Critic's Choice for the week of September 24-30, 2003 

The "former president" of funk, a rapping accordion player, an off-center folkster, and a love triangle in a garage, among other acts.

MOTOR-BOOTY AFFAIRS

As a solo artist and with the collectives Funkadelic and Parliament, George Clinton has produced a funk canon that has in many ways defined the genre: "Atomic Dog," "One Nation Under a Groove," "Flashlight," "Aquaboogie," "P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)," "Cosmic Slop," "Maggot Brain," "The Motor-Booty Affair," "Mothership Connection," "Dr. Funkenstein," "Super Stupid," and, of course, "(Not Just) Knee Deep." Remember, "funk can not only move, it can remove," which is one reason why "there ain't no party like a P-Funk party," especially when that party's happening Thursday night at the Paramount and features the legendary Bernie Worrell on keys. 510-625-8497. (Eric K. Arnold)

POLKA RAP?

Jesse Morales is El Original de la Sierra ("The Original from the Hills"), a twenty-year-old ranchera singer from Los Angeles who, along with his bro Adan, fuses rap with accordion-driven polkas. A devotee of slain narco-corrido kingpin Chalino Sanchez, Morales is a controversial figure, but like Tupac or Too $hort, he's also a hero to his generation. Known for his politeness to his fans, he rolls through Casino San Pablo this Saturday along with Banda Cobra and El Primo de Sinaloa. 510-215-1719. (Jesse "Chuy" Varela)

NASTY FOLK

Loudon Wainwright III is a singer/songwriter, but his acerbic wit, off-center melodic gift, and goofy stage persona place him in a category all his own. His novelty hit "Dead Skunk" has become his personal albatross, especially in light of his recent Last Man on Earth album, a deeply personal collection of songs dealing with mortality, morality, and loss. His new one's called So Damn Happy; see him Thursday at SF's Great American Music Hall. 415-885-0750. (j. poet)

CLASSICAL

The Berkeley Symphony Orchestra celebrates Kent Nagano's 25th season as music director with Monday night's season opener in Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall. The program mixes the tried and true -- the first symphonies of Beethoven and Shostakovich, plus Ravel's sensual Shéhérazade sung by the great Frederica von Stade -- with the world premiere of Naomi Sekiya's 25-minute Sinfonia delle Ombre, a work strongly influenced by Dante's Inferno. 510-841-2800. (Jason Victor Serinus)

SUPERGROUP JAZZ

Charlie Hunter is an acid-jazz whore: Whether it's one of the numerous people he's partnered with on his own albums or a supergroup like TJ Kirk, he plays with anyone who's funky enough. These days he's lending his eight-string guitar to Garage a Trois, a trio that's really a quartet and features the Morphine-like saxophone of Sherik, the Latin-influenced percussion of Mike Dillon, and the trapsmanship of Galactic drummer Stanton Moore. The Trois hits the Fillmore Friday night with outstanding newcomers the Bad Plus. 415-346-6000. (Michael Gowan)

HIPSTER JAZZ

When it comes to jazz vocals, Mark Murphy is the epitome of hip. Phrasing like a resonating tenor sax while he spins his stories, the one-time Bay Area resident is a master musician who returns for a rare concert Saturday night at the Jazzschool in Berkeley and a vocal workshop there Sunday at noon. His latest album, Memories of You, is a tribute to the great Joe Williams. 510-845-5373. (J.C.V.)

LATIN JAZZ

Berkeley's Jazzschool kicks off its fall season with a bang this weekend, with live concerts and workshops from two world-class musicians: In addition to Mark Murphy, don't forget Mark Levine, who specializes in incorporating the music of the Caribbean, South America, and Latin America into jazz idioms -- when he's not teaching at Jazzschool, he's performing all over the world with his band, the Latin Tinge. His Sunday afternoon workshop (which happens after Murphy's) focuses on the dynamic syncopation of Latin jazz, and will be followed by a live presentation of those rhythms. 510-845-5373 or Jazzschool.com (E.K.A.)

HOMEGROWN BLUEGRASS

Since launching her first band Good Ol' Persons in the '70s, Oakland bluegrass/country singer Kathy Kallick has issued an impressive collection of recordings filled with finely crafted songs that bring out one of the most expressive voices in the genre. In 2001, the California Bluegrass Association bestowed its Lifetime Achievement Award on her. Now, to celebrate the release of her new CD, Reason & Rhyme, Kallick has assembled an all-star band for Thursday's concert at the Freight & Salvage, featuring guitarists Nina Gerber and Scott Nygaard, longtime bandmate John Reischman on mandolin, fiddler Brian Wicklund, bassist Cindy Browne, and vocalist Amy Stenberg. 510-548-1761. (Larry Kelp)

FESTIVE BLUES

This time out the San Francisco Blues Festival marks its 31st year, making it the longest-running blues fest in the country. Saturday's lineup includes Sacramento acoustic blues whiz kid Jackie Green; the trio of Tracy Nelson, Angela Strehli, and Linda Tillery; and the Taj Mahal Trio. Sunday features Roomful of Blues, Nick Curran, and a tribute to Mike Bloomfield with Al Kooper, Nick Gravenites, Robben Ford, and Joe Louis Walker. See it at Fort Mason's Great Meadow in SF. 415-979-5588. (j.p.)

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