Fri. Dec. 6 -- Please welcome guitarist and everything-ist Mike Keneally, whose new "You Must Be This Tall" twists with an especially attractive blend of Zappa-esque fusionistics, epic aspirations and homey sensitivities. The live band and CD both feature old cronies Rick Musallam (guitar), Brian Bellar (bass), Joe Travers (drums), and Special Guests, the last of whom could include associates from his Dethklok or Satriani tourwork or composin' pal Andy Partridge, for instance, but I promise no more than that the music will be tops. At the Baked Potato, 3787 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Studio City 91604; 9:30 & 11:30pm; $25; (818) 980-1615; www.thebakedpotato.com.
Fri.-Sat. Dec. 6-7 -- Charlie Hunter & Scott Amendola may be just a guitar-drums duo, but Charlie's tapping techniques, his extra strings and Amendola's electronic augmentations will make it sound like a sextet. Friday 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. Saturday at McCabe’s, 3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica 90405; 8pm; $23; (310) 828-4497; www.mccabes.com.
Sat. Dec. 7 -- Friends convene a "release" event for the wonderful pianist Nate Morgan, who died recently after a long illness. At New Life Community Christian Center, 11333 Atlantic Blvd., Lynwood 90262; 10am.
Sat.-Sun. Dec. 7-8 -- "Monster guitarist" Michael Landau fusionizes with a trio featuring bassist Jimmy Johnson and drummer Gary Novak. And on Sunday, Landau's wife, Karen, sings the wrenching auld ghost stories with Hazey Jane, abetted by Michael and by steel guitarist Greg Leisz, who raised such enchanting atmospheres with Charles Lloyd recently. At the Baked Potato, 3787 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Studio City 91604; 9:30 & 11:30pm; $25 Sat., $15 Sun.; (818) 980-1615; www.thebakedpotato.com.
Sun. Dec. 8 -- Dunno who'll be in this edition of The Joey Sellers Jazz Aggregation, but considering the list of excellent Southland musicians with whom that ingenious trombonist, composer and Saddleback educator has been associated, it's a lock on quality. New album, too. 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.
Mon. Dec. 9 -- Kenny Burrell's modern L.A. Jazz Orchestra Unlimited continues its monthly Monday slot. At Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood 90028; 8:30 & 10:30pm; $30-$40; (323) 466-2210; www.catalinajazzclub.com.
Tues. Dec. 10 -- It truly warms my heart to see Charlie Haden in action, fighting the difficult health issues he's faced for the last couple of years. I don't guess he'll be playing his incomparably centered standup bass, but he'll conduct his CalArts Liberation Music Orchestra, through which he's advanced his political ideals, expressed his love of Spanish-tinged balladry and collaborated with the great arranger/composer Carla Bley for 40-some years. Although this is the student (and faculty, I think) edition of the orchestra, I've seen Haden in this mode before, and youth represents a fierce vehicle for the vision. Big, colorful sounds. At REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., downtown 90012; 8:30pm; $20 (students $16); www.redcat.org.
Tues. Dec. 10 -- The Euro-American Kandinsky Quartet lays down the groove and plugs in for xtra FX dimensions. 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. Dec. 11 -- Merle Haggard. Any questions? At the Saban Theater, 8440 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills 90211; 8pm; $35-$100; www.ticketmaster.com.
Thurs. Dec. 12 -- I figured Matt Pike's heavy-riffing fingers might hold out, but the way he harshes that throat, High on Fire's strapping front man seemed a longshot for durability. He laid off the Jack, though, and here he is. With Norwegian metalmen Kvelertak and Relapse artists Windhand. At El Rey Theater, 5515 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; 8pm; $27; www.theelrey.com.
Thurs. Dec. 12 -- A significant achievement: When Jake E. Lee took over from Randy Rhoads as Ozzy's guitarist for 1983's "Bark at the Moon," it wasn't a letdown. Lee later spewed plenty of raging hard rock with Badlands and on his own, but the fluid shredder has kept a low profile in recent years; this is the first gig ever with his new Red Dragon Cartel (singer Darren James Smith, drummer Jonas Fairley), which will soon release a new record mixed by Ozzy producer Kevin Churko and featuring a raft of guest stars. The snips on Amazon.com sound good. With Will Wallner & Vivien Vain, Swirl, Resistance. At the Whisky, 8901 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood 90069; doors 6pm; $20; www.whiskyagogo.com; (310) 652-4202.
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