Critic's Choice for the week of August 7-13, 2002 

A powerful country/blues combo, a booming soul baritone, Cuban salsa in Oakland, and a mixed bag at the Greek in Berkeley.


Paul Rishell and Annie Raines comprise perhaps the strongest country blues duo extant. He plays some mean guitar, she blows powerful harmonica, and both are commanding singers. Together, they dig into a deep bag o' blues, including numbers by Memphis Minnie, Bo Carter, and Leadbelly, original compositions in the grand tradition, plus some Hot Club of France-style Gypsy jazz. Check 'em out Wednesday at Freight & Salvage. 510-548-1761. (Lee Hildebrand)


Famous for such hits as "For Your Precious Love," "He Will Break Your Heart," "Hey, Western Union Man," and "Only the Strong Survive" (all of which he had a hand in writing), Jerry Butler is soul music's quintessential bedroom baritone. The Chicago crooner appears in the Bay Area very, very rarely, making his Thursday-Saturday engagement at Kimball's East a special treat indeed. 510-658-0606. (L.H.)


The annual Eddie Moore Jazz Festival may no longer take place at Yoshi's, where drummer Moore died while performing thirteen years ago, but his adventurous musical spirit lives on August 8 through 17 with seven shows in two locations. Save for the Tim Berne-Michael Formanek Duo concert August 16 at Ex'pression Center for New Media in Emeryville, all are at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, including one by baritone saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett, pianist D.D. Jackson, and drummer Kahil El'Zabar on Saturday, and another by bassist Ben Allison and Medicine Wheel the following evening. Phone 510-763-4663 or go to for additional information. (L.H.)

Virginia Mayhew, a San Francisco native who has long been a New York saxophonist and composer, brings a stellar quartet to Jazzschool on Sunday for an afternoon of originals and standards. Young Canadian trumpeter Ingrid Jensen (a star soloist at last fall's San Francisco Jazz Festival) is featured, along with bassist Harvie Swartz and drummer Allison Miller. 510-845-5373. (Larry Kelp)


Cuban flutist-bandleader Orlando "Maraca" Valle, whose current Tremenda Rumba CD is on Billboard's tropical/salsa chart, rolls into Yoshi's for a Thursday through Sunday run. Stints with Irakere and Cubanismo led him to form his group Otra Vision in 1996, and now he's one of the most popular figures in contemporary Cuban pop. Find out what makes Maraca shake! 510-238-9200. (Jesse "Chuy" Varela)


Who could've predicted that garage rock would ever make it to the mainstream? Now the White Stripes and the Hives are at the top of the heap, followed shortly by the Vines, who perform Thursday at Slim's. Though the production on the Australian group's outstanding Highly Evolved CD more readily belies Nirvana than the Cramps, this is raw rock 'n' roll at its finest. 415-522-0333. (Katy St. Clair)

Unlimited Sunshine 2002 breezes into the Greek Theater on Saturday. The lineup is a Ren Faire for hipsters: Peach Pit rockers the Flaming Lips, local boys Cake, Mexican funksters Kinky, ye olde hip-hoppers De La Soul, and those indie darlings Modest Mouse, as well as acoustic bluegrass by the Hackensaw Boys between sets. 510-625-8497. (K.S.)


The Comedian Harmonists were a marvelous German male vocal sextet that won an international following during the 1920s. Although the rise of fascism and anti-Semitism forced its members to disband and flee Germany, the Comedian Harmonists live on in a 1997 film, a recent Naxos re-release of their recordings, and this Sunday evening at Berkeley's First Congregational Church in a tribute by Chanticleer. 415-392-4400. (Jason Serinus)


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