Fri.-Sat. May 24-25 -- Azar Lawrence keeps blowing his gale-force Trane whistle on weekends with his time-tested crew -- Alphonse Mouzon on drums, Henry Franklin on bass, Theo Saunders on piano and, for a special Saturday-only treat, summery trombonist Phil Ranelin, who celebrates his birthday that night. At the RG Club, 2536 Lincoln Blvd., Venice 90291; 9 & 11pm; $15; (310) 822-1715; rgclubvenice.com.
Fri.-Sat. May 24 -- The ever-changing face of Swedish prog-metal, Opeth, continues to switch masks in a quieter and more melodic direction on record, but recent reviews indicate the group still spends substantial time on the heavy growl side live. Veteran countrymen Katatonia, also veering toward the more populist rock side in recent years, support. Friday at the Roxy, 9009 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; 7pm; SOLD OUT; (310) 278-9457; www.ticketmaster.com. Saturday at the Canyon is SOLD OUT too.
Fri.-Sun. May 24-26 -- Young trumpeter Christian Scott plays subtly electronified jazz the whole family can dig, and he ain't stupid about it. 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 presale, $25 door (he sold out last time, so get tix early); parking $5 underneath off Second Street at the sign of the P in a circle; (213) 620-0908; www.bluewhalemusic.com.
Sat. May 25 -- Seasons Guitar Quartet knocks out some Monk plus compositions by all the pluckers, who include Anthony Wilson, Larry Koonse, Julian Lage and Chico Pinheiro. Quiet & cool. A presentation of the Jazz Bakery's Movable Feast at the Musicians Institute, 1655 N. McCadden Place, Hollywood 90028; 8pm; $30; www.jazzbakery.org.
Sat. May 25 -- Why yes, Tool drummer Danny Carey and Volto are still doing a monthly jamtastic blowout here, thank you for asking. Featuring guitarist John Ziegler, bassist Lance Morrison and keyboardist Matt Rohde. At the Baked Potato, 3787 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Studio City 91604; 9:30 & 11:30pm; $25; (818) 980-1615; www.thebakedpotato.com.
Sun. May 26 -- Let's see how the John Daversa Contemporary Big Band squeezes its semitraditionalist energy into this little watering hole. At the Baked Potato, 3787 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Studio City 91604; 9:30 & 11:30pm; $20; (818) 980-1615; www.thebakedpotato.com.
Sun. May 26 -- L.A. thrash don't come no more committed than Warbringer or more nervously furious than Witchaven. With Exterminate, Velosity, Vengeance, Hell Spawn, maybe Vector. At the Whisky, 8901 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood 90069; doors 6pm; $15; www.ticketweb.com; (310) 652-4202.
Sun. May 26 -- You bet, Saccharine Trust/Mecolodiacs guitarist Joe Baiza is an improviser, and he's doing a rare solo spinout this afternoon on a bill featuring microcosmic songwriters Garretson & Gorodetsky and poet Dennis Cruz. At Pilates & Arts, 1844 Echo Park Ave., Echo Park 90026; 4pm; FREE.
Mon. May 27 -- Katatonia fans who didn't get tix before the weekend's shows with Opeth sold out can still catch the tunefully heavy Swedes tonight with Sirion and Diminished 7. At the Roxy, 9009 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; 7:30pm; $16.50; (310) 278-9457; www.ticketmaster.com.
Tues. May 28 -- Guitarist Chris Poland isn't on Megadeth's new album (the way he was on the first couple), but it's still wild to hear him in his fusion trio Ohm, with Robert Pagliari and David Eagle. At the Baked Potato, 3787 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Studio City 91604; 9:30 & 11:30pm; $20; (818) 980-1615; www.thebakedpotato.com.
No Ray Manzarek, no Doors. He started the band, recognizing the by no means obvious (in 1965) singing and writing potential of fellow UCLA film student Jim Morrison. He calmly held it together on the many occasions when various members were fleeing or stumbling out the portal. He subbed pretty well on vocals when Morrison was too drunk to stand. Listen to the Doors' live recordings, and notice how little you miss the presence of the non-member bassists who played on the band's studio sessions, because Manzarek laid such a solid & steady left hand on the recently invented keyboard bass -- no one else in rock was doing that. Though Manzarek held no lofty opinion of himself as an organist or pianist, try to imagine the Doors without his raga-like lines, imitated by legions. And I liked his pinstripe suits. Peace to him hereafter.
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