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Music Picks: Shelby Lynne, Marsha Ambrosius, John Scofield Quartet, Wiz Khalifa 

Also, Leon Russell, Chris Brown, Azar Lawrence Quintet and others

Thursday, Oct 13 2011
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fri 10/14

Kneebody

BLUE WHALE

click to enlarge PHOTO BY AUTUMN DEWILDE - The Secret Sisters: See Wednesday.
  • PHOTO BY AUTUMN DEWILDE
  • The Secret Sisters: See Wednesday.

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This erstwhile L.A.-based band continues to roll. From their recent Grammy nomination for their Charles Ives collaboration with Theo Bleckman, to their latest masterpiece, titled You Can Have Your Moment, they continue to raise the bar beyond the reach of everyone else in terms of their technical and artistic acumen, and their focus on sound production usually is found only on studio albums by those who don't do jazz. Saxophonist Ben Wendel, trumpeter Shane Endsley, keyboardist Adam Benjamin, bassist Kaveh Rastegar and drummer Nate Wood are among the elite on their instruments, which makes their reunions especially mind-blowing. Their three-day residency starts Friday, so beware: If you go even once, you might need to adjust your weekend plans. —Gary Fukushima

Shelby Lynne

MCCABE'S

After working with top-tier session dudes for 2008's Just a Little Lovin' and a handful of her homies for last year's Tears, Lies, and Alibis, Shelby Lynne made her new album all by herself at her home studio. Part of that decision no doubt is attributable to Lynne's declining commercial fortunes since her late-'90s/early-'00s peak, when the country veteran landed a couple of tunes on the Bridget Jones's Diary soundtrack. (One of those, "Killin' Kind," is as fine a love song as you'll ever hear.) But the operational retrenchment hasn't been accompanied by an artistic one; Revelation Road uses smaller-scale settings to enrich smaller-scale stories. "I don't need a reason to cry," Lynne sings at one point, and so she doesn't. Also Sat. —Mikael Wood

Enslaved

TROUBADOUR

These gnarly Norwegians are all about roots. Celebrating 20 years as a band with their current North American tour, they're both a living homage to Norway's now-mythologized early black-metal scene and the pioneering epitome of so-called Viking metal, which itself reaches back into centuries of Scandinavian folk music and Norse legend. But if Enslaved have one eye on heritage, the other is on distant horizons, with heroically galloping rhythms and progressive structures framing expressions of utter damnation (bassist Grutle Kjellson's withering croak) and airy optimism (keysman Herbrand Larsen's relatively angelic interjections). Last year's Axioma Ethica Odini tempers its furnace-blast guitars with contemplative interludes and wads of keys, yet still suggests nostalgia for the disciplined fury of Enslaved's first couple of albums. See, it's that roots thing again. —Paul Rogers

Azar Lawrence Quintet

Seabird Jazz Lounge

Azar Lawrence is an L.A. native who's charted an unusual musical career. At age 20, he was a phenom in the band of John Coltrane's pianist McCoy Tyner, his stylistic similarities to Coltrane drawing both praise and criticism. In the mid-'70s he joined the band of Miles Davis and played with trumpeters Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw, but then personal issues saw Lawrence largely depart the jazz scene for more than two decades. He re-emerged half a dozen years ago in L.A., often working with veteran local pianist Nate Morgan. Since Morgan's stroke in late 2008, Lawrence has been spending more time on the road but mostly on the East Coast. Be there tonight and experience a saxophone voice that will remind you of A Love Supreme like no one else. —Tom Meek

Also playing:

E-40 at Key Club; RED SIMPSON at Viva; TECH N9NE at the Roxy; BARBARA MANNING, CIRCE LINK at Taix; FOO FIGHTERS at the Forum; TRMRS, COSMONAUTS at Catnap; TV GHOST, THE FUSE, DEAD MEAT, LA GHOST at Blue Star.

 

sat 10/15

Mayer Hawthorne

THE ROXY

Beneath that cocksure swagger and those slinky, doo-wop grooves Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. would have labeled "soul bubble gum," Detroit's Mayer Hawthorne is a hip-hop head with an affinity for sizzling funk. Since Andrew Mayer Cohen left his past life as soul-sampling DJ Haircut — now going full force with the Mayer Hawthorne shtick, thanks to his breakout album, A Strange Arrangement — he's found a way to meld his retro-soul inclinations with a new-school, hip-hop attitude. "From the moment that I met you I thought you were fine, so fine/But your shitty fuckin' attitude has got me changing my mind," he whispers on "The Walk," the first single off his new LP, How Do You Do. Hawthorne might make you swoon, but this Motor City mouth is no featherweight. —Dan Hyman

Bryan Ferry

GREEK THEATRE

One tends to forget the utterly strange thrill it was hearing Bryan Ferry's audacious warble on that first Roxy Music album, or gawking at the band in their mylar spacesuits, pompadours, mascara and EMS synths. Ferry famously streamlined his persona over the years in solo outings that spotlighted his suave figure lounging about, ruing the past and fending off femmes fatales drawn to the ageless allure of the world-weary dreamer. Amid a familiar haze of languidly thumping groove you'll find Ferry gazing out to sea as he performs songs from his latest album, Olympia (yes, that's Kate Moss on the cover), a slightly more upbeat thing done in collaboration with the likes of Brian Eno, Phil Manzanera and Andy Mackay of Roxy Music, Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, the Scissor Sisters and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead. Perhaps he'll throw in the odd Lennon or Dylan cover as well. (Sigh ...) In any event, you know it shall be done with consummate style, grace, wit and élan. —John Payne

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