Critic's Choice for the week of January 19-25, 2005 

Our writers tell you what's hot this week.

CRAZED RAPPERS
Now that ODB has sadly passed, the Batshit Loonball Crazy Emcee Award now passes to ... oh, wait, Kool Keith owned it even while Big Baby Jesus was alive. Keith's staggering number of aliases (space-age gynecologist, crazed supervillain, "Black Elvis") and sublimely erratic flow (both lyrical and behavioral) guarantees that his show Sunday night at SF's DNA Lounge will feature neither a dull nor a particularly rational moment. $15. DNALounge.com (Rob Harvilla)

JAZZ
It's that time again: Legendary pianist McCoy Tyner has returned to Yoshi's for his eleventh annual two-week residency. So let's break it down: Tuesday through Sunday, January 30, Tyner plays with a trio including Stanley Clarke and Billy Cobham. For week two, Tuesday, February 1 through Sunday 6, he'll join Ravi Coltrane on sax, Terence Blanchard on trumpet, Charnett Moffett on bass, and Eric Harland on drums. Check 510-238-9200 or Yoshis.com for times and prices. (j. poet)

MEXICAN DANCE
Friday night's performance and lecture by the colorful folkloric music and dance ensemble Los Cenzontles is the latest in Berkeley outpost Ashkenaz' world music series Taproots. Los Cs specialize in the wide array of music from all of Mexico's various states and regions, and feature both professionals and students from the group's Mexican Arts Center in San Pablo. The concert features three styles of dance and music: Michoacan's pirecuas, rancheras (love songs), and Veracruz' lively son jarocho music. 8 p.m. lecture, 9:30 performance. $15. 510-525-5054 or Ashkenaz.com (Larry Kelp)

BLUES
Janiva Magness is a blues shouter, no doubt: She can holler with the best of 'em. But she has range and control that add nuances missing from many of her contemporaries. She also has a sound all her own, mixing up barroom blues with Delta and R&B. Blues fans should make the trek to SF's Biscuits & Blues Saturday night -- she's worth the trip. 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. $15. 415-292-2583. (Michael Gowan)

WORLD CABARET
Singer-songwriter Lhasa was born in America, raised in Canada, performed with a circus troupe in France, and is named for a city in Tibet, so her eclectic mix of Arab, Asian, Spanish, Gypsy, and Mexican music shouldn't be too surprising. Her smoky alto full of understated passion and her band's moody melodies guarantee an evening of subtle passion and deep mystery. Tonight at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. 8 p.m. $15. 415-885-0750 or MusicHallSF.com (j.p.)

CLASSICAL
Blessed with a gorgeous voice and glamorous looks, soprano Renée Fleming continues to conquer new repertoire despite a disturbing tendency to sing classical music like a jazz chanteuse and jazz like a classical artist gone a-slummin'. Nonetheless, when she's on target, her creamy, undeniably beautiful voice can conquer the most critical amongst us. Pianist Hartmut Hoell accompanies a Zellerbach Hall Sunday program not yet announced. $34-$72, 3 p.m. 510-642-9988. (Jason Victor Serinus)

PHISHY BRITS
What happens when young Britpop scamps morph into a full-blown jam band? Gomez started out orbiting the same sun that lit up and burnt out the Blurs and Oasises (Oasi?) of the world, but with each record these tuneful dudes get trippier, noodlier, groovier. Is it working? Would a three-night stand at the Fillmore convince you? Request "Rhythm and Blues Alibi" Thursday through Saturday. $25, 8 p.m. TheFillmore.com (R.H.)

FRESH SALSA
Percussionist Patricio Angulo is one of the rising talents on the Bay Area Latin music, and tonight he plays the Shattuck Down Low Lounge in Berkeley with his band Quimbombo (which he coleads with trombonist Eli Sada). A rumbero with a firm hand on conga drums, Patricio draws inspiration from Cuba and passes it on to his audience with an excellent repertoire designed to spin you onto the dancefloor. Young, vibrant and strong, Patricio and Quimbombo represent the future of the Bay Area Salsa scene. $10. 510-548-1159 (Jesse "Chuy" Varela)

HIP-HOP LEGENDS I
Digital Underground has lasted fifteen years in part because it still puts on one hell of a dope-ass show. This Saturday, the legendary Oakland-born hip-hop outfit appears at the Red Devil Lounge, and though the cast of supporting characters keeps changing, the one constant is Shock G, aka Humpty Hump. Follow Humpty's nose -- it always knows where the flavor is. That's word to Toucan Sam. $20. 415-447-4730 or WeBookBands.com (Eric K. Arnold)

HIP-HOP LEGENDS II
DJ Cut Chemist is easily one of the greatest turntablists ever to tweak the pitch control on a Technics 1200. His work with Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli is sacrosanct, as are his collaborations with DJ Shadow (Product Placement/Brainfreeze). Recently signed to a major label deal, rumor has it he's been fiendishly working in the studio to concoct some super-funky original productions, some of which he'll (hopefully) debut Saturday at Club Six, during the SF Funk Festival's House Party. Also slated to appear on this night of furious DJ funk are an awesome undercard of local wax-slingers: Mike Relm, Zeph, Motion Potion, and the "One" Brothers, Toph and Sake (actually, they're not related, but they should be.) $15 (adv. presale) to $20. SunsetTickets.com (E.K.A.)

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