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Jazz picks: Nicole Mitchell, Blue Cranes and Sand

Here are two shows well worth a look this weekend. Also of note are the jazz power trio Kandinsky Effect at the Blue Whale on Friday and the Josh Nelson Trio with guitarist Anthony Wilson at Vitello’s on Thursday.

Blue Cranes and Dylan Ryan’s Sand at the Blue Whale

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Portland’s Blue Cranes and local drummer Dylan Ryan’s ensemble Sand lead this meeting of two up-and-coming ensembles pushing at the edge of contemporary jazz on the adventurous label Cuneiform.

The Blue Cranes’ latest album, “Swim,” finds the group’s two front-line saxophones mining a darker, more contemplative vein with production help from the Decemberists’ Nate Query, and Sand splits the difference between widescreen post-rock and the avant-garde adventurousness of John Zorn with the help of bassist Devin Hoff and guitarist Tim Young. The Blue Whale, 123 Astronaut E.S. Onizuka St, Suite 301. Thu., 9 p.m. $15. https://www.bluewhalemusic.com.

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Nicole Mitchell with the UC Irvine Symphony at the Barclay Theatre

One of the most revered players on the Chicago jazz scene, flutist Nicole Mitchell’s most recent album, “Aquarius,” with her latest ensemble, Ice Crystal, is one of the more striking albums of 2013 backed by vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz and drummer Frank Rosaly.

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Mitchell recently relocated West for a faculty position at UC Irvine, which thankfully means we’ll get to enjoy her inventive voice more often. Here she debuts a new 10-part piece in celebration of Harriet Tubman, “Flight for Freedom for Creative Flute and Orchestra,” backed by the UC Irvine Symphony in a program that also includes works by Vaughan Williams and Stravinsky. Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. Fri., 8 p.m. $16. https://www.thebarclay.org.

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