Sporadically bursting into ALL CAPS, what begins as an innocuous e-mail ends up as a film-noir telegram: "On [noun redacted]'s behalf, I respectfully request that YOU not write about [noun redacted]... [Pronoun removed] surprised that you know about [descriptive phrase omitted]. I think you know who's WATCHING us [sequence of verbs excised] and [dependent clause deleted]...."

Sponsored

In the last month, I've received similarly worded e-mails—the missive above is an edited composite—from local music bookers, musicians, and even a record label specializing in obscure-yet-inexpensive limited editions. I'm not surprised: The recent shutdown of shows at Atlas Clothing confirms that law enforcement scans the newspapers regularly.

When I'm told about underground gigs, it's explicitly "off the record," so I can't include them in this column. I can tell you that underground classical, jazz, and (especially) avant shows do transpire in informal, quasi-legal settings. If you're interested, go to the publicized venues and gradually get to know people in the scene—something law enforcement is not likely to do over the long haul. As hunters, "the law" favors easy, adjacent prey: No agency dares waste months staking out dozens of places just to bust an itinerant bassoonist (or power electronics duo) who performs in basements while skirting the city admission tax.

I'm still keeping mum about the aforementioned record label. After sending me the generic "Thank you for your payment" message, their English-speaking assistant tacked on a paragraph explaining their rationale for shunning publicity. Fearing hoarders, they are "anti-collector" and want listeners to discover them by word of mouth. (Ask me in person and I'll tell you more.)

Such a willing surrender to serendipity quietly defies internet-era capitalism, where all products are available to everyone at all times. If music became a quest—one riddled with rumor, speculation, and (mis)informed whispers—and divorced from corporate channels of commerce, might we become better listeners?

Concerts

THURSDAY AUGUST 9

PETER EVANS
Recently pegged by Downbeat magazine as "one to watch," this New York trumpeter ventures where most horn men fear to tread: a solo set. Evans combines the microscopic aspects of post—Bill Dixon trumpeting (microscopic blurts, squeaks, and woozy rasps) with bent notes and achingly sustained tones. The duo of Chris Dadge, a percussionist from Calgary, and Rachel Wadham, a Vancouver, BC—based pianist, open the show. Don't miss it. Gallery 1412, 1412 18th Ave, 322-1533, 8 pm, free but donations accepted.

FRIDAY AUGUST 10

MONKSTONE THEOCRACY
Bill Anschell and company play sweetly discordant and often sentimental tunes by legendary jazz icon Thelonious Monk. Reedman Mike West joins the trio on what might be, aside from the piano, the most Monk-ish of instruments, the bass clarinet. Like the piano, the standard clarinet's serpent-shaped cousin ranges from high notes that shimmer and whine to the low, harrumphing notes that Monk loved so much. Hiroshi's, 2501 Eastlake Ave E, 726-4966, 7:30—10 pm, free.

SCMS SUMMER FESTIVAL
The Redmond arm of the Seattle Chamber Music Society's annual festival concludes with two repertory staples, the Trio for Horn, Violin, and Piano in E-flat major, op. 40 by Brahms and Antonín Dvorák's Trio for Violin, Cello, and Piano in E minor, op. 90. The latter is nicknamed "Dumky" for its melancholy, almost morose, Czech melodies. The free 7 pm recital sports more violin music by J. S. Bach, the Partita for Violin in E Major, BWV 1006. Overlake School, 20301 NE 108th St, Redmond, 425-283-8808, 8 pm, $16—$42.

TUESDAY AUGUST 14

GRETA MATASSA
One of Seattle's finest jazz singers celebrates the release of her latest disc, The Smiling Hour (Origin). Ever the connoisseur of forgotten tunes, Matassa recasts the antique Victor Herbert clinker "Indian Summer" into a strutting swing tune. I'm still not sure what to make of the album's title track, whose odd sonic touches (a wall of voices on the intro as well as a razzing whistle at 4 minutes 47 seconds and tucked in later for the closing fade at 5 minutes 16 seconds) puzzle me. Yet the renditions of "Too Close for Comfort" and "It's Delovely" are prime Matassa. Her sassy, agile phrasing and pliable horn-like scatting would make Ella Fitzgerald, one of Matassa's idols, proud. The Triple Door, 216 Union St, 838-4333, 7:30 pm, $13/$15.

Support The Stranger

WEDNESDAY AUGUST 15

UW SUMMER CHORALE
My vote for classical bargain of the week. This group sings choral works by a grab bag of composers spanning multiple eras and styles, including Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548—1611), Edward Elgar (1857—1934), Eleanor Daley (1955— ), and Philip Glass, who turned 70 this year. Also, members of the UW Summer Orchestra accompany the Chorale in Georg Philipp Telemann's Jesu, meine Freude. Brechemin Auditorium, UW campus, 685-8384, 7 pm, free.

JAZZ: THE SECOND CENTURY
The second installment of this Earshot Jazz series boasts the double bill of the Paul Rucker Ensemble and the Durán/Schloss/Mitri Trio. Fourth Floor Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave N, 7:30 pm, $10.