Critic's Choice for the week of December 4-10, 2002 

Elastic-voiced electronica at Du Nord, Timbalero at Roccapulco, a classical three-o at the City Club, and jazz improv at the Finger Palace.

ROCK

The classically trained, Yale-educated, and LA-livin' Mia Doi Todd has made her reputation on brainy lyricism and a deep, elastic voice. The electronic rework of her song "Digital" was the standout track on the 2001 Dublab Presents: Freeways comp, and Todd's latest album, The Golden State (also her first for Columbia/Sony), finds her foraying even further away from her earlier, minimalist folk approach. See how it translates live, Monday at Cafe Du Nord. Alice Peacock also performs. 415-861-5016. (Stefanie Kalem)

LATIN

Timbalero-bandleader Eric Rangel is a 20-year veteran of the Bay Area salsa scene, even gracing legendary bands like Conjunto Cespedes. Now leading his own Orquesta America, he swings a mean stick with a cast that includes singer Ramon "Monchi" Estevez. With old-school salsa, funky timba flavors, and mucho mambo, Rangel and crew drop in on Roccapulco in the San Francisco Mission District this Saturday night. 415-648-6611. (Jesse "Chuy" Varela)

CLASSICAL

The reason so many composers have written especially for the Abel-Steinberg-Winant Trio is its unparalleled ability to convey the emotion and beauty of contemporary music. Monday night at the Berkeley City Club, the trio graces the Berkeley Chamber Performances series with Lou Harrison's Varied Trio, written especially for them, plus music of Dresher, Satoh, and Campion. 510-848-7800. (Jason Serinus)

IMPROVISATION

Berkeley's hot spot for unusual music and unique experiences, Woody Woodman's Finger Palace (on Cedar St. in Berkeley), opens Friday and Saturday night with the amazing duo of trombonist Paul Rutherford and bassist Torsten Muller with Palace habitué Greg Goodman on piano with objets d'intérieur. This is a night for adventurous souls with open minds who want to have fun with art. 510-528-1023. (Larry Kelp)

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