John H. Clarke, String & Wood
Flamenco guitarist John H. Clarke is a veritable genius. Here, he's abetted by a string quartet poached from Magik*Magik Orchestra, alongside trumpeter Aaron Priskorn. Some songs, like "Mosaic for Shadows," are folksy and flat, while others ride on driving Spanish rhythms. The gradually building strings on "To Live" are gorgeous. (self-released)
At Pier 39 (San Francisco) on Saturday, Oct. 22. Noon-4 p.m., free.
Mary Jenson, Beyond
Jazz vocalist Mary Jenson selects tunes that fit her range and ability, for the most part. The coloratura wail on the title track seems a bit forced, but she's competing with violinist Mads Tolling. Weird renditions of The Beatles' "Come Together" and Stevie Wonder's "Too High" (which includes a spoken-word rap) alternate with Jenson's original material. (self-released)
At The Jazzschool (2087 Addison St., Berkeley) on Friday, Oct. 14. 8 p.m., $12, $15.
Jak 'n Jinjah, The Departed
Husband-wife hip-hop duo Jak 'n Jinjah acknowledge Oscar Grant as a source of inspiration (the title of its album refers to Oakland homicide victims). But the rather unwieldy sermon that opens the album is surprising. Jak chastises fellow citizens for rioting, and contends that Mehserle's guilt or innocence is impossible to prove. Jinjah is a passable singer, though she's often hampered by Jak's on-the-cheap MPC beats. (self-released)
Loretta Lynch, Home Fires
The Bay Area may be awash in female-fronted jug bands, but how many of them cover The Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated," or pen lyrics about butt funk, or describe themselves as "a cross between Loretta Lynn and David Lynch"? That combination isn't as weird as it sounds: lots of twang, lots of raggedy-edged harmonies, everything played at loping tempos. But for a couple covers, Heather Davison, Ari Fellows-Mannion, and Val Esway split songwriting duties about evenly. (self-released)
At Freight & Salvage (2020 Addison St., Berkeley) on Nov. 4. 8 p.m., $20.50, $22.50.
Culture Spy - February 19, 1:45 PM
Seven Days - February 18, 5:00 PM
Seven Days - February 17, 4:09 PM
Seven Days - February 16, 3:24 PM
What the Fork - February 15, 2:00 PM