Smashing Carp strikes again

George Cartwright’s Smashing Carp can be guttural, mystic, beautiful, clownish, visceral and bittersweet over the course of a 15-minute trip. Cartwright likes to untwist his saxophone lines via squeaks and moans until they are hovering, extended, breathy notes (or vice versa). His three cohorts know the terrain and their unique instrumentation — vibes, cello and trumpet — triple the intrigue and the fun. (9 p.m. Thu., Khyber Pass, St. Paul, $5, kyberpasscafe.com)

Sousaphones for the speakeasy

Grand Marquis is a Kansas City septet specializing in that time when blues and Prohibition-era jazz were the hot sounds. While the group has more than a few records out, including a 7-inch vinyl created at legendary Sun Studios, their jive-heavy live show is the best way to catch them, as horns, drums, guitar and vocals all get their due. (9 p.m. Fri., Vieux Carre, St. Paul, $15-$18, vieux-carre.com)

‘Handpicked’ for jazz guitar

Earl Klugh’s latest record, 2013’s “Handpicked,” features solo performances of standards including the theme song from “Alfie” and the Beatles’ “If I Fell.” Klugh can over-luxuriate in “smooth jazz,” but genre designations disappear when the music stems purely from his fingers and the nylon strings of his acoustic guitar. (7 & 9:30 p.m. Fri. & Sat., Dakota, Mpls., $32-$45, dakotacooks.com)

Elite jazz pianist

When it comes to pianists working in a classic jazz trio setting, Brad Mehldau joins the likes of Keith Jarrett and Bill Charlap among the elite. After a foray into electronics, Mehldau reunited with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard for last year’s “Blues and Ballads,” featuring songs such as the Beatles’ “And I Love Her” and the mid-20th-century standard “Since I Fell For You.” Here’s a group that manages to be cerebral and sentimental all at once. (7 & 9 p.m. Sun. & Mon., Dakota, Mpls., $25-$50, dakotacooks.com)

Britt Robson