Creative takes on holiday classics

Saxophonist Tim Warfield put out the “Jazz Christmas” album four years ago, featuring national artists treating familiar carols such as “Little Drummer Boy,” “O Christmas Tree” and “Silent Night” with rigor. Five of the album’s original seven are in town, including Stefon Harris on vibes, drummer Clarence Penn, pianist Cyrus Chestnut and vocalist Joanna Pascale. Bassist Eric Wheeler and trumpeter Jason Palmer round out the ensemble. (7 & 9 p.m. Thu., Dakota, Mpls.; $25-$40, ­

Latest from Davu Seru

Drummer Davu Seru leads so many bands, it’s hard to keep track. But one of his latest seems especially promising. Still nameless, it’s a quartet with rapper/spoken-word artist Joe Horton (No Bird Sing) , keyboardist deVon Gray (dVRG of Heiruspecs) and bassist extraordinaire Josh Granowski. Expect a powder keg of wit, beats and cogitative wisdom. (9 p.m. Thu., Reverie, Mpls.;

Twin Cities Jazz Sampler II

A CD release party for the Twin Cities Jazz Sampler II is a great excuse for three local headliners to perform on the same night. That would be the Illicit Sextet (at 7:30 p.m.), Cory Healey’s Beautiful Sunshine Band (8:30 p.m.) and Mississippi (10 p.m.). The common thread is strong, diverse songwriting. (7:30 p.m. Sat., at Black Dog, St. Paul; donations accepted, saturdaynightjazzat

A promising young ensemble

Ashen Fir is a young quartet with a light and spry attack. Cellist Greg Byers is the primary soloist and pairs well with keyboardist Jack Barrett, whose phrases are as diaphanous as a vibraphonist’s. Charlie Bruber fills space with a big tone on acoustic bass, and Pete Quirsfeld peppers the mix on drums. (8:30 p.m. Mon., Jazz Central, Mpls.; $5-$10, ­