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Who can resist this exotic tease from the Zonerangers' (pictured) press release: "original music featuring altered states of jazz, world and weird layered-on electro-acoustic soundscapes and grooves with an element of chance." A mouthful, for sure, yet it's the absolute truth. In Jim Crew's chattering keyboards you'll detect bits of retro-fusion a la Herbie Hancock, but you'll also hear some newfangled washes of sound. Meanwhile, the rhythm section--Rick Lassiter and Francis Dyer--pits elastic stand-up bass against ethereal percussion. The duo either floats or funks it up, depending upon the spirit of the moment. Bryan McCune embodies the combo's wildcard element, brandishing a golden horn that blasts through a stack of cool 21st-century effects. Bathed in digital trickery, his cornet flourishes loop and echo and sometimes charge like a herd of ornery pachyderms. For a taste of the band, see www.thezonerangers.com, or cue up their debut CD Twilight (Microscopic Records). Since the group reveals itself live only once in a blue moon, don't miss one of the best-kept secrets on the local improv scene. See them Friday, March 23, at the Carrboro ArtsCenter. Call for 929-2787 for details. --Joe Vanderford

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