Fri. Dec. 7 -- What do you think when you think Meshell Ndegeocello & James "Blood" Ulmer featuring Vernon Reid? I think multidimensional bass/vox plus electric-Ornette guitar legacy plus post-Living Colour freakedelia, and that feels real good. A CAP presentation at UCLA's Royce Hall; 8pm; $24-$52; www.cap.ucla.edu.
Fri. Dec. 7 -- It's always worth checking out what Nick Mancini is doing to his vibraphone, and he's got a habit of teaming up with interesting musicians, this time violinist/beauty queen Audrey Solomon as Lonely Avenue. At the Blue Whale on the third level 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; parking $5 underneath off Second Street at the sign of the P in a circle; (213) 620-0908; www.bluewhalemusic.com.
Fri. Dec. 7 -- As noisily radical as metal gets, as intelligent as metal gets, and with room for some nearly classical expansions: Try San Diego's Cattle Decapitation, and buy their current "Monolith of Inhumanity." On tour with death kings Dying Fetus headlining, and supported by Cerebral Bore (the first metal band named after me!) and a bunch more illegible band logos. At the Whisky, 8901 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood 90069; doors 6pm; $15; www.whiskyagogo.com; (310) 652-4202.
Fri-.-Sun. Dec. 7-9 -- Is former young lion Roy Hargrove too pleasant? The trumpeter's 2009 big-band album was bland, but this trad-revival mainstay can play post-bop real clean & true, and when he's fronting a quintet, as here, that's mostly what he'll do. At Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood 90028; 8:30 & 10:30pm (Sun. 7:30 & 9:30pm); $25-$35; (323) 466-2210; www.catalinajazzclub.com.
Fri.-Thurs. Dec. 7-13 -- I saw "Ornette: Made in America" back in the '80s, when it premiered as "Ornette Coleman in Outer Space," and I remember thinking documentarian Shirley Clarke had stepped over the line into goofitude with her animated astronaut sequences, far from the filmic representation of the junkie play "The Connection" she'd shot decades earlier. But the Ornette doc did feature interviews with William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Don Cherry and other majors now deceased, and it has sequences of Ornette staging his mighty symphonic work "Skies of America," so it might be worth a squint. At the New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., L.A. 90036; check here for times.
Tues. Dec. 11 -- Post-Velvet Underground, John Cale stacked up a more artistically satisfying résumé than Lou Reed. Produced great Nico, Stooges, Patti Smith and Modern Lovers records. Made his own great albums: "Paris 1919," "Fear," "Slow Dazzle" -- pop in form, avant-garde in sensibility. Ground out fine tours with Chris Spedding. He's back hyping solid new music, traveling with low-key songwriter Cass McCombs. When Cale sings and pounds the piano, he creates an energy vortex. At El Rey Theater, 5515 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; 7pm; $30; www.ticketmaster.com.
Tues. Dec. 11 -- Modern thrashers 3 Inches of Blood slash it out with Jill Janus and the melodo-mythical Huntress (lookit her) and hardcore Kentucky fishermen The Hookers. There's a conceptual thread in there somewhere. At the Whisky, 8901 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood 90069; www.whiskyagogo.com; (310) 652-4202.
Thurs. Dec. 13 -- Trombonist Phil Ranelin, a true celebrator of the jazz-blues-Latin tradition, leads a sextet with windmen Pablo Calogero & Jacob Sesceny, pianist Mahesh Balasooriya, bassist Aneesa Al-Musawwir and souldown drummer Don Littleton. You will swing & grin. At the Blue Whale on the third level of Weller Court Plaza, south of East First Street between South Los Angeles Street and South San Pedro Street, Little Tokyo 90012; 9pm-midnight; $15; parking $5 underneath off Second Street at the sign of the P in a circle; (213) 620-0908; www.bluewhalemusic.com.
Thurs. Dec. 13 -- A year ago, recognizing that the main purpose of television is to help you sleep, Congress enacted a law prohibiting commercials from being louder than the programs in which they are embedded. That law, the CALM (Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation) Act, goes into effect TODAY, appropriately at the new moon. Nothing will change unless you speak up, so the next time you're slammed awake by a commercial for used cars or boner pills, COMPLAIN HERE. Select the second-to-last option (Broadcast) on the first page, and the last option (Loud Commercials) on the second page. On the third page, be specific about the cable system, the channel, the advertiser and the time. Bookmark this FCC complaint site, cuz you'll be needing it. (You can use it against phone solicitors and other stuff, too.) Thank you, reader. And thank you, California Representative Anna Eshoo (D-Silicon Valley), the bill's sponsor. Also, post-publication, thanks to film-historian friend Thomas Doherty for this revelation: "This morning I was scrolling through back issues of Box Office from 1935 and came across a report on how the five newsreel companies had come to an agreement that they would no longer jack up the volume on their issues and would keep in line with the feature film -- projectionists were being warned not to turn their sound DOWN anymore."
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