Music Picks: Mad Decent Block Party, Weeknd, Cold War Kids 

Thursday, Sep 12 2013

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Earth, Wind & Fire

Hollywood Bowl

Founded in Chicago in 1971 by drummer Maurice White, the oft-sampled Earth, Wind & Fire is one of the most critically acclaimed bands in music history.  The six-time Grammy Award–winning group, originally jazz-trained, was one of the first African-American bands to achieve mainstream pop success with a distinct synthesis of funk, soul, jazz, disco, rock and gospel. Throughout their active, 40-plus years, the band has come to be characterized by a visually stunning live show and rotating lineup of stellar musicians. Although EW&F continue to grace stages all over the world, they do so sans Maurice White, who retired in 2000 due to Parkinson's disease. Tonight's performance is the last of the Hollywood Bowl's 2013 summer concert series. —Jacqueline Michael Whatley

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sun 9/15

Ernie Andrews, Barbara Morrison, Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra


Ernie Andrews, the last of our homegrown, postwar Central Avenue jazz vocal gurus, has always had a sinuous, swinging, instantly recognizable style. Rooted in the silky, playful charms of Billy Eckstine and Al Hibbler, informed by the shout of Joe Turner and Jimmy Rushing, his gritty, soulful approach only gets better. Andrews, who cut his first record (the bluesy classic "Soothe Me") in 1945, is a stylist whose skill and mastery are rivaled only by his stunning résumé, including stints with Harry James, collaborations with Benny Carter and Cannonball Adderley and much more. Teamed with first-rate veteran Barbara Morrison and the formidable Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra for this special live recording date, the entire company is bound to deliver nonstop, profound and historic thrills. (Two shows, 5 p.m. & 8 p.m.; tickets available exclusively at latreasuresproject.com.) —Jonny Whiteside

Jóhann Jóhannsson


Icelandic composer/producer/sound artist Jóhann Jóhannsson creates a remotely rock-aligned new-genre sound that merges electronic music with symphonic orchestrations. That sound is then channeled through the last 50 years' history of minimalism and other new-music conceptions. As such, it's a highly individual path that has worked particularly well in a number of his film scores, including his much-praised collaboration with artist Bill Morrison on 2010's The Miners' Hymns and in his music for the upcoming Hugh Jackman/Jake Gyllenhaal thriller Prisoners. Jóhannsson's eerily gorgeous Prisoners score is typically atypical in its poetic blending of lyrical string and woodwind textures with uncanny tones emanating from obscure electronic instruments like the Cristal Baschet and the Ondes Martenot. Tonight, Jóhannsson performs selections from his film works and solo albums with accompaniment by the excellent L.A.-based Formalist Quartet. —John Payne

mon 9/16

The Weeknd


No matter what Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, sings about, there's often an air of melancholy gliding by in the distance or welling up in the back of his voice. His vocal undulations often quiver with the urgent pleading of Michael Jackson, but the Canadian singer has so many other things going through his mind that it never feels like an imitation. Sometimes he calls out over coolly remote, new-wave soundscapes; other times The Weeknd wraps himself in a coat of sympathetic, mournful harmonies, fending off the loneliness with raw, wailing soul. Even now, on his first full-length album, Kiss Land (the follow-up to a series of lower-profile mixtapes), he retains a lost, endearingly fragile quality as a blend and blur of ghostly voices and distant orchestras wind their way around him. He's alone yet not alone. Aren't we all? Also Tuesday, Sept. 17. —Falling James

tue 9/17

Laura Mvula


Over the past year, Laura Mvula has established herself as one of England's most assured and inventive soul singers, but it wasn't like she came out of nowhere. The Birmingham diva previously sang in a cappella groups and gospel choirs, and you can hear some of the elaborate architecture of gospel music in the arrangements on her full-length debut, Sing to the Moon. But Mvula is too creative to be just a revivalist, and her rueful ballads ("Can't Live With the World") and buoyant pop tunes ("Green Garden") flit easily from jazz and pop to soul and folk. It's like pure, radiant sunlight when her exuberant, soaring voice bursts through the cloudy chorus of "That's Alright." —Falling James

wed 9/18

Tina Raymond


A rule of thumb for yoga students is to not force but to know one's limit, patiently waiting to go just a little further. Drummer Tina Raymond, a certified yoga instructor, knows this, and she has dutifully waited for her career in music to stretch and extend. This patience has finally been rewarded with a full calendar of performance dates. Musicians love her lithe brush and cymbal work, supported by an iron core of time and groove. Sure, she's lovely, but yes, she will kick your ass — onstage, in the gym or elsewhere. Tonight, Raymond further displays her flexibility by leading two bands, one a hard-swinging trio featuring former NYC pianist Max Haymer and a second threesome featuring new music by pianistic sound-painter Cathlene Pineda. Guests include trumpeter Kris Tiner and saxophonist and Monk Institute of Jazz Competition finalist Danny Janklow. —Gary Fukushima


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