Critic's Choice for the week of November 2-8, 2005 

African noise-rock, do-gooder jazz, and the hot hot music.


No, seriously. This summer's Rhino-issued release of Rickie Lee Jones' Duchess of Coolsville retrospective, replete with laudatory liner notes from such admirers as Walter Becker, Randy Newman, Fiona Apple, Tori Amos, and Emmylou Harris, not only replaces the stellar Pirates as the suggested starting point for RLJ newbies, but reminds more experienced listeners that Jones, as much as any performer this side of former beau Tom Waits, is capable of raising American pop music to American art. Another immensely talented songwriter, Vic Chesnutt, opens for Jones Tuesday at Cal Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall. $39.50-$49.50, 8 p.m. (Rob Trucks)


If you missed Leela James' dizzying Soul Train performance earlier this year, chances are she seduced you over the radio. James' throaty, gospel-influenced vocals make her seem much more rough-around-the-edges than most of her peers in Top 40 R&B; in contrast to all those Destiny's Child-strain pop-charty divas, she sounds as if she spent her formative years slogging whiskey and absorbing Staple Singers records. Her debut effort A Change Is Gonna Come -- which includes an aching Sam Cooke cover that actually holds its own against the original -- is unquestionably one of the best R&B albums of 2005. Catch her Monday night at the Independent in SF. $15, 8 p.m. (Rachel Swan)


In the past fifteen years, local roots-rocker Jeffrey Halford has made a national name for himself as a slide-guitar master and singer-songwriter. His most recent album, Railbirds, earned excellent reviews with raves about his Kerouac-meets-Cash stance. He'll be performing with his longtime backing band the Healers Saturday at Albany's Ivy Room. $7, 10 p.m. 510-524-9220 or (j. poet)


Joyce is one of Brazil's great singer-songwriters and guitarists; her musical partner Dori Caymmi, son of composer Dorival Caymmi, is also legendary in that regard. Their recent collaboration, Rio Bahia, is another collection of lush, romantic tunes touched by jazz, bossa nova, and their own simpatico interchanges, both vocally and instrumentally. They will be joined by pianist Marcos Silva and Joyce's longtime rhythm section Tutty Moreno on drums and Rodolfo Stroeter on bass Tuesday and Wednesday. 8 ($16) and 10 p.m. ($10) at Yoshi's in Jack London Square. 510-238-9200 or (j.p.)


Even if last year's Tipping Point didn't enthrall you as much as earlier albums Illadelph Halflife and Do You Want More?!!!??!, you gotta admit you love the Roots. Hey, we're talking about the original hip-hop/jazz darlings of NPR, who used to woo crowds at Maritime Hall with their slinky "What They Do" ballad years before Kamal actually learned how to play his keyboard. It's been more than a decade since the group came up in Philadelphia, and now MC Black Thought, drummer ?uestlove, and vocal percussionist Rahzel are pop-culture fixtures. Catch 'em Sunday at the SF Weekly Warfield with Saigon and Little Brother. $35, 8 p.m. (R.S.)


Like a bizarre concoction of world music, noise-rock, our own Toychestra, and the Blue Man Group, Congo's mighty Konono No. 1 features ten or so dudes pounding on anything they can find -- kids' toys, car parts -- in a supremely odd and supremely danceable stew that's sending world enthusiasts and ordinarily averse hipsters into hysterics over the group's latest disc, Congotronics. See it live Sunday night at SF's Palace of Fine Arts as part of the equally mighty San Francisco Jazz Festival. $24-$38, 7 p.m. (Rob Harvilla)


Fashionably dashikied local jazz drummer E.W. Wainwright is known both for the richness of his percussion and his preoccupation with linking American jazz to its African roots. Having collaborated with such jazz barons as Bobby Hutcherson and John Handy, he also has worked extensively in activist circles and local school districts, rising to folk-hero status in the East Bay. Wainwright is sure to deliver a compelling performance this Friday at Anna's Jazz Island, a cool new venue in downtown Berkeley characterized as much by its classy decor -- combining faux palms with mahogany, marble, and bamboo furniture -- as its affordable ticket prices. $7, 8 p.m. (R.S.)


Dawn Penn's classic song "No, No, No" is one of the most long-lived of all reggae anthems. Its simple yet memorable lyrics (No, no, no, you don't love me anymore) have resonated with several generations now, and though Penn (who had her heyday as a fresh young thing back in the '60s) is getting up there in years, word is she still puts on a great show. Joining her on the bill will be onetime KRS-One protégé Mad Lion, best known for his mid-'90s reggae/hip-hop boomshot "Take It Easy" (Too many suckers and not enough time). Selectas Apollo, Polo, Jonny Mack, White Lightning, and Ren the Vinyl Archaeologist (playing hip-hop in the upstairs lounge) round out this bill of dancehall greats Friday night at the DNA Lounge. $12 advance tickets at or $15-$20 at the door. (Eric K. Arnold)


Cal Performances takes a leap into the present with the welcome launch of its new Composer Portraits Series. Sunday's Hertz Hall opening concert features the immensely fascinating complete Piano tudes of Hungarian-born composer György Ligeti, played by Christopher Taylor. Ligeti's music creates a universe all its own, one that speaks directly to the mysteries and complexities of contemporary life. $32, 3 p.m. 510-642-9988. (Jason Victor Serinus)


Classical Indian singer Shweta Jhaveri joins jazz saxophonist George Brooks for an evening of what they call "new Indian jazz" Thursday at Ashkenaz in Berkeley. The duo last performed together in 2001; since then, Jhaveri has won acclaim via classical concerts in her Indian homeland and around the world, while Brooks has worked with musicians from minimalist pioneer Terry Riley to tabla master Zakir Hussain (in Brooks' Summit band and CD). Together, they take Indian raga style and improvise on it in a blend of East and West, much as Jhaveri did on her breakthrough 1998 Indo-jazz fusion CD, Anahita. For this concert, they are joined by pianist Jack Perla (who works with such artists as Zakir Hussain and Rita Moreno), and tabla player Debopriya Sarkar (last seen backing Kronos Quartet and Asha Bhosle). $15, 9 p.m. 510-525-5054 or (Larry Kelp)


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