Critic's Choice for the week of September 11-17, 2002 

A rocker dresses as a tree, a clarinetist mines a new genre, an Irish band mixes up acoustic sounds, and a quartet plays and talks about Shostakovich.

Sharing the bill Saturday at the Greek Theater with British rocker Morrissey is the Jaguares. It's a crossover plunge for the Mexican rock band. While Morrissey has received attention in the United States, the Jaguares have had to confront language barriers but are hoping their Revolucion Tour 2002 will help propel them into the American market. 415-421-8497. (Jesse "Chuy" Varela)

Daniel Smith plays Sunday night in the basement of the Berkeley Seventh-Day Adventist Church at 2236 Parker Street, done up in a tree costume as Daniel & His Nine-Fruit Tree. We'd expect nothing less from the man behind Danielson Famile, wherein he dressed his band members as nurses so's they could back up his grueling falsetto on the most psychedelic Christian songs ever conceived. 510-845-5560. (Stefanie Kalem)

Spend Sunday eve sitting at one of the candlelit tables at the Metro, eyes half-closed and sipping whiskey chased by the charms of Oakland's Winifred E. Eye. The band's woozy, country-fried slo-core hangs gracefully on Aaron Calvert's unique voice, of which wrote: "First blush might remind you of Tom Waits, but listen deeper and you'll hear, perhaps, Dr. John, Boz Scaggs, Galaxie 500-era Dean Wareham, and even Jackie 'Moms' Mabley. ... The point is that Calvert is a vocal chameleon with incredible control, emotivity, expressiveness, and range." 510-763-1146. (S.K.)

When East Bay pianist Michael Smolens happened to land a booking at Yoshi's for this Wednesday, he decided to mark the 9/11 anniversary by doing just what he's long done: write a composition celebrating jazz, that most American of art forms. Smolens is no ordinary composer, however. Trumpet, flugelhorn, saxophones, flutes, and bass clarinet in the frontline give Smolens a broad palette from which to paint luminous ECM-like textures for his septet, which he bills as Kriya. 510-238-9200. (Lee Hildebrand)

Having played nearly everything from klezmer to hip-hop, clarinetist Don Byron has been mining Afro-Caribbean rhythmic veins lately on his Music for Six Musicians CDs for Blue Note. The band appears Thursday through Sunday at Yoshi's. 510-238-9200. (L.H.)

Lunasa is the reel deal: an all-instrumental quintet that draws on Irish folk traditions while taking liberties in the way it weaves fiddles, flutes, and pipes around guitar and bass lines to create refreshing new acoustic patterns. Named for an ancient Celtic harvest festival honoring the Irish god Lugh, the band brings its heavenly sounds to Freight & Salvage on Wednesday. 510-548-1761. (L.H.)

The oud (Arab lute) may not have the range of its cousin the guitar, but in the right hands it becomes a superior means of expressing deep feelings and inspiration, something Tunisia-born oud player Anouar Brahem exhibits on his many improvised recordings for the ECM label. For Monday's Freight & Salvage concert, Brahem is joined by frame drum master Lassad Hosni and clarinetist Barbarao Oerkose. 510-548-1761. (Larry Kelp)

Hear the debut of the much-lauded Alexander String Quartet's new first violinist Zakarias Grafilo as the quartet joins musicologist Robert Greenberg for Saturday morning's Julia Morgan Center for the Arts repeat of part two of their Shostakovich discussion/performance survey. The program features the composer's Quartet No. 7 and Piano Quintet, Op. 57 (featuring UC Davis artist-in-residence Lara Downes). 925-798-1300. (Jason Serinus)


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