THURSDAY MAY 5



RADIO RHYTHM ORCHESTRA

Longtime Seattle bandleader Pete Leinonen leads a sextet specializing in light, lilting swing. New Orleans Restaurant, 114 First Ave S, 622-2563, 7 pm, free.

DEGENERATE ART ENSEMBLE

Departing for a tour of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Germany, the DAE strips down to a quartet but brings along an orchestra of instruments anyway, including accordion, percussion, brass kazoo, a "panthrastic cello/harp," trumpet, marimba, and a "cuckoo air-powered piano organ." Johnny + The Primordial Poo, another sub-group of the Monktail Creative Music Concern, and Amy Denio share what will likely be an uproarious bill. Rendezvous, 2320 Second Ave, 441-5823, 10:30 pm, $5-$15 sliding scale.

FRIDAY MAY 6



CIPHER

A solid bet for articulate, brooding, freely improvised music, this winning quartet--Tari Nelson-Zagar (violin), Tom Swafford (violin), Greg Sinibaldi (bass clarinet), and Jesse Canterbury (clarinets)--teams up with Doug Haire, who insinuates his legendary collection of location recordings into the mix. Gallery 1412, 1412 18th Ave at E Union St, 322-1533, 8 pm, $5-$15 sliding scale donation.

SATURDAY MAY 7



LES CONTES D'HOFFMAN

Until now, I've steered clear of the featherweight music of Offenbach (1819-1880), but any opera that begins with a chorus of invisible spirits singing "Glug, glug, glug, I am beer…" merits a second look. Also Wed May 11, Fri May 13, Sat May 14, Wed May 18, Fri May 20, and Sat May 21; matinees are Sun May 8 and Sun May 22 at 2 pm. Students (or those with Photoshop chops, a good printer, and a laminator) can catch the May 22 date for $15. McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St, 389-7676, 7:30 pm, $42-$129.

OPUS 7 VOCAL ENSEMBLE

Celebrated choral maestro Dale Warland guest-conducts a passel of music including pieces by James MacMillan, Howard Hanson, Krzysztof Penderecki, Compline Choir honcho Peter Hallock, and the premiere of John Muehleisen's "Ascendit." St. James Cathedral, 804 Ninth Ave, 782-2899, 8 pm, $20/$25, students pay as able.

GRETA MATASSA QUINTET

Matassa, a sassy vocalist with a commanding set of pipes, sings standards, old chestnuts, and snazzy originals. With special guest tenor saxophonist Richard Cole. Tula's, 2214 Second Ave, 443-4221, 8:30 pm, $12.

SUNDAY MAY 8



FRIEZE OF LIFE

This smart chamber jazz sextet celebrates the release of Nuclear Frog Pond (FOL). I'm still digesting the disc, but I like what I hear so far: Byron Vannoy's bash-it-all drumming propelling the swooning, siren brass of "Moose Knuckles" and the tentative feints and parries woven through "Claude et Eric." Dirt-cheap cover charge includes the CD. Highly recommended. Rendezvous, 2320 Second Ave, 441-5823, 7 pm, $5.

WEDNESDAY MAY 11



ORPHÉE AUX ENFERS

Yet more Offenbach. The operetta Orpheus in the Underworld parodies the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Sung in French by UW School of Music students with the dialogue in English. Also Fri May 13 at 7:30 pm and Sun May 15 at 3 pm. Meany Theater, UW Campus, 543-4880, 7:30 pm, $15/$20.

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