Since early 2001, drummer Mike Reed—best known as the organizer of the Pitchfork Music Festival—and cornetist Josh Berman have booked an adventurous program of jazz and improvised music concerts every Sunday night at the charmingly shabby Hungry Brain bar. It’s become one of the most reliable series in town, a showcase for up-and-comers and seasoned vets alike, but ultimately it’s the vibe that sets it apart. For one thing, there’s no cover: the promoters walk around the bar with a wicker bicycle basket soliciting donations. Even more amazing, the crowds—of improv enthusiasts in their 20s, by and large—actually keep quiet and pay attention to the music, a luxury you’ll rarely enjoy at a place like the Empty Bottle. Everyone tends to be friendly—the cheap drinks help, no doubt—and the presentation is so informal it dispels the notion that serious music has to be precious and inaccessible. 2319 W. Belmont, 773-935-2118, emergingimprovisers.com. —Peter Margasak
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