Biz Markie Goes Avant Garde With Don Byron

Adding to the surreal feel of the evening, Biz was performing with jazz clarinet virtuoso Don Byron, who explained, "I just had to find the Biz, see if I could find the Biz, put him on my record, because he's one of my idols in popular music. There's no one like him.

I heard of Don, but I hear him now. He's funky!" Biz observed after the two shared the stage.

Putting the evening is its proper musical context, Byron told MTV News, "You know, I never got to play with Coltrane, I never got to play with Stravinsky, I'm playing with the Biz, and I feel like that about it. You the man" [500k QuickTime].

Byron is cooking up a project called "Existential Dread" on which he salutes such non-jazz influences as Jimi Hendrix and the 70's funk band Mandrill, which was often sampled by pioneering rappers like Afrika Bambaata.

Existential Dread" is due out in May, meanwhile you may want to check out his

album "Bug Music," in which he covers, among other things, some of the Raymond Scott tunes heard in "Ren And Stimpy.

Biz also says he's planning a new album as well which may arrive either this year or next. We'll be sure to keep you posted.