Banjo player Mike Marlin has assembled an all-star cast of forward-looking improvisers including trumpeter Jim Knodle, bassist Mark Collins, clarinetist Jesse Canterbury, Troy Grugett on alto sax, and percussionist Bob Rees. Expect swampy swing and meditative arrangements from this supple sextet. Polestar Music Gallery, 1412 18th Ave at E Union, 329-4224, 8 pm, $6.
SEATTLE COMPOSERS SALON
A monthly, informal presentation of new music by Seattle composers, the salon features finished works, previews, and works-in-progress. Composer and emcee Tom Baker has rounded up acoustic and electronic works by Brad Anderson, Linda Antas, Len Bassham, Gavin Borchert, Elizabeth Falconer, Doug Palmer, and yours truly, who rips off the Beatles. Soundbridge at Benaroya Hall, Second & Union, 215-4747, 8 pm, $5.
Guest vocalist Anne Azema joins Medieval Strings for a concert of medieval songs and instrumental music. This intriguing program focuses on troubadour and trouvère songs, the Laude repertoire as well as 14th-century English and French polyphony. Bethany Lutheran Church, 7400 Woodlawn Ave NE, 325-7066, 8 pm, $15/$10.
CAMP NIRVANA STRING QUARTET
Granted, summer music camp is a rite of passage for young classical musicians, but why make the kids get up at 9:00 a.m. to play string quartets by Haydn, Beethoven, Grieg, and Dvorák? After all, music is mostly a nocturnal profession. Maybe they're testing the kids' chops the morning after a late-night gig. Bastyr University, 14500 Juanita Dr NE, 425-602-3265, 9 am, $12/$6.
Avant clarinetist Jesse Canterbury pays tribute to his musical roots and mentors. This eclectic program includes several solo improvisations, an arrangement for double clarinet of Eric Dolphy's "Something Sweet, Something Tender," and performances of two of clarinet legend William O. Smith's compositions for solo clarinet: "Five Fragments" and "Epitaphs." For the second set, percussionist Bob Rees and others join Canterbury to play new compositions and offer new takes on the work of Franz Schubert and Claude Debussy. Polestar Music Gallery, 1412 18th Ave at E Union, 329-4224, 8 pm, $6.
The Titlewave Reading Series corrals exploratory authors and musicians. On the bill: authors Stacey Levine, Christine Felton, and Doug Nufer, and cellist/ composer/improviser/ Black Cat Orchestra co-honcho Lori Goldston. Titlewave Books, 7 Mercer St (lower Queen Anne), 282-7687, 7:30 pm, free.
A rotating cast of Origin Records musicians, along with students, up-and-comers, and visiting dignitaries, participate in a weekly jam session. This week, saxophonist Rick Mandyck, bassist Jeff Johnson, and drummer Matt Jorgensen chair the proceedings. Tula's, 2214 Second Ave, 443-4221, 8 pm, $6.
ARNOUX + JAMES DAVIS
This touring trio from Nebraska and California improvise with an array of traditional and non-traditional instruments: prepared and tabletop guitars, reeds, strings, percussion, magnetized tools, household utensils, and assorted electronics. Coffee Messiah, 1554 E Olive Way, 861-8233, 8 pm, free.