Jazz, Lounge, & Cabaret

8 Legged Monster Plays Sun Ra

When: Thu., Jan. 14, 7 p.m. 2010

Guitarist Mike Irwin Johnson has an exhaustive knowledge of 20th-century jazz bandleaders, from Ellington and Count Basie to the Afro-futurists. Johnson's own band, a six-horn combo called 8 Legged Monster (so named because it once comprised four horns and a four-man rhythm section), often recalls older bebop traditions, even though its repertoire features mostly original material. Still, the old masters sometimes bubble up to the surface. One such influence is free-jazz leader Sun Ra, whose ghost visited 8 Legged's 2009 album, Vol. 2, in the form of a Sun Ra-ish arrangement of the tune "Saturn." He'll receive a more generous tribute on Thursday, Jan. 14, when 8 Legged Monster plays an entire concert of "intergalactic" compositions at Amnesia (853 Valencia St., San Francisco). With an all-star lineup that includes trumpeter Mike Olmos, drummer Jaz Sawyer, trombonist Danny Grewen, and reeds player Rob Barics, it should be the hot ticket of the week. Plus a special screening of Sun Ra's film Space is the Place. 7 p.m., $5. 8LeggedMonster.com

Rachel Swan

Price: $5

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