1. Shabaka and the Ancestors
Sax upstart Shabaka Hutchings (of psych-jazz trio The Comet Is Coming) leads this group of South African musicians who dig deep into transcendent, interstellar explorations. The group captured its sonic fusion of Sun Ra and Miles Davis on last year’s Wisdom of Elders, and on Thursday 5, the quintet shares a bill with a kindred spirit, sax icon Pharoah Sanders. For its Saturday, January 7 set, the band takes part in the festival’s signature two-night marathon, which hosts shows at 13 downtown venues including Bowery Ballroom, S.O.B.’s and four New School theaters. Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St. Thursday, January 5 at 8pm, Saturday, January 7 at 7:40pm; $35–$45.