Critic's Choice for the week of August 4-10, 2004 

Our writers tell you what's hot this week.


Lou Barlow may not have invented the locked-in-my-bedroom four-trackin' wimpy white guy phenomenon, but his mixture of beauty and self-loathing certainly proves he has mastered it, mostly through his work with beloved indie-rock touchstone Sebadoh. Though notoriously uneven live, the wispy-dudes-with-guitars outfit is worth checkin' out Tuesday night at SF's Bottom of the Hill, especially since mighty Oakland rockers the Heavenly States are opening up. 9 p.m., $12. 415-621-4455 or (Rob Harvilla)


The sound system at Berkeley's La Peña Cultural Center was never anything to brag about. However, since the arrival of Cuban sound engineer Oscar Autié as tech director, things have gotten better. Now the Mackie multitrack board is reinforced with a digital audio system that has spawned the Live at La Peña Series, recording resident musical artists such as John Santos, Lichi Fuentes and, this Friday night, the Snake Trio. Comprising Jackeline Rago (cuatro), Donna Viscuso (flute), and Saul Sierra (bass), this outfit is a fountain of folklore and jazz that scored NEA money to do this gig. Most cool! $14, 8 p.m. 510-849-2568 or (Jesse "Chuy" Varela)


A graduate of the Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble, tenor saxophonist Jessica Jones has lived too long in New York City. Her work with the Hieroglyphics Ensemble, Don Cherry, Joseph Jarman, Steve Coleman, and many other new jazz pioneers stands out on her résumé, but it's really her dedication to turning youngsters on to the joys of jazz that fires her up. So when Jones makes her annual hometown visit this weekend, she's plenty busy. On Friday in 8 and 9:30 p.m. concerts, she leads the Jessica Jones Alumni Band, joined by yet two more generations of Berkeley High saxophonists, Dave Ellis and Hitomi Oba, with a rhythm section featuring her teen son Levi on bass ($8). On Saturday (also 8 and 9:30 p.m.), it's the Jessica Jones Left Coasties, with guitarist John Schott and drummer Arni Kronfield, and "special guests" including friends and former students ($10). And Saturday afternoon at 2, she teaches a $5 jazz improvisation workshop for kids nine to fifteen. or 415-846-9432. (Larry Kelp)


The Oaktown Jazz Workshop was founded ten years ago by trumpeter Khalil Shaheed. The idea was to enrich the lives of schoolchildren, young musicians, and the community by exposing them to the beauties and intricacies of jazz. Shaheed and his colleagues have certainly done that, but as an established nonprofit, the OJW was hit hard by arts-funding cutbacks. So Monday night at Yoshi's, it hosts a benefit featuring Eddie Henderson, Tootie Heath, John Handy, and others. $35. 510-562-4546 or (J.C.V.)


George Cleve's Midsummer Mozart continues to offer the best classical music east of the bay. This Sunday in Berkeley's St. John's Presbyterian Church, the orchestra performs Mozart's Overture to the Abduction from the Seraglio, while soprano Christina Major performs that opera's moving "Traurigkeit" and thrilling "Marten aller Arten." After local gem Jon Nakamatsu delivers the Piano Concerto #16 in D Major, the concert concludes with Mozart's final Symphony #41 in C Major. $28-$48, 7 p.m., 415-627-9140 or (Jason Victor Serinus)


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