Fri. Jan. 31 -- Country outlaw songwriting (and acting) legend Kris Kristofferson sings a few relevant songs and rumbles a few words in the discussion after John Ford's "The Grapes of Wrath." I like this idea. At the Arclight Theater, 6360 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood 90028; 7:30pm; $18; tix here.
Fri. Jan. 31 -- Dave says I hate the '80s pop-metal of Dokken, but no, the singer the band's named after just nettles me sometimes; I pump fist to "Breaking the Chains" and some later stuff, too. Freakhouse and Crack in the Shell open. At the Canyon Club, 28912 Roadside Drive, Agoura Hills 91301; 9pm; $28-$53; (818) 879-5016; www.canyonclub.net.
Fri. Jan. 31 -- The Tater celebrates its birthday with an all-star fusionistic ensemble: Simon Phillips, Alphonso Johnson, Jeff Babko, Jeff Richman & Dave Binney on drums, bass, keyboards, guitar & respectively sax, known hereabouts for associations with Derek Sherinian, Weather Report, Larry Carlton, Ernie Watts & Steve Bernstein, among hundreds of Others. At the Baked Potato, 3787 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Studio City 91604; 9:30 & 11:30pm; $25; (818) 980-1615; www.thebakedpotato.com.
Fri. Jan. 31 -- Grammy-totin' keyboardist Billy Childs and friends do his electric thing tonight for a partying yet still intelligent weekend mood. 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.
Fri. Jan. 31 -- LATE ADD: Rising Sacramento avant guitar star Ross Hammond hangs with top local soulmates: windman Vinny Golia, bassist Steuart Liebig and drummer Alex Cline. At Baltic Crossroads Gallery, 3929 Fountain Ave., East Hollywood 90029; 7pm; free.
Fri.-Sat. Jan. 31-Feb. 1 -- Return to Forever bass monster Stanley Clarke gets down with his trio (electric I bet), and goes acoustic-classical with his Harlem String Quartet. At Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood 90028; 8:30 & 10:30pm; $30-$40; (323) 466-2210; www.catalinajazzclub.com.
Fri.-Sat. Jan. 31-Feb. 1 -- Blues guitarist/singer Murali Coryell (son of fusion legend Larry) sure picked up a swell band: thoroughly accredited drum stormer Alphonse Mouzon and bass journeyman John Belzaguy. Bobby Bluehouse opens. Stop by after the races at Santa Anita, if you have any money left. At Arcadia Blues Club, 16 E. Huntington Drive, Arcadia 91006; 8pm; (626) 447-9349; www.arcadiabluesclub.com.
Sat. Feb. 1 -- Distorted lap-steel guitarist Paul Lacques' rockin' instrumental terrorists Double Naught Spy Car (midnight) cap a bill with Something Died in Memphis (11pm) and Sweet and Cruel (10pm). At Café NELA, 1906 Cypress Ave., Glassell Park 90065; beer & wine.
Sat. Feb. 1 -- Bassist Nick Rosen returns to the stage where he made his first public epiphanies with the likes of Henry Grimes and the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra. Dunno what his gig is tonight, but he's a soulful musician. At the World Stage, 4344 Degnan Blvd., Leimert Park 90008; 8:30pm; cheap; www.theworldstage.org.
Sun. Feb. 2 -- Is there overlap between fans of football and fans of Alex Cline? Watch for telltale guacamole stains on audience members as the drummer's driving yet elevated Band of the Moment contends with the aftermath of Super Bowl Sunday; the group features the cream of L.A. abstractionists, including trumpeter John Fumo, violinist Jeff Gauthier, and keyboardists Wayne Peet & David Witham. Electronically augmented trumpeter Jeff Kaiser, always a fun tripper, opens. At Center for the Arts, 2225 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock 90041; 7pm; $10; (626) 795-4989.
Sun. Feb. 2 -- Here's a rare event: Superbassist Mark Dresser teams with primordial Dutch avant drummer Han Bennink (pictured), frequent Bennink collaborator Mary Oliver (violin) and plugged-in trombonist Michael Dessen. This one oughta take you back to about 1970. 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.
Tues. Feb. 4 -- And: I'm rubbing my eyes. Can it really be that melodic intellectual trumpeter Ralph Alessi is bringing his Baida Quartet (recent disc on ECM) to this little club? I mean, the group includes not only the extremely in-demand pianist Jason Moran, but one of my favorite bassists & composers, Drew Gress, AND perennial Moran drum pal Nasheet Waits. I dunno, maybe there'll be a substitution here or there, but if ANY of these guys show up, it's gonna be excellent. 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.
Tues. Feb. 2 -- Sunset Metal Meltdown II presents long-running SoCal powermetalmen (with the biggest drum set west of the Azores) Cage, plus Anger As Art, Brain Dead, Rogue Stallion, Kaustik. No, this has nothing to do with JOHN Cage. Or Nicolas. At House of Blues, 8430 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood 90069; 7pm; $10; 9pm; (323) 848-5100; www.livenation.com.
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