Critic's Choice for the week of August 27-September 2, 2003 

A bold soul sister, Oakland outdoors, vocal explorers, and two glorious Icelanders, among other acts.

DAP-DIPPIN' R & B

Sharon Jones is one bold soul sister. She's seemingly cut of the same cloth as (early) Tina Turner, Marva Whitney, or Lyn Collins, and blessed with a powerhouse voice that can stop a speeding train or (more likely) make you do the mashed potatoes, the camel walk, or the boogaloo. Saturday night at the Elbo Room in SF, she'll hark back to the cold sweatin' live sessions of the chitlin' circuit era, backed by the Dap Kings. This show also features Sugarman Three & Co., another retro-funk/boogaloo band (and Jones' labelmates on Dap-Tone Records), plus special guest soul legend Lee Fields. 415-552-7788. (Eric K. Arnold)

ART & SOUL I

Ah, Oakland -- a city of great beauty, culture, and weather. It's all on display during the Art & Soul Festival: ethnic foods, diverse population, that fancy City Center, and of course, bands, bands, bands. This year's lineup includes some good national acts on the Plaza Stage: popsters Guster and reggae's favorite son Ziggy Marley on Sunday, and Philly jazz singer Rachelle Ferrell on Labor Day. But it's the local gems that'll make your civic pride glow, so make sure you check out the smaller Civic Center and Clay Street stages for some Oaktown flavor. I'm sure the weather will cooperate. The fest goes down Saturday through Monday at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza in the heart of downtown Oakland. 510-444-CITY. (Michael Gowan)

ART & SOUL II

Singer-songwriter Mark Weigle stands out amongst the many Art & Soul attractions: The Vallejo resident, winner of an unprecedented three Outmusic Awards for his heartfelt, soulful depictions of all aspects of the gay/human experience, makes his first Oakland public appearance Monday at 4:30 on the Bistro Stage. See ArtandSoulOakland.com for more details. (Jason Victor Serinus)

PRODIGAL JAZZERS

One of too many Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble grads who moved to New York City, tenor saxophonist Jessica Jones returns for her annual hometown concert Thursday at Berkeley's Freight & Salvage. Along with Jessica are fellow Berkeley High alum and husband Tony Jones on tenor sax, Deszon Laiborne on drums, Marcus Shelby on bass, and Tony's daughter Candace Jones on vocals. Their original jazz, from hard bop to Latin-tinged and free excursions, makes the Joneses' two-tenor lead a powerful jazz experience. 510-548-1761. (Larry Kelp)

VOCAL EXPLORERS

A couple of years back, vocal explorer Rhiannon joined two fellow founders of Bobby McFerrin's Voicestra in We Be 3. After adding a few nonvocal instruments (keys, cello), the group became Rhiannon & Bowl Full of Sound, taking on a new musical persona with a strong heart and omnivorous stylistic appetite. Celebrating the release of Out of the Blue, its debut CD recorded in part at Yoshi's, the quintet members will inspire each other through improvisation in jazz, folk, pop, spoken word, and world sounds on Friday at Freight & Salvage. 510-548-1761. (L.K.)

RETRO-FUTURISTIC DUB

Seven years is a long time for any weekly club night, especially in the often-transient mishmash that is San Francisco's nightlife scene. That's why you've gotta give credit to DJ Sep, Dub Mission's founder. She's turned a Sunday night excursion centered around instrumental reggae remixes into something of a cultural institution -- yet another reason why the Bay Area is the coolest place to live in the world. Word, evidently, has gotten out about Dub Mission; nationally (and internationally) known artists and producers keep dropping through (in addition to a rotating cast of local selectas). On the night's seventh birthday this Sunday at the Elbo Room, Sep's special guests include Groove Corporation and Overproof Soundsystem , leading lights of the retro-futuristic UK dub scene. 415-552-7788 or DubMissionSF.com (E.K.A.)

REGGAE

Winston Rodney, aka Burning Spear, had been a star in Jamaica since 1969, but in 1975, his debut for Island records, Marcus Garvey, made him an international sensation second only to Bob Marley in his lifelong crusade for human rights, universal love, and reggae music. His new Freeman album still simmers with political and spiritual intensity, and his backing band has never sounded better. Sunday and Monday at Slim's in San Francisco. 415-255-0333 (j. poet)

AFRICAN POP

Thomas Mapfumo, the Lion of Zimbabwe, moved his band and their families to the United States a few years ago to escape the oppressive (and potentially deadly) politics of his homeland. Mapfumo has always been fascinated by American R&B, and manages to drop a touch of Motown and a smattering of Stax into his sound without diluting its African roots. His Blacks Unlimited remains one of Africa's, and the world's, premier groove bands. Friday at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. 415-885-0570. (j.p.)

POST-PUNK

Overexposure and overhipness are deadly ailments indeed, but even the most hardened hipster's gotta admit: Erase Errata's intense staccato post-punk is fabulous whether you're smashing the state or tangoing with it. The Bay Area phenoms celebrate the imminent release of their second disc, At Crystal Palace, Friday night at SF's Verdi Club. Dance, bounce, flail, or break something -- just don't sneer. 415-861-9199. (Rob Harvilla)

TURKISH FOLK

He spent years working in a clothing company in Rochester, NY, but Omar Faruk Tekbilek was a world music sensation waiting to happen. A multi-instrumentalist trained in traditional folk music and Sufism in his native Turkey, Tekbilek's music positively breathes intensity. We don't care whether you see him for his technical prowess or for the dense musical atmosphere he constructs: Just see him. At La Peña Cultural Center Thursday night. 510-849-2568. (Sarah Bardeen)

GYPSY KLEZMER

Nobody makes klezmer sound hipper than Les Yeux Noirs, a band with as much tradition as a full-cast performance of Fiddler on the Roof that nevertheless plays a modern variation on the Jewish folk music that truly deserves to be called "infectious." Last time Les Yeux were in town, they turned Ashkenaz into a gypsy camp, their awe-inspiring show culminating in a three-encore set punctuated by incessant handclapping from the joyously won-over audience. That could easily be you, and, more to the point, it should be you on Monday night. 510-525-5054. (E.K.A.)

MODERN JAZZ

Interestingly enough, rapper Q-Tip coproduced Heartcore, Kurt Rosenwinkel's new album on Verve. Even more intriguing, while his brand of modern, guitar-based jazz occasionally incorporates programmed drums, it's not even close to venturing into trendy hip-hop hybrid territory. Guess Tip was serious when he said "we got the jazz" back in his Tribe Called Quest days, and Heartcore is his chance to prove it. Rosenwinkel's playing on the album is superb, and while most young jazz guitarists tend to sound a lot like Wes Montgomery, it's evident from original compositions like "All the Way to Rajastan" and "Our Secret World" that this cat has his own style. He's definitely someone to watch in the progressive jazz scene, which you can do on Monday, when he drops by Yoshi's. 510-238-9200. (E.K.A.)

GLORIOUS ICELANDERS

Björk and Sigur Rós may steal all the headlines when it comes to weirdo Icelandic pop, but don't you dare discount the dreamy violins-and-drum-machines lullabies of múm, whose Finally We Are No One is one of last year's hidden indie-rock gems, and whose live show is quiet, subdued, and -- if your chatty neighbors manage to shut their pancake holes -- absolutely glorious. The twin sister frontwomen are rather easy on the eyes, besides. Thursday at Bimbo's 365 Club in SF with Animal Collective opening up. 415-474-0365. (R.H.)

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