Fri. May 31 -- Special occasion: Vibraphonist Nick Mancini celebrates the release of his excellent new CD, "Storyteller." Mancini thought deeply about the title, which works because, unlike many jazz performers, he wants not only to jam, but to tell you something about life in a beautiful, structured way. It's a record of topmost skill, expansive range and remarkable ease, and you're gonna want a copy. I was honored to write its booklet notes, as I've been a fan ever since Rocco started booking Mancini at Café Metropol, jeez, must be about 10 years ago. The band tonight mirrors the finely attuned CD crew: trumpeter John Daversa, pianist Vardan Ovsepian, drummer Dan Schnelle and, instead of Kaveh Rastegar, bassist Hamilton Price. 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.
Fri. May 31 -- Dub Club rocks the roots on a Friday for a change with original Jamaican singer Horace Andy, backed by Quinto Sol. Also, the skanking & lilting Raskahuele and for-real DJ Tom Chasteen. At the EchoPlex, 1154 Glendale Blvd., Echo Park 90026; $15 advance from Ticketfly.com, $20 at the door; www.attheecho.com.
Fri. May 31 -- I choose not to be insulted by the insistent simplicity of pianist Ludovico Einaudi, and chances are yo mama won't be either. I wonder if Philip Glass will be insulted if I call Einaudi the Italian Philip Glass? At the John Anson Ford Amphitheater, 2180 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hollywood 90068; 8pm; $45-$59; www.fordtheatres.org.
Sat. June 1 -- Master altoist Kim Richmond is building momentum with his 23-piece big-band tribute to Stan Kenton. At Vitello's Restaurant, 4349 Tujunga Ave., Studio City 91604; 8 &10 pm; $25; (818) 769-0905; www.vitellosjazz.com.
Sun. June 2 -- Fans of timbral exotica will wanna check out this swell evening. San Diego percussionist Nathan Hubbard (of Cosmologic) picked up some friends on a recent relocation to Arizona, and he's representing a couple of 'em (pianist Branson Nejame and bassist Jerome Salazar) in his Double Triangle along with the more familiar electronic spark of local genii G.E. Stinson (guitar), Steuart Liebig (bass) and Ted Byrnes (drums). Plus you get beautiful ephemera from the duo of flutist/singer Will Salmon and pipa (stringed thing) player Jie Ma. At Center for the Arts, 2225 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock 90041; 7pm; $10; (626) 795-4989.
Sun. June 2 -- Glad to see Tigran Martikyan breaking out into wider circulation. The Glendale pianist blends his considerable classical chops into a more improvisational approach, plumbing emotional depths with understated delicacy (here with a sharp quartet). This Tigran is not to be confused with Tigran Hamasyan, whom I also like, but Martikyan is a much less flamboyant and more sympathetic player. 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. June 5 -- Easy-flowing yet outerward-tinged saxist Scott Jeppesen has assembled a super ensemble: pianist Josh Nelson, trumpeter John Daversa, guitarist Larry Koonse, bassist Dave Robaire and drummer Dan Schnelle. 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.
Thurs. June 6 -- It's about time Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson toured together. May 25 marked the 40th anniversary of the first and only occasion when I saw Alice, a landmark experience I did not repeat because the facepaint & crunch pioneer fired his truly rocking band right after that and wobbled down the road of studio sterility. But I'll be there tonight because he's got a ton of great old darkstuff, because he & producer Bob Ezrin crafted his 2011 "Welcome 2 My Nightmare" quite smartly (excelling on the ballads and even ripping off Manson's "The Beautiful People" drum beat on "The Congregation"), and because he puts on a fun show, now featuring (I think) hot axchick Orianthi. But mainly because the Schoolsoutmaster is supported by his most extreme pupil, Marilyn Manson, who's still got an edge, as represented by the current "Born Villain," one of his moodier, more lyrically complex and more texturally involving works. The duelling stagecraft is bound to be spectacular. Also, this is one of the last shows at the Gibson (formerly the Universal), a site where I've seen Bowie, Dylan (before the joint had a roof), Neil Young, the Highwaymen, Dio, Manson . . . the list goes on. The venue closes in a few months, and it will be missed for its good sight lines and good sound. At Gibson Amphitheater, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City 91608; 7:15pm; $27-$106 (some seats still available); www.livenation.com.
* * *