Controversy continues to rage over Stan Kenton, the jazz big-band leader who would have been 100 years old this week. The uproar stems not only from his daughter’s allegations that Kenton, who died of alcoholism-related causes in 1979, sexually assaulted her as a child; the pianist and composer remains artistically controversial, too. Was his “neophonic” concept that of a visionary artist, or an eccentric kitschmeister? There’s consensus on at least one point: Kenton was unique. He had an ambitious ear for brass orchestrations, a flair for the “exotic” (especially Latin rhythms), and a weakness for compositions and arrangements that flouted convention. For jazz educators, these have become irresistible, challenging puzzles for students, and that’s part of why Kenton’s cult includes generations of formally trained musicians. It also explains how the Atlas jazz series ended up with a 19-piece orchestra, paying tribute to him one day before his actual centennial. Controversial or not, neophonics lives on. The Stan Kenton centennial celebration begins at 8 p.m. at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. $20. (Michael J. West)
Deathfix! This band features a bunch of local rock heavies: Brendan Canty (Fugazi), Devin Ocampo (Medications, and Rich Morel (Morel). There’s one song on the group’s Facebook page, “Low Lying Dreams,” and it’s a creepy, piano-centered slow burner. 8 p.m. at Black Cat Backstage with Sunwolf. $8.
The second of two Beirut shows this week is, of course, sold out. But if you manage to get scalper tickets to this show by the accordion-happy indie-folk singer, check out our interview with his opener, Perfume Genius. 7 p.m. at 9:30 Club.
The excellent D.C. Music Salon series explores The Bayou, the shuttered Georgetown rock club. 7 p.m. at the Watha T. Daniel Library in Shaw. Free.
Correction: This event takes place Dec. 15, not Dec. 14.
Al Jaffee, MAD Magazine‘s reigning master of the Snappy Answer to Stupid Questions, speaks at the D.C. Jewish Community Center. The 89-year-old cartoonist is still doing the Fold-Ins at the back of MAD, where he has appeared for every issue but one since 1964, which is before most of the City Paper staff was born. Jaffee will be discussing his autobiography, Al Jaffee’s Mad Life, co-authored with Mary-Lou Weisman. 7:30 at the DCJCC. $10. (Mike Rhode)