Critic's Choice for the week of October 1-7, 2003 

Prolific horns in Oakland, a Woody tribute in Berkeley, beats by the bay, and bluegrass on the green grass of Golden Gate Park. Read all about it.

WORLD-CLASS JAZZ

Roy Hargrove's recent stint at Yoshi's confirmed that the funky trumpeter is one of the best things jazz has going for it right now, so it's definitely not too soon to welcome him back. But if that wasn't enough, he'll be joined by coheadliner Michael Brecker, an eight-time Grammy winner and one-half of the prolific Brecker Brothers. Each artist will perform his own material and standards with his own band, but don't be too surprised if the two team up for an encore reprising their inspired tribute to Trane and Miles of two years ago. Saturday night at Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley. 510-642-9988. (Eric K. Arnold)

FOLK TRIBUTES

It's an inspired booking any time Jimmy Lafave, one of Texas' greatest singers, is in town. Thursday at the Freight & Salvage, he joins fellow country tunesmith Kevin Welch and an impressive aggregation of singer-songwriters touring the country as part of the Woody Guthrie tribute "Ribbon of Highway -- Endless Skyway," picking up where Lafave left off last year when he bade the Freight audience goodnight with a rousing "This Land Is Your Land." The full cast production performs Friday afternoon in Golden Gate Park, but at the Freight the narration is eschewed in favor of swapping and sharing Guthrie's songs, with Lafave, Welch, Joel Rafael, Michael Fracasso, and others. 510-548-1761. (Larry Kelp)

CLASSICAL

Many consider the Kirov Ballet and Orchestra of the Marinsky Theater (founded 1783) the keeper of the classical tradition. Add in that the extraordinary Valery Gergiev will conduct this Tuesday's Zellerbach Hall opening night of three Folkine ballets -- Les Sylphides (Chopin), Scheherazade (Rimsky-Korsakov), and The Firebird (Stravinsky) -- and you have a night not to be missed. The program then continues on next Wednesday and Thursday (conducted by Mikhail Agrest), with a different program next Friday through Sunday. 510-642-9988. (Jason Victor Serinus)

BEATS BY THE BAY

It's starting to get a little chilly out, which means it's almost time to break out the heavy jackets and sweaters. But before winter hibernation begins in earnest, how about one last fete on the bay before Indian summer fades? Luckily, Om Records has got you covered with its latest boat party, which features all-star DJ Mark Farina (Mushroom Jazz), plus Iz, Apollo & Vin Roc, and J-Boogie spinning everything from house to breaks to hip-hop to dancehall. A special live performance by Los Angeles breakbeat-miners People Under the Stairs should keep you toasty-warm as you bounce along with the rhythms of the rolling waves, along with 750 other chic hipsters. Sunday (5 p.m. sharp) at SF's Pier 9. 415-543-3505 or Om-Records.com (E.K.A.)

WORLD

Jaranon y Bochinche perform an African-derived Creole music born on the docks of Peruvian port cities. Known for elaborate folkloric dances with bright, colorful costumes and masks, it's truly a theatrical experience as well as a musical one. In the last ten years Afro-Peruvian music has gotten long-overdue attention thanks to artists like Susana Baca and David Byrne's The Soul of Black Peru compilation; experience it firsthand Friday at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley. 510-849-2568. (Jesse "Chuy" Varela)

CHAMBER

The greatest chamber music experience of my life was sitting in the second row, mesmerized as the extraordinary Takàcs Quartet tore our hearts out with Schubert's Death and the Maiden. This Sunday afternoon in Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall, they join the incomparable clarinetist Richard Stoltzman for string quartets by Mendelssohn and Bartók (one of their specialties), plus Brahms' great Clarinet Quintet. 510-642-9988. (Jason Victor Serinus)

COWBOY FOLK

High Lonesome Cowboy, a collaboration between newgrass pioneer Peter Rowan and cowboy singer Don Edwards, was one of last year's best folk albums, a low-key gem that complemented traditional Western songs with the stellar picking of Rowan and friends such as Norman Blake. With Rowan and Edwards presenting the songs in a stripped-down duo version, the sound should be even higher and more lonesome. Wednesday at the Freight & Salvage. 510-548-1761. (j. poet)

WOMENFOLK

Alice Stuart was one of the first female folk stars and one of the first to embrace folk rock in the late '60s. She was also one of the first women to lead her own rock 'n' roll band, and her combination of folk, blues, and rock -- not to mention her bawdy humor -- continues to thrill audiences today. Sunday at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley. 510-548-1761. (j.p.)

FLAMENCO

The soul of Andalusia will come alive in Oakland Saturday at the Calvin Simmons Theatre when flamenco guitar virtuoso Rene Heredia performs with dancer La Carolina. A onetime student of the legendary guitarist Sabicas, Heredia grew up with Gypsy music and dance traditions thanks to his father, also a gifted guitarist, who hosted greats such as Carlos Montoya and Carmen Amaya in their home. In this program Heredia will also perform music from Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil. 510-451-0775. (J.V.)

SEXY SOCA

While there are plenty of Carnaval revelers in Northern California, it's pretty rare that we get an authentic Caribbean outfit up in these parts. Barbados-based band Square One's first Bay Area appearance promises to be something special. Like most soca bands, Square One plays a modernized version of calypso, which sounds like a cross between dancehall reggae and disco. Its eighth album, Rhythm Party: Girlz Gone Wild, is filled with party anthems designed for maximum shimmy and shake; vocalist Alison Hinds helps the process by instructing dancers every step of the way: "Ladies/Wine pon ya man/Bend over/Do it for me." Meanwhile, "Bling Bling Girls" borrows from American hip-hop slang, bigging up women who "show dem belly ring." You can show yours Friday night at Kimball's East. 510-658-2555. (E.K.A.)

ROOTS

A Gillian Welch concert is a variety show in itself: bluegrass, folk, a little rock, and more. The lo-fi show -- it's just Welch and her cohort David Rawlings, and they don't move around much -- keeps you enthralled thanks to Welch's distinctive and expressive vocal twang and Rawlings' perfect accompaniment. And they have a comedic knack that makes their stories of obscure old-timey artists funny even when the references fly right over your head. The duo brings the laughs and the music to Speedway in Golden Gate Park on Saturday as part of the free Strictly Bluegrass Festival. (Michael Gowan)

REGGAE PICNICS

This year marks the fourteenth annual Reggae in the Park festival, which brings the best of Jamaican roots and dancehall to Sharon Meadow at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park Saturday and Sunday. This year's lineup might seem like vindication for those who held off on going to Reggae on the River this year: Barrington Levy, Steel Pulse, Michael Rose, Prezident Brown, Lucky Dube, and Sizzla are all reggae legends, and Pacific Vibrations and Groundation are solid opening acts. Plus, the concert benefits a good cause -- human rights organization Global Exchange. 415-458-1988 or EventsWestCA.com (E.K.A.)

JAZZ

Jazz vocalist Jackie Ryan is a gem who celebrates This Heart of Mine, her latest album, with a CD release party this Tuesday at Yoshi's in Oakland. The San Francisco native paid her dues in resident clubs and the big band of Rudy Salvini; stints at Ronnie Scott's in London, England, garnered her international fame. Legendary jazz producer Teo Macero predicts the homegirl of Irish-Mexican-French heritage is "destined to be a major star." 510-238-9200. (J.V.)

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