Fri. Jan. 18 -- Femi Kuti & the Positive Force carry on dad Fela's Afrobeat tradition with the same unstoppable groove and manic energy. At El Rey Theater, 5515 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; 8pm; $30 + fees; www.ticketmaster.com.
Fri.-Sat. Jan. 18-19 -- Channel Coltrane with saxist Azar Lawrence, fronting a band of bad-ass vets: drummer Alphonse Mouzon, pianist Theo Saunders and bassist Henry Franklin. Maybe a guest, too. At the RG Club, 2536 Lincoln Blvd., Venice 90291; 9 & 11pm; $10; (310) 822-1715; www.rgclubvenice.com.
Fri.-Sun. Jan. 18-20 -- Theatrical avantist Meredith Monk and her vocal/instro ensemble present "On Behalf of Nature," an environmentally themed multimedia production hinging on the union of heaven and earth through man. Seems like there's a weak link in there somewhere. A CAP presentation at UCLA's Freud Playhouse; 8pm (Sun. 2pm); $35-$52; www.cap.ucla.edu.
Sun. Jan. 20 -- The smartest West Coast fusion legend around, Continuum bounces back with a new member: drummer Christopher Garcia, nonrelative bassist Alfred Garcia and keysman Craig Okichikubo add fiery violinist Robert Anderson (from Eartha Austria Trio). At Alva’s Show Room, 1417 W. Eighth St., San Pedro 90732; 8pm; $20; www.alvasshowroom.com; (800) 403-3447, reservations suggested.
Sun.-Mon. Jan. 20-21 -- Lady Gaga has borrowed so many tools from Marilyn Manson's stage trunk that I'm dubbing her an honorary metal musician. She could play jazz, too, if she wanted to. At Staples Center, 1111 S. Figueroa St., LA 90015; 7:30pm; $50-$175; www.ticketmaster.com.
Tues. Jan. 22 -- Former Megadeth ax foil (first two '80s albums and a late one) Chris Poland enlists bassist Rob Pagliari and drummer David Eagle for soulful fusionistic sci-fi in Ohm. At the Baked Potato, 3787 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Studio City 91604; 9:30 & 11:30pm; $20; (818) 980-1615; www.thebakedpotato.com.
Tues. Jan. 22 -- Ornette aficionado Anthony Shadduck (Vinny Golia, Charles Sharp et al.) devotes his extreme bass to a double quartet -- shades of "Free Jazz," I'm thinkin'. 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.
Wed. Jan. 23 -- I dunno who all's gonna be playing this NAMM pre-party, except that wondersinger Tony Harnell (TNT, Westworld, Starbreaker) is advertising his participation, accompanied by guitar boggler Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal (latter-day GN'R) and Harnell violinist Cassandra Sotos. So that pretty much guarantees my presence. Harnell says they'll be tossing out an off-the-cuff acoustic mix of his own stuff, Thal's tunes and covers. He's coming out of an attractive soft-rocky phase, but now he's working on a new album with Bumblefoot that's bound to be a trip. At the Joint, 8771 W. Pico Blvd., L.A. 90035; doors 6pm it says, but I expect later, and Harnell guesses he'll hit the stage around 11:15; $10; (310) 275-2619; www.thejointlive.com.
Wed. Jan. 23 -- Pianist John Beasley hits a peak of his Wednesdays residency with Monk'estra, a big band slanted toward, I dunno, the Capuchins? Not Meredith, probably. 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; $20; parking $5 underneath off Second Street at the sign of the P in a circle; (213) 620-0908; www.bluewhalemusic.com.
Thurs.-Sat. Jan. 24-26 -- Fight your way through the music students and try to figure out what the hell bassist Stanley Clarke (Return to Forever) is doing with those amazing fingers (and that equally amazing mind). At Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood 90028; 8:30 & 10:30pm; $30-$40; (323) 466-2210; www.catalinajazzclub.com.
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