Musicians exchange non-verbal cues as messages when they play together. This is particularly true in music with a sketchy outline. Jazz musicians receive and interpret the cues when performance parts from a regular pattern of rhythm, suggesting that they enjoy a highly developed sensitivity to subtle deviations of rhythm. We demonstrate that pre-attentive brain responses recorded with magnetoencephalography to rhythmic incongruence are left-lateralized in expert jazz musicians and right-lateralized in musically inept non-musicians. The left-lateralization of the pre-attentive responses suggests functional adaptation of the brain to a task of communication, which is much like that of language.