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Battle Trance

From punk-jazz scientists Little Women, his solo record Heart Protector to Ancestral Instrument Trio with bassist Trevor Dunn and drummer Ches Smith, saxophone purveyor Travis Laplante has transcended and melted minds through his cosmic craft. For his latest shape-shifting venture into the unknown, Laplante formed Battle Trance, a monumentally unique all-tenor sax quartet whose just-released Palace of Wind shares the like-minded vision of the spiritual regions he’s explored with Little Women. Its three meditative epics dizzy the senses with a therapeutic, classical-imbued drone- jazz, fusing circular breathing and relentlessly intertwining skronk, making for an intensely Zen experience that is both chaotic and cathartic. Prepare to be transported to the otherworld.

Wed., Sept. 24, 8 p.m., 2014

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Jim Black

An expertise in abstract designs gives the drummer a refreshingly wayward approach to trad time-keeping, but the raucous pummeling and florid crashes that he’s honed into a personal lingo over the last two decades provide his outfits with a sage physicality – it’s not impossible to see him as a Keith Moon of jazz improv. This week’s stretch of shows finds him in duets with percussionist Ches Smith, a trumpet hook up with Peter Evans, a threesome that features pianist Teddy Klausner, and the return of the long gone Bloodcount, the revered ‘90s quartet that includes Tim Berne, Chris Speed and Mike Formanek. Caprice is a bedrock element of the entire program.

March 25-30, 8 & 10 p.m., 2014

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Mary Halvorson Quintet

An ever-changing palimpsest of inside and outside moves that sound equally remarkable in either mode, the complex music produced by this guitarist’s hard-listening group suggests what a Jimi Hendrix jazz project might have sounded like if he’d ever taken the approach seriously. With Jonathan Finlayson (trumpet), Jon Irabagon (alto saxophone), John Hébert (bass), and Ches Smith (drums).

Sat., Jan. 4, 9 p.m., 2014

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‘John Zorn Improv Night’ 2013

Tonight through Sunday, the saxophonist-composer bumps up his no-frills venue’s usual sawbuck ticket price in order to subsidize same. But when you’ve got top-notch players like Ikue Mori (electronics), Ches Smith (drums), Uri Caine (piano), Chuck Bettis (electronics), Nonoko Yoshida (sax), David Watson (guitar), Sylvie Courvoisier (piano), Mark Feldman (violin), and Chris Otto (violin) on hand, why complain? A different lineup will be making it all up from scratch each night.

Wed., Dec. 25, 8 p.m., 2013

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Tim Berne’s Snakeoil

In the last couple years, this Brooklyn quartet has brought its keenly designed tumult to plenty of stages, scrutinizing their music’s nooks and crannies, beveling its sharp edges, and refining its flow. That’s one reason the new Shadow Man is so impressive—the newfound group chemistry is eloquent enough to make the saxophonist/composer’s most hurtling passages wax graceful while still flaunting their turbulence. And the fact that percussionist Ches Smith commandeers an array of mallet instruments this time out has widened their textural palette. Long story short? There’s nothing like ’em anywhere.

Wed., Oct. 16, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m., 2013

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Marc Ribot and Ceramic Dog

“Not a ‘project’: a real band” promises this experimental power trio consisting of Marc Ribot (guitar), Shazad Ismaily (bass, electronics), and Ches Smith (drums). And their fairly recent Your Turn proves it with a lubricious hard-rock frenzy miles beyond their clinkety-clank 2011 debut. It’s also half-instrumental, which is all for the best—sidemen should always get it together so daringly.

Fri., Oct. 4, 9 p.m., 2013

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Tim Berne’s Snakeoil

Released last year and titled after his new quartet, the composer-saxophonist’s first studio album in an unbelievable eight years (on ECM, surprisingly) suggested a set of controlled experiments in carefully calibrated emotional and musical extremes. Oscar Noriega (clarinets), Matt Mitchell (piano), and Ches Smith (drums) have become seasoned fellow travelers alongside Berne, whose constantly unfolding linear compositions serve as roadmaps for fascinating side trips.

May 7-9, 8 & 10 p.m., 2013

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James Carney Trio

The pianist’s horn bands are cagey and seductive, but sometimes they hide the beauty of his keyboard work. This trio with drummer Tom Rainey and bassist Mark Helias should put those skills right up front. There’s a sweet fluidity to Carney’s approach, and even the knottiest moments enjoy a certain flow. It’s a shared bill with percussionist Ches Smith’s trio, another engaging outfit that puts a premium on forward motion.

Tue., Jan. 22, 9 p.m., 2013

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PAST PERFECT

Annie Gosfield is an old-fashioned cutting-edge type of composer: Her music might have nostalgic sources, but it’s never sentimental as she explores the humming, buzzing omnipresence of invisible electronic forces and obsolete technologies. Featuring music from her new Tzadik album Almost Truths and Open Deceptions, tonight’s program includes two works—Lost Signals and Drifting Satellites for violin and electronics and Phantom Shakedown for piano and tape—that pit performers against larger, sometimes overwhelming forces. Cranks and Cactus Needles, featuring Swedish quartet Pearls Before Swine Experience, evokes the clicking, hissing, distorted magnificence of hand-driven gramophones. In EWA7, Gosfield’s trio (with guitarist Roger Kleier and drummer Ches Smith) take an extended semi-improvised ramble through industrial rubble and belligerent noises excavated from the futuristic past.

Fri., Sept. 14, 9 p.m., 2012

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Ches Smith and These Arches

Alto saxophonist Tim Berne (Snakeoil) has joined scrappy drummer Ches Smith’s fray alongside tenor man Tony Malaby, guitarist Mary Halvorson, and accordionist Andrea Parkins. The quintet, which oscillates impishly between form and freedom as grooves simmer underneath the clanging together of disparate sensibilities, will play music from their forthcoming Hammered.

Wed., Aug. 15, 8 p.m., 2012