THURSDAY JUNE 30
In this ongoing series, drummer Bennington collaborates with a rotating cast of improvising musicians. This week, reedman Dick Valentine, a stalwart of the late Al Hood's Frog University Players, joins this informal yet intense get-together for Monk tunes and free improvisation. On the House, 1205 E Pike St, 324-3974, 8 pm, donation requested.
VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL
If you can't wait for Earshot's Jazz Festival this fall, consider trekking north for this festival laden with heavies and leavened with promising newcomers. Performers include Evan Parker, Terence Blanchard, Lol Coxhill, Dee Daniels, Roscoe Mitchell, Shemekia Copeland, and Arturo Sandoval. Through Sun July 3. Various venues, check www.coastaljazz.ca for details, $10–$95.
FRIDAY JULY 1
Caroline Kraabel, one-half of the renowned London-based free improvising duo Shock Exchange, starts a weeklong residency. The alto saxophonist and vocalist duets with Na's Kazu Nomura and then joins the trio of Gust Burns (piano, tape recorders), Cristin Miller (voice), and Leif Eric Sundstrom (turntable and percussion). Also Sat Jul 2. Gallery 1412, 1412 18th Ave at E Union St, 322-1533, 8 pm, $5–$15 sliding-scale donation.
SATURDAY JULY 2
OLYMPIC MUSIC FESTIVAL
Held just outside Quilcene on the Olympic peninsula, this festival features chamber music in a rustic setting. This year they're on a Beethoven binge: Quartet in E Flat Major for Piano and Strings, op. 16, Quintet in C Major for Strings, op. 29, and the Trio in B Flat Major for Piano and Strings, op. 97, better known as the "Archduke Trio." Also Sun July 3 at 2 pm. The Barn, Center Rd outside of Quilcene, 527-8839, 2 pm, $12–$24.
MONDAY JULY 4
If you fear the crowds at Gas Works and Myrtle Edwards Parks, but still crave a Fourth of July with classical music, this Eastside celebration attracts a smaller sea of humanity. Conductor Fusao Kajima leads this 60-piece orchestra in a live performance synchronized with fireworks. Bellevue Downtown Park, 10201 NE 4th St, Bellevue, 425-452-4106, 9:30 pm, free.
WEDNESDAY JULY 6
SEATTLE CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY
The second concert of this month-long chamber music festival teems with interesting pieces: Gershwin's winning "Lullaby for String Quartet," Brahms's Quintet for Piano and Strings in F minor, op. 34, and my personal pick, Poulenc's Sonata for Clarinet and Piano. Immune to serialism and other post-war trends, Francis Poulenc (1899–1963) masterfully perfumes this sonata's sunny, strolling melodies with a whiff of sorrow. The middle movement, Romanza, unfurls perhaps the most melancholy clarinet lines I've ever heard. The 7 pm free recital features Bartok's Duos for Two Violins Sz. 98. Lakeside School, 14050 First Ave NE, 283-8808, 8 pm, $16-$38.
PAT METHENY TRIO
This renowned guitarist plays a rare club date with two stellar players: Antonio Sanchez (drums) and Christian McBride (bass). Despite the steep price, tickets for this three-night (September 7–9) stand will likely go fast, so here's an early warning. Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave, 441-9729, sets at 7:30 and 9:30 pm, $49.50.