String-driven creatures

Aaron Kerr calls his Dissonant Creatures ensemble “a realization of my best work as a composer and a musician.” The hornless septet features Kerr as one of two cellists, also with a pair of guitarists, a bass and a mandolin playing alongside drums (with members doubling on percussion and keys). It’s a veteran outfit, with three albums’ worth of material, much of it stemming from Kerr’s 2006 McKnight Fellowship. They play what has become an increasingly trendy mix of modern classical and free jazz, but with a heavy metal filigree. (8 p.m. Wed., Black Dog, St. Paul, donations accepted,

Ethan Iverson’s swan song

When the Bad Plus performed with guitarist Bill Frisell at the Walker this fall, pianist Ethan Iverson felt like the odd man out of an otherwise glorious event. For years, the trio has closed the calendar with extended engagements at both the Dakota and New York’s Village Vanguard. This time, those gigs mark Iverson’s departure from the band. Expect a poignant, bittersweet vibe — and fabulous music, of course. (7 & 9 p.m. Wed.-Sat., Dakota, Mpls., $40-$45,

George Winston’s Spring

George Winston epitomizes the pros and cons of music variously described as “smooth jazz” or “new age.” While he is best known for sleek and serene grooves, Winston also has a facility for New Orleans stride and jazz-pop song constructions. His annual holiday gigs fill the seats of Orchestra Hall, and the bins where attendees donate items to the local food shelf. Along with holiday songs, Winston will play new material from “Spring Carousel,” written during the time of his 2015 bone marrow transplants, with all the album’s proceeds benefiting cancer research. (8 p.m. Fri., Orchestra Hall, Mpls., $40,

A different John Raymond trio

Trumpeter/flugelhornist John Raymond comes home to the Twin Cities more often now that he’s teaching in Indiana rather than living in NYC. He usually comes with his Real Feels Trio, which has an affinity for classical Americana and Radiohead covers. This time, though, Raymond will play with an ensemble dubbed the John Raymond Standards Trio, with stalwart locals Phil Hey on drums and Graydon Peterson on bass. That leaves the set list wide open and the odds of inventive execution very high. (8 p.m. Fri., Jazz Central, Mpls., $10,