Critic's Choice for the week of November 17-23, 2004 

Our writers tell you what's hot this week.


You won't find younger and fresher jazz than the action at two fund-raiser concerts this week: Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble's fall concert Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Berkeley High's Little Theater on Allston Way, and Albany High School's Jazz Band and its R&B-soul group Rhythm Bound's takeover of Yoshi's 8 p.m. Monday. This'll be the Berkeley group's first home show since performing at September's Monterey Jazz Festival, after the storied event named our kids the top high school jazz band in the country for a second consecutive year. Meanwhile, Albany High doesn't get the media attention Berkeley does, but its program is refreshingly energetic, and the big treat is Rhythm Bound, a soul revue with three great singers and a killer horn section that puts new spirit into Motown, Stax, and other soul oldies. For Albany, call Yoshi's at 510-238-9200; for Berkeley, 510-527-8245. $10 donation for each show. (Larry Kelp)


Fiddler and singer-songwriter Tom Rigney was playing Americana-influenced dance music long before the genre was invented. Since forming his group Flambeau in the late '90s, he also has added traces of Gypsy, Spanish, and other world musics to his driving bayou boogie. Tuesday at Ashkenaz in Berkeley. $9, 9:30 p.m. (j. poet)


Rap has pretty much taken over the world at this point, so you might need to be reminded that it's only one of the foundational elements of hip-hop culture, and not even the original element at that. Where it all started, back in the old-school era, was on the dancefloor, when the b-boys and b-girls uprocked and headspun to the Bronx boogie beats spun by DJs such as Grandmaster Flash and Kool Herc. That legacy, as well as the present and future of hip-hop movement arts, will be showcased Thursday through Sunday at the Palace of Fine Arts, when the San Francisco Hip-Hop DanceFest goes down. The program features original works by choreographers Rennie Harris and Corey "Action" Henderson, as well as presenting a lecture by Jorge "Fabel" Pabon (Rock Steady Crew), and a special performance by the Mexico City-based mime troupe Onirico. Other performers include Traci Bartlow, Housing Authority, Soul Force, Chain Reaction, Funkanometry, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Human Toy, Bill "Crutchmaster" Shannon, Loose Change, and New Style Motherlode. Tickets are $25 for performances and $5 for Fabel's lecture. For more information and showtimes, call 415-392-4400 or visit (Eric K. Arnold)


Festival Antiqua 2004 concludes this Friday in the Parish Hall of Albany's St. Alban's Church with a concert of medieval and traditional English music. Entitled Along the Field, the program includes medieval dances, songs and related music capped by a short song cycle by Ralph Vaughan Williams. The combined artistry of Shira Kammen, Susan Rode Morris, Tim Rayborn, and Peter Maund provides reason aplenty to attend. $12-$15, 8 p.m. 510 524-7952. (Jason Victor Serinus)


If you missed Victims of the Groove last time they invaded Berkeley's Jazzschool, you get another chance Saturday night. The collective consists of guitarist Peter Fuji, saxophonist Larry Schneider, bassist Joel Smith, and drummer Deszon Claiborne. Together, they advance the jazz-funk continuum that blossomed back in the day with Herbie Hancock's Headhunters. Don't pass up a chance to see Schneider, one of the bay's hidden jazz treasures. $12-$18. 510-845-5373 (Jesse "Chuy" Varela)


You know what we've got too much of these days? Optimism, happiness, frivolity. Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter'll change all that, with mournful, moaning, and quiet excellent rustic Americana maladies that'll make ya wanna start dating someone just so you can break up and go cry about it. Meet the special soon-to-be-ex-someone Saturday night at SF's Cafe du Nord. $12, 10 p.m. (Rob Harvilla)


While their peers were emulating the Sex Pistols, Girlschool founders Kim McAuliffe (guitar), Enid Williams (bass), and Denise Dufort (drums) were hanging out with Motörhead and laying the groundwork for the British nü-metal movement. A mere 27 years later, the all-female headbangers are still at it, as loud and trashy as ever. Local all-girl rockers Lysa Flores open. Friday at Cafe du Nord in San Francisco. $12, 9 p.m. (j. poet)


Grab a windbreaker and come brave the Whirling Dervishes of Damascus. Performing Rumi-inspired Sufi ceremonial sacred dance, poetry, music, and chanting, the Syrian Dervishes are accompanied by the stellar Al-Kind Ensemble and vocal master Sheikh Hamza Shakkr. You can't get any closer to the roots. At Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall tonight. $22-$42, 8 p.m. 510-642-9988. (J.V.S.)


Brooklyn label Ropeadope has been mashing up artists in its New Music Seminars in New York for five years, bringing together hip-hop, rock, jazz, and any other genre that catches its fancy for a night at the musical improv. This year it goes on the road. The shows at the Independent on Friday and Saturday will be anchored by the omnipresent Charlie Hunter (not to mention the Coup), but don't miss the rocking horns of Sex Mob. $25, 9 p.m. (Michael Gowan)


Friday's Latinas: Women of Latin America show featuring Toto La Momposina (Colombia), Mariana Montalvo (Chile), and Beló Valloso (Brazil) is a gift! These three divas are exceptional artists who preserve and transcend their folkloric musical roots -- Momposina in particular is the queen of cumbia, and she'll make her Bay Area debut with a musical diversity that stretches from the Andean Mountains to the coastal ports of Bogotá. $24-$30. 415-499-6800. (J.C.V.)


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