JO MERSA MARLEY
The grandson of reggae legend Bob Marley, Jo Mersa Marley is part of the next generation of musicians in a family whose musical legacy shows no signs of diminishing. Blending dancehall, reggae, R&B and EDM, the eldest son of Stephen Marley is making a name for himself as an adventurous artist in his own right. As he told Rolling Stone, “I am one of the new generation of Marleys, but I am still experimenting at the same time … My plan is to do something new with my roots.” CAT JOHNSON
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $12/adv, $15/door. 423-1338.
Cuban-born trumpeter Arturo Sandoval has been an international force ever since he helped make Irakere the most influential Latin American jazz ensemble of the 1970s. His solo career really took off when he fled his homeland and settled in the U.S., where he was championed by modern jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie. A brass virtuoso with an ebullient stage persona, Sandoval is also an accomplished pianist who’s been known to sing a tune or two during his performances. Now based in Los Angeles, his band is stocked with well-traveled veterans. ANDREW GILBERT
INFO: 7 and 9 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $35/adv, $40/door. 427-2227.
Wally Joyner rocks pretty hard, with influences like Guided By Voices and Dinosaur Jr. The dual guitar work is nuanced and layered with intricate harmonies and unexpected chord changes. It’s lively, immediate rock, but lush nonetheless. You can get lost in the subtle melodies underpinning the songs. Here’s hoping for a new album soon by this talented local quartet. AARON CARNES
INFO: 9 p.m. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8. 429-6994.
Born Richell Bonner in Kingston, Jamaica, Richie Spice is a heavyweight in the international reggae scene. The Rastafari singer has been touring worldwide since the late 1990s, and is well known for his positive, inspiring messages of empowerment. In 2007, Richie’s hit single “Youths Dem Cold” made the Billboard Top 100 chart; the song’s lyrics capture the singer’s signature style and consciousness: “If education is the key, then tell me why the bigger heads make it so expensive for we?” KATIE SMALL
INFO: 9 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $25/adv, $30/door. 479-1854.
AKI KUMAR BLUES BAND
East meets West in San Jose’s Aki Kumar Blues Band, a unique blend of Indian pop and Chicago blues. Born and raised in Mumbai, singer Aki Kumar grew up listening to Bollywood music; he moved to Silicon Valley at age 18 to become a software engineer, but discovered the harmonica instead. Think a Hindu Howlin’ Wolf with Little Walter’s chops. KS
INFO 9 p.m. The Pocket, 3102 Portola Drive, Santa Cruz. $7. 475-9819.
An absolute original, blues guitarist and vocalist Ana Popovic has single-handedly put Serbian blues on the map for American audiences. Born in Belgrade, Popovic, who now calls Memphis home, is an award-winning guitar shredder blending elements of the music from her homeland with the energy and fire of the contemporary blues scene. A standout of the genre, Popovic recently released Trilogy, a collection of 23 blues, jazz and funk tunes spanning three CDs. CJ
INFO: 8 p.m. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $18/adv, $22/door. 479-1854.
SMOOTH HOUND SMITH
Based in East Nashville, Smooth Hound Smith is a hard-rocking Americana roots duo comprised of Zack Smith on guitars, vocals, foot drums, harmonica and banjo, and Caitlin Doyle on vocals and percussion. With an attention-grabbing sound that combines garage rock, blues, folk and soul, the duo balances the edgy progressiveness of a rock band with an obvious respect for well-established genres and styles. Currently mid-tour with the Dixie Chicks, Smooth Hound Smith is taking a break to play a handful of West Coast venues, including Don Quixote’s. CJ
INFO: 7 p.m. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy. 9, Felton. $10. 335-2800.
The setting for Mystery Lights’ video “Melt” is at (semi) local record store Vinyl Revolution, down in Monterey County. These guys are from Brooklyn. So the point here is that this band knows a good remnant from the psychedelic ’60s when they see one. And owner Bob Gamber plays a prominent role in the video, greeting guests and tripping out on the neon flashing colors sparkling from the Mystery Lights’ record sleeve. Without even hearing the music, you would correctly guess that the music is filled with heavy doses of reverb, droning organs, and proto-punk drum beats. It’ll bring you right back to the surreal ’60s—or if you were born after the decade, it’ll give you an honorary guest pass. AC
INFO: 9 p.m. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $8/adv, $12/door. 429-4135.
IN THE QUEUE
Chilean Afrobeat group makes its Santa Cruz debut. Wednesday at Moe’s Alley
SISTER SPARROW & THE DIRTY BIRDS
Funk and rock out of Brooklyn. Thursday at Moe’s Alley
Rap and alternative hip-hop out of Malibu. Saturday at Catalyst
CAROLYN SILLS COMBO
Local classic country standout pays tribute to Patsy Cline. Saturday at Don Quixote’s
British rock guitar legend. Monday at Kuumbwa