Few performers have rampaged across American music with such vehement merriment as bandleader-satirist Spike Jones. The master showman and incomparable wit whose gift for witheringly diligent parody and drastic musical shenanigans elevated him to a rare strata of national infamy gets a most welcome 21st-century reintroduction with Thank You Music Lovers: A Centennial Salute to Spike Jones: The Godfather of Musical Mayhem. Jones, who skewered everything from popular hits to classical favorites, was a wild man whose presentation of mad novelty arrangements, punctuated by bird calls, dog barks, gunshots, exotic percussion and flat-out weird vocals, always came across as barely controlled chaos, yet were painstakingly crafted numbers delivered by his stalwart City Slickers, an estimable stable of nothing less than first-rate musicians. Perhaps best recalled for the luxuriously annoying holiday favorite "All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth," Jones' repertoire also reached into history with his magnificent wartime takedown of Hitler, "Der Fuehrer's Face," and over the course of four decades spanned a volcanic spectrum of melodic lunacy that stands unrivaled. Along with a multimedia barrage of Jones' work, participants here include Spike Jones Jr.; Jones' second wife, singer Helen Grayco; the esteemed pop art icon Ed Ruscha; bubblegum miracle worker Richard Carpenter; and (who else?) moderator Dr. Demento, a combination that's guaranteed to deliver a celebration worthy of this peerless oddball's bizarre, brilliant legacy. Paley Center for Media, 465 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills; Tues., Feb. 21, 7:30 p.m.; free, resv. req.: (310) 786-1000. paleycenter.org.
Tue., Feb. 21, 7:30 p.m., 2012
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