Critic's Choice for the week of October 2-8, 2002 

A Latin guitar icon, a legendary blues duo, a soul festival, and experimentation downtown.

ROCK

If you caught the Latin Grammys on TV recently, you probably saw Santana perform "America" with the metal-rap band POD from his album Shaman, due out later this month. It is a highlight of a project also laced with Placido Domingo and other special guests. Expect more new songs from the Bay Area guitar icon at Friday's Chronicle Pavilion show. Ozomatli opens. 510-625-8497. (Jesse "Chuy" Varela)

BLUES

A dynamite double blues bill hits the Fillmore on Wednesday with over-the-top Chicago guitar crusher Buddy Guy headlining and 23-year-old Harlem-bred vocalist Shemekia Copeland opening. Touring in support of a terrific new Dr. John-produced Alligator CD titled Talking to Strangers, Copeland carries on a fine family tradition begun by her dad, the late Houston guitarist Johnny Copeland. (Lee Hildebrand)

SOUL

An appearance by the awesome Chaka Khan is reason enough to travel to the Chronicle Pavilion for Saturday afternoon's KBLX Soul Music Festival, but when the bill also boasts Teena Marie, the Gap Band, the SOS Band, the post-Roger edition of Zapp, and Club Nouveau (led by East Bay resident Jay King), devotees of the old school have absolutely no excuse to play hooky. 510-625-8497. (L.H.)

MERENGUE

The hottest -- and likely fastest -- accordion champ in the Western Hemisphere, the Dominican Republic's Joaquin Diaz brings his abundantly percussive quartet to Ashkenaz on Sunday for a night of sweaty, adrenaline-charged merengue dancing. With a new Arhoolie CD titled Merengue Alegre that bursts with accordion pyrotechnics, Diaz revives the more folk-rooted style of his homeland without the usual pop trappings. He's the real deal. 510-525-5054. (Larry Kelp)

CLASSICAL

Four Seasons Concerts, among the finest concert series in the Bay Area, opens its season with a solo piano recital by Leon Bates on Saturday evening in Oakland's Calvin Simmons Theater. Bates, who has performed in Carnegie Hall and regularly solos with major symphony orchestras, performs Mozart, Brahms, and four works by Chopin. 510-451-0775. (Jason Serinus)

NEW MUSIC/EXPERIMENTAL

If the Miss America pageant has taught us anything -- and it must have by now -- it's that there ain't nothing in this world that beats a foxy violinist: This year's pageant gave its "Artistic Expression in Talent" award to Miss Maryland, a fiddlin' and a-grinnin' lass. Here in these parts, we've got our own Stradivixen in Ms. Carla Kihlstedt, member of chamber jazzsters Tin Hat Trio, clamorous theatrirock outfit Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, and a half-dozen other projects (including guesting on Tom Waits' Alice). Tuesday night at downtown Oakland's Black Box, she will improvise a set of sound & music duos with sampler auteur Bob Ostertag, who's no slouch himself. Getting his start in the NYC-Lower East Side scene of the late '70s, Ostertag has worked with John Zorn, Mike Patton, Kronos Quartet, Lynn Breedlove, Anthony Braxton, and many more. Wobbly opens the show. 510-451-1932. (Stefanie Kalem)

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