Hardboiled Wonderland, the Sacramento-based duo of Percy Howard and Martin Birke, will make a rare live appearance Saturday at Luna's.
The pair are celebrating the release of their album, "As Small as a World and Large as Alone," which actually debuted on Gonzo Multimedia International records last year. Individually, each artist has an armload of international progressive music-making credits.
Vocalist and lyricist Howard has fronted the dark and dense power of Meridiem and NUS, while recording with musical gadfly Bill Laswell.
Keyboardist and composer Birke's eclectic projects include bands Genre Peak, the sandbox trio and Know Hassell, and composing music for the Alvin Ailey dance troupe.
They head a bill at Luna's which includes Moth (from Step Jayne) and Liz Ryder. The music starts at 8 p.m. The cafe is at 1414 16th St., Sacramento.
Tickets are $6. Information: (916) 441-3931
Celebrating Lady Day
Singer Vivian Lee performs a special tribute to Billie Holiday this Sunday in honor of the seminal jazz vocalist's birthday.
Lee and her quartet will honor Holiday with songs associated with the great interpreter's influential career. The singer born as Eleanora Fagan in Philadelphia on April 7, 1915, left a lasting impression on pop and jazz singing through her approaches to phrasing and tempo.
Holiday has been hugely imitated, but her distinctive vocal timbre and tone were one of a kind. Lee, the longtime hostess of Jazz at JB's and one of the area's most popular jazz vocalists, leads a band featuring Aaron Garner on piano, Paul Klempau on bass and Jeff Minnie- weather on drums.
The first set starts at 5 p.m., and tickets are $10 general admission, $5 for children 10 and under.
Call (916) 723-5517 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations. At JB's Lounge Red Lion Hotel, 1401 Arden Way, Sacramento
When I last saw the expansive young drummer Ulysses Owens a couple of months ago, he was leading what felt like a New Orleans second line celebration at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Owens had a right to feel good. He and his bandmates were celebrating the Grammy they had won the night before in the category of best jazz large ensemble recording for "The Good Feeling," with the Christian McBride Big Band.
This weekend, Owens swings through Northern California, dropping into Grass Valley as the driving force behind the Ted Nash Quartet.
Nash, a versatile reed player who'll primarily handle the alto sax on this tour, also holds down a regular gig with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.
Stepping out on his own, Nash has a young, top-flight band with Ron Horton on trumpet, Paul Sikivie on bass, Owens on drums.
They'll play music from Nash's fine new record, "The Creep," which he just released on his own Plastic Sax label.
The Ted Nash Quartet plays at the Center for the Arts, 314 West Main St., at 8 p.m. Saturday. Joe Berry's Reflections band, playing the music of Thelonious Monk, opens.
Tickets are $22. Information: (530) 274-8384, www.thecenterforthearts.org.