Fri.-Sun. Dec. 9-11 -- One of the more tasteful yet penetrating traditional pianists, Kenny Werner, leads an all-star band featuring trumpeter Randy Brecker, saxist David Sanchez, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Antonio Sanchez. Mediocrity is not an option. At Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood 90028; 8 & 10pm; $22-$30; (323) 466-2210; www.catalinajazzclub.com.
Sat. Dec. 10 -- Former Wynton Marsalis pianist Eric Reed throws off warm sparks with hints of Tyner and Tommy Flanagan, while honoring both his Philly and Angeleno heritages. Trio time tonight. At the Blue Whale on the third floor of Weller Court Plaza, south of East First Street between South Los Angeles Street and South San Pedro Street, Little Tokyo 90012; 9pm-midnight; $10; validated parking underneath off Second Street at the sign of the P in a circle; (213) 620-0908; www.bluewhalemusic.com.
Sat. Dec. 10 -- Bring swords, skulls or stuffed puppies for the Toys for Tots drive as Deathriders, Sothis and a bunch more make it a Stygian solstice. Receipts go to Miller Children's Hospital in Long Beach. At the Black Castle, 855 W. Manchester Ave., LA 90044; 7pm; unopened toy or $10; bar; all ages.
Sun. Dec. 11 -- I love it that modern metallers Norma Jean have a song called "Deathbed Atheist." These unevangelical Xtians retain a sexable groove and a sense of humor in the midst of the heavy world's nervous angst. With several more. At the Key Club, 9039 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood 90069; doors 6:30pm; $18; 18+; www.keyclub.com; (310) 274-5800.
Thurs. Dec. 15 -- Quite a week for melodic pianists: The allusive plantational filmic narratives of New Yorker Erik Deutsch (Charlie Hunter, Norah Jones, Shooter Jennings) remind me of James Carney, and the fact that Deutsch has snagged the unassailable Scott Amendola for the drum stool seals the deal. Kaveh Rastegar on bass. At the Blue Whale on the third floor of Weller Court Plaza, south of East First Street between South Los Angeles Street and South San Pedro Street, Little Tokyo 90012; 9pm-midnight; $10; validated parking underneath off Second Street at the sign of the P in a circle; (213) 620-0908; www.bluewhalemusic.com.
Thurs. Dec. 15 -- The Mentors continue to churn out the misogynist metal long after the martyrdom of El Duce, and you can't even tell they're 60 cuz of their Klan hoods -- the Stones should try that. Hey, people still laugh at jokes older than this. With Motochrist and more. At the Whisky, 8901 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood 90069; $13; www.whiskyagogo.com; (310) 652-4202.
Thurs. Dec. 15 -- Not yet slaked for Slake readings? The latest is by Luke Davies, Natasha Vargas-Cooper, Melissa Chadburn, Brendan Schallert, with Laurie and Joe probably passing out beers. At Chevalier's Books, 126 N. Larchmont Blvd., LA 90004; (323) 465-1334; visit www.slake.la for the top-secret details.