Fri.-Sun. Aug. 15-17 -- Piano legend Chick Corea (Miles Davis, Return to Forever, everything else) returns with an album and band called "The Vigil," a crazed and inspired flashback to his '70s fusion days. This version of the group retains the especially poundiferous drums of Marcus Gilmore (grandson of skins god Roy Haynes), the penetrating sax of Tim Garland and the shreddin' guitar of Charles Altura, while substituting bass phenom Carlitos Del Puerto. Don't expect to doze. At Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood 90028; 8:30 & 10:30pm; $25-$50; (323) 466-2210; www.catalinajazzclub.com.
Sat. Aug. 16 -- The bass-drums-pipa trio of Michael Manring, Christopher Garcia & Jie Ma say they want to create unprecedented music, and with the multicultural resources at their disposal, coupled with their deep experience (Spastic Ink, Grandmothers, etc.) and their boundless imaginations, that's probably gonna happen. A presentation of lthe Carriage House Concert Series at 1215 Garfield Ave., South Pasadena 91030; 8pm; $20 (students & seniors $10). Also Sunday at Alva's Showroom in Long Beach.
Sat. Aug. 16 -- Which dominates in Billy Childs, the keyboard skill or the compositional originality? I'll go with the latter, but it's close, as multi-awarded Childs conscripts an all-star quartet featuring bassist Reggie Hamilton, drummer Joey Heredia and saxist Bob Sheppard. At the Baked Potato, 3787 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Studio City 91604; 9:30 & 11:30pm; $25; (818) 980-1615; www.thebakedpotato.com.
Sat. Aug. 16 -- Nick Mancini writes and plays vibraphone within and beyond tradition, and he won't make your dad mad, either, especially when he plays the tunes of Gerry Mulligan, Cal Tjader et al. with his West Coast Cool Quartet, featuring alto man Allen Mezquida, bassist Alex Frank and drummer Jake Reed. At Vitello's Restaurant, 4349 Tujunga Ave., Studio City 91604; 8pm; $20; (818) 769-0905; www.vitellosjazz.com.
Sun. Aug. 17 -- Nick Mancini grabs a quartet tonight; dunno if it's the same dudes. Call to confirm the gig, since it ain't on the bar's web site. At Seven Grand Whiskey Bar, 515 W. 7th St., second floor, downtown 90014; 10pm; no cover; www.sevengrandbars.com; (213) 614-0736.
Sun. Aug. 17 -- Artistically expanding pianist Motoko Honda essays a chamber concept with a superb trio including coolly passionate saxist Beth Schenck and distilled avant trumpeter Kris Tiner (9pm). The talent-loaded evening concludes with the fearless intensity of Walsh Set 5, featuring clarinetist Brian Walsh plus bassist Colin Burgess, guitarist Alex Noice (always dig his edge), violinist Eric Km Clark and violist Andrew McIntosh (10:30). Just cuz there's no drums don't mean it won't kick. 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; 21+; parking $5 underneath off Second Street at the sign of the P in a circle; (213) 620-0908; www.bluewhalemusic.com.
Tues. Aug. 19 -- Matt Pike, the rawest vocalist and guitarist on the post-stoner heavy-rock scene, ignites High on Fire; Arctic opens. At the EchoPlex, 1154 Glendale Blvd., Echo Park 90026; doors 8pm; FREE, first come, first served; all ages; www.attheecho.com.
Tues. Aug. 19 -- If you want it really slow, really dark and really heavy, try Portland doomsters Usnea (on the reliable Relapse Records). With Augurs, Destroy Judas, Dead Chaplain. At Five Star Bar, 267 S. Main St., downtown 90012; 9pm; $10; fivestarbardtla.com; (323) 428-4492. [[This info is from the band's site, but call the bar, cuz Relapse's mailing has Usnea at 7th Street Warehouse with the fine black-metal band Exhausted Prayer.]]
Wed. Aug. 20 -- Lookit the band Kneebody saxist Ben Wendel has assembled: saxist Walter Smith III, bassist John Clayton (the Clayton-Hamilton majorman) and drummer Mark Ferber, established masters all. 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.
Thurs. Aug. 21 -- Tom Harrell is the kind of trumpeter who doesn't conflate "mainstream" with "boring," especially when he's enlisting rubbery bass beauty (and truetoned singer) Esperanza Spalding, bassist Ugonna Okegwo (whose downtown fibrous vibe I always admired with Leon Parker), tenor man Wayne Escoffery, altoist Jaleel Shaw and drummer Johnathan Blake. A presentation of the Jazz Bakery's Movable Feasts at the Colburn School's Zipper Hall, 200 S. Grand Ave., downtown 90012; one show 8:30pm; $35; www.jazzbakery.org.
LATE ADD: Thurs. Aug. 21 -- The heart meets the spirit when The Jeff Gauthier Goatette takes off on its beautiful space-shuttle ride with the violinist-leader plus trumpeter John Fumo, keyboardist David Witham, bassist Scott Walton and crucial drummer Alex Cline. Read my live review from a couple years ago here. At the Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., West L.A. 90024; 8pm; FREE; (310) 443-7000; www.hammer.ucla.edu.
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