Fri. March 2 -- Young but well established on the local scene, pianist Josh Nelson hovers close to the melodic California tradition while sneaking in harmonic complexities as a nod to listeners who're paying attention. Got Brooklyn saxist Kyle Wilson with him, as well as familiar mates Dave Robaire (bass) and Dan Schnelle (drums). Westside jazz fans might want to make Joe's first Fridays a monthly tradition. At Joe's Restaurant, 1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice 90291; 7-11pm; no cover but food order required; reservations recommended; www.joesrestaurant.com; (310) 399-5811.
Fri. March 2 -- If you're farther east, former W. Marsalis pianist Eric Reed will take care of your not-quite-straight-ahead needs and then some. I like him better than the more self-indulgent Wynton. 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.
Fri. March 2 -- Guitar cruiser Matt Piper blends in with DJs and live drummers for a deep-house dance experience, tonight featuring a Latin theme bolstered by tequila and cerveza. Relax. "Steady" at Medusa Lounge, 3211 Beverly Blvd., L.A. 90057; 10:30pm (open mike from 9pm); cheap; (213) 382-5723.
Fri. March 2 -- Metal in Echo Park is a good thing. Git yer old-skool thrash & sludge from Cleveland's Nunslaughter, plus the mystical churn of underknown veteran L.A. genii Sadistic Intent (pictured), the '80s Bay Area thrash tape-trading tradition of Insanity, Spanish-flavored technical metal from the femme-fronted Dreaming Dead ("Putrid Is the Sky") and Mutilacion. For the record, MetalJazz does not endorse the execution of religious personnel or the non-consensual infliction of agony. At the EchoPlex, 1154 Glendale Blvd., Echo Park 90026; 8:30pm; $24; www.attheecho.com.
Fri. March 2 -- Find out what it means to be minoritized from our colleague Erin Aubry Kaplan, a fine essayist who's plugging a damn good new collection. At Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Blvd., Venice 90291; 7:30pm; $7; (310) 822-3006.
Sun. March 4 -- It's the 15th anniversary of Sunday Evening Concerts! The longest-running and most consistent outmusic series in L.A. (if not the world) invites all previous paticipants to follow the introductory set of founders Alex Cline & Will Salmon with a mammoth jam. The blowers include Vinny Golia, William Roper, Brad Dutz, Emily Hay, Tom McNalley, Steuart Liebig, Jie Ma, Charles Sharp, Tim Perkis, Andrew Pask, Jeff Schwartz, Joseph Berardi, G.E. Stinson, Kaoru, Wayne Peet, Bruce Friedman, Dave Tranchina, Robert Leng, Scott Heustis, Anthony Shadduck, Alan Cook, Carey Fosse, Jim McAuley, Rich West and call-and-response poet Dorothea Grossman -- and I don't think there's one of 'em I haven't written about. There'll even be free food and beverages! What a party, insane in the best way. At Center for the Arts, 2225 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock 90041; 7pm; $10; (626) 795-4989.
Mon. March 5 -- When clarinetist Ben Goldberg gets obsessed, watch out. Lately his thing has been the poems of Allen Grossman. (Read Grossman's "The Piano Player Explains Himself" here.) And the ponderation has led Goldberg to create "Orphic Machine," a song cycle based on Grossman's writing, executed by a truly boggling crew of musicians: Carla Kihlstedt, Greg Cohen, Kenny Wollesen, Ron Miles, Ches Smith, Jeff Parker, Rob Suddoth and Myra Melford. I've heard Goldberg do everything from klezmer to bop to balladry to total abstraction, and he's got the damn goods. 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.
Tues. March 6 -- The presence of the reliably incisive trumpeter Dan Clucas and the Bay Area bonafides of computer-music innovator Tim Perkis lead me to think their trio with Albuquerque trombonist-electronicist Christian Pincock will be worth cocking an ear. A SASSAS presentation at Atwater Crossing, 3245 Casitas Ave., Atwater Village 90039; 9pm; $10; free parking in lots; www.sassas.org.
Wed. March 7 -- Polarity Taskmasters improvise like a symposium of well-acquainted freethinkers. That's flutist-vocalist Emily Hay, piano electrotweaker Motoko Honda, percussionist Brad Dutz and organ-theremin manipulator Wayne Peet. Theremin, fer godsake! 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.
I clearly remember the first time I saw Red Holloway, at the old Parisian Room (La Brea and Washington, I think), in 1978. Red curtains behind the stage, little round drink tables, Art Deco ceiling scoop, the whole 1940s setup. I had come to hear Sonny Stitt, and I didn't know Holloway; he was just the chubby little guy who introduced the show. Turned out he booked the place, too. He also played tenor, as I discovered when he joined Stitt onstage at the end and started trading lines. What effrontery, I thought, until I realized that Holloway, a true bopper with a feel for the blues straight out of his sweet home Chicago, was more than keeping up. In fact, he was sharing equally billed recordings with Stitt at the time. Wait, why wasn't this dude famous? Well, like many a regional master, he never established himself in New York. It does not feel good to know that with Holloway's passing a week ago at 84, I may never again hear tenor blown with that particular brand of soul.