek Oles. This evening’s performance includes a book signing for Erskine’s latest book The Musician’s Lifeline, which shares advice for musicians from over 150 of the best musicians he knows. Click HERE for tickets and more information.