Editors' pick

Chromatic Mysteries


Editorial Review

A lot of times we get questions in Got Plans? that ask us very general questions about jazz. As in, "Where can I go to hear some jazz?" One of the places we often recommend is Twins Jazz, because it's far less expensive than Blues Alley (what isn't?), it offers a cozy atmosphere and it often features good music with a broad appeal for those who are just looking to spend an evening in a jazz club. Tonight is not one of those nights. Tonight will be a far different experience. That's because Chromatic Mysteries will be taking over the little U Street club, and things are bound to get wacky. The centerpiece of the band is Marshall Allen, who for more than 40 years led the reed section of the otherworldly Sun Ra Arkestra. Pretty much all avant-garde, out-there music with any sort of jazz bent can be connected to Allen in one of those Kevin Bacon ways. (You cannot however, connect the Bacon Brothers to Sun Ra.) Joining Allen in this new venture are Philadelphia multi-instrumental whiz Elliott Levin, the flowingest flutist this side of Ron Burgundy; Michael Gibbons of indie-noisehounds Bardo Pound; and Scott Verrastro, former host of the city's best house show venue and percussionist in Kohoutek. It will be a some sort of evening, for sure. But probably not one for the "my parents are in town and would like a low-key jazz club" crowd.

--David Malitz (Feb. 2009)