Chicago drummer and composer Damon Short doesn’t throw together many pickup groups; over the last decade he has cultivated a small pool of players who can get inside his unpredictable tunes and complement the busy polyrhythms that flavor his drumming. This group includes two exciting musicians who live out of town and rarely appear on the same stage: reedman Paul Scea, from Iowa, and the mind-blowing trumpeter Paul Smoker, from upstate New York. Scea leads a band with guitarist Steve Grismore that has appeared a few times in Chicago, giving local audiences the chance to sample his tenor solos, which burrow beneath a song’s harmonies, and his particularly effective sweet-and-sour flute work. And the appropriately named Smoker plays with a cerebral fire and asbestos lips: only a handful of modern trumpeters can match his range and stamina, which result in long hard solos of unusual complexity. The rest of Short’s players are Chicagoans: guitarist Jim Yanda, bassist Larry Kohut, bass trumpeter Ryan Shultz, and saxist Chuck Burdelik. Since these guys have appeared fairly regularly with Short–and since most of them (as well as Smoker and Scea) joined in on his 1990 date, All of the Above (Southport), which shone for the quality of their interaction–there’s every reason to expect the practiced precision Short’s music demands. Friday, 8:30 PM, Unity Temple, 875 Lake, Oak Park; 708-383-8873. NEIL TESSER

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Jimmie Jones.