Fri. Feb. 1 – Rockaholics Nashville Pussy stumbled into smartness a year ago by reissuing “From Hell to Texas” (“Dead Men Can’t Get Drunk”) in a tour edition with a comprehensive live Jackospective featuring hits like “The Bitch Just Kicked Me Out” and “Struttin Cock.” For my money, the croakin’ and pluckin’ husband-wife front duo of Blaine Cartwright and Ruyter Suys succinctly exemplify how a syncopated nightclub ensemble should exfoliate. And this is a cheap show. Followed by Lonely Drunks Club Band and preceded by Lightning Woodcock and Boost. At the Viper Room, 8852 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood 90069; NP 11pm; $15; (310) 652-7869; www.viperroom.com.
Fri.-Sat. Feb. 1-2 – Just mark your calendars, cuz I’m gonna stop plugging mighty saxist Azar Lawrence’s all-star quartet with Alphonse Mouzon, Theo Saunders and Henry Franklin for every Fri.-Sat.; I'll just do it sometimes, so you don’t think I’m his dad or something. At the RG Club, 2536 Lincoln Blvd., Venice 90291; 9 & 11pm; $15; (310) 822-1715 (reservations recommended); www.rgclubvenice.com.
Sat. Feb. 2 – It’s been great to watch the continued vitality of ‘80s Bay Area metal bands like Testament, who rose after the illness of belter Chuck Billy to reunite with guitarist Alex Skolnick and craft two of the finest post-thrash monuments of the last decade, “The Formation of Damnation” (2008) and the Native American-themed “Dark Roots of Earth” (2012). I’ve said it before: Listeners craving the feel of ‘80s Metallica need to suck up Testament’s recent work (now again featuring technical poundmaster Gene Hoglan). With veterans Overkill, plus 4ARM, and probably more if the early start time is any indication. At House of Blues, 8430 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood 90069; 6:45pm; $33; (323) 848-5100; www.livenation.com.
Sat. Feb. 2 – Vibraphonist-of-the-future Nick Mancini compiles a flexitudinal group with pianist Mahesh Balasooriya (Phil Ranelin), bassist Kaveh Rastegar (Kneebody) and drummer Zach Harmon (everybody). 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.
Sat. Feb. 2 – Trumpeter Elliott Caine's quartet continues the tradition of actual breathing, perspiring, seasoned musicians stretching out on original compositions (mostly I think) in a place where you can have a drink and experience the humanity of it all. Catch 'em before everything's virtual. At Colombo's Restaurant, 1833 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock 90041; 9:30pm-midnight; no cover; (323) 254-9138.
Sun. Feb. 3 – Will Salmon brings his voice, his flute and his questing spirit to an exciting version of his Open Gate Band featuring deep singer Dwight Trible, multiwind ace Vinny Golia, vet trombonist George McMullen, angelic singer-bassclarinetist Kira Vollman, bassist Bill Casale and drummer Alex Cline. It worked so well last time Salmon improvised with this tuned-in crew at another venue that he had to do it again. Opening is bassist Devin Hoff (Nels Cline, Good For Cows, etc.), plumbing the extremities of his bass all by hisself. At Center for the Arts, 2225 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock 90041; 7pm; $10; (626) 795-4989.
Wed. Feb. 6 – Pianist Tigran Hamasyan is a real crowd-pleasing boiler, and he’s playing solo, my favorite way to hear his instrument. 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.
Butch Morris, trumpeter and inventor of the “conduction” mode of group improvisation, died this week. He had L.A. roots, and he’ll be mourned a lot in this town, not to mention the world. Read my 2007 review of his last local appearance here.
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