Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe with Zach Deputy – Funk, soul and rock. 8 p.m. Sunday at Harlow’s
Singer and sax man Karl Denson is a hard guy to pin down, whether leading the boogie woogie jazz revival with the Greyboy Allstars, dropping some dub soul as a member of Slightly Stoopid, or holding a funk-fest with his own Tiny Universe. Lately, he’s also experimenting with tribute shows, having helmed a Beastie Boys set at last year’s Hangtown Halloween Ball in Placerville.
Sunday night’s “Soul Spectacular Tour” should be a barn-burner, as KDTU tackles the tunes of a blues and R&B legend. Denson and friends will be joined by one-man Calypso funk master Zach Deputy for what is cheekily billed as “a Ray Charles Boogaloo Dance Party.” Doors open at 7 p.m. 2708 J St., Sacramento. $20. www.harlows.com.
Nick Jaina – Folk rock. 9 p.m. Friday at Sophia’s Thai Kitchen
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Something about the honest songs that Nick Jaina writes makes it seem like they’d be better performed for free on a street corner, huddled up under a tarp in the rain and adorned in moth-eaten clothes from the attic. Then again, for a man who has also composed music for the stage and silver screen, a suit and tie and symphony hall would seem to make sense as well.
Jaina is a thinking man’s musician with a wanderlust spirit, channeling songwriters from indie favorites Andrew Bird and Colin Meloy to the indelible Leonard Cohen. Great Wilderness and Awahnichi join the bill for the season finale on the porch at Sophia’s. 129 E St., Davis. $5. www.sophiasthai- kitchen.com.
James McMurtry with Chuck Prophet – Singer/songwriter. 8 p.m. Friday at the Palms
It should be no surprise that revered songwriter James McMurtry is the son of Larry McMurtry, who penned “Lonesome Dove” and “Terms of Endearment.” The younger’s works are laced with threads of romantic spirit and American dreams, but also are cross-stitched with those dark places where we often don’t dare wander.
Bay Area troubadour Chuck Prophet, a quirky and often intense songwriter who finds the missing link between Tom Petty and Beck, joins this tantalizing co-bill. Both artists perform solo. 13 Main St., Winters. $25. (530) 795-1825; www.palmsplayhouse.com.
Looking ahead; Trombone Shorty. Nov. 17, Ace of Spades
The cast of “Treme” gets most of the credit for a recent renaissance of New Orleans jazz; give Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews credit for taking that jazz and puréeing it with funk and high-octane rock and roll. 1417 R St., Sacramento. $37.50. www.aceofspadessac.com.