Thollem/Chase at Union Arts DC Thursday, April 3

Last year, the drummer Brian Chase and the pianist Thollem McDonas (pictured) collaborated with raspy-voiced Half Japanese singer Jad Fair on a project called The Whistling Joy Jumpers, whose album, Surprising Wooden Clocks, sounded like what would happen if you pushed Tom Waits’ band down a steep flight of stairs. In 2014, Chase and McDonas are down to a duo called Thollem/Chase, and though their sound is no less entropic, it has the trappings of something vaguely more intellectual: Ditch the singer and you can call this stuff free jazz. Chase is best known as the drummer of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but these days he mostly indulges in another shade of New York cool, the rigorous yet playful gutter jazz of John Zorn. The constantly touring McDonas, meanwhile, is both an anarchist and a philosopher on the piano, toggling between pure chaos and pure moods. The through-line on their album The Dub Narcotic Session, however, is something you could only call punk—spirited, spit-glued, and never self-serious or self-conscious. Thollem/Chase performs with Laughing Man and Dave Klinger at 8 p.m. at Union Arts DC, 411 New York Ave. NE. $9. unionartsdc.com.

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