Critic's Choice for the week of September 18-24, 2002 

A Far former who's now Original, a B-3 bonanza, a soulful songstress, and a spiritual symphony.


Jonah Matranga, former front guy for the Sacramento alt-metal outfit Far, now gets his solo acoustic ya-yas out as Onlinedrawing, but for when he's feeling not so fresh and so clean, he's got New End Original to rock with. Formed from the nationally strewn ashes of Texas Is the Reason and Chamberlain, the Bay Area-based quartet cuts its emocore with pop and a wee bit of Americana rootsiness. The Jade Tree band plays Friday at 924 Gilman, with Counterfit and Low Light opening. 510-525-9926. (Stefanie Kalem)


Long a local favorite among jazz fans and musicians, Holland's Willem Breuker Kollektief is one of the great all-ages entertainments of our time. With a new CD out, the little big band performs Wednesday at Yoshi's in a bravura demonstration of technical brilliance with original music that sounds like Sun Ra crossed with Stravinsky and circus band vaudeville from pratfalls to acrobatics, all rendered with high artistry. 510-238-9200. (Larry Kelp)

A B-3 bonanza awaits connoisseurs of the Hammond organ this weekend. The awesome Dr. Lonnie Smith operates Friday and Saturday at Yoshi's as part of a band led by onetime Herbie Hancock drummer Mike Clark that also features former James Brown trombonist Fred Wesley (510-238-9200). And across the bay those same two nights at Pearl's, Paris-based organ grinder Rhoda Scott is coleading a trio with soul-jazz tenor titan Houston Person (415-291-8255). Also in the city, Saturday at Cafe du Nord, organist Reuben Wilson appears as part of a group called Masters of Groove that includes guitarist Grant Green Jr. (a stylistic ringer for his late, great dad) and fatback drum master Clyde Stubblefield (another J.B. alum) (415-552-7788). And taking the grand ol' chitlin-circuit sound to the concert stage, Saturday at UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall, is sax-blowing Berkeley High alum Joshua Redman with magnificent combo made up of organist Sam Yahel and drummer Brian Blade (510-642-9999). (Lee Hildebrand)

John Santos brings his acclaimed Machete Ensemble to Yoshi's on Sunday to celebrate the release of a new CD titled SF Bay. The percussionist, educator, and bandleader is being honored the previous day at the Monterey Jazz Festival, along with Michael Spiro and Orestes Vilato, in a "Tribute to Bay Area Percussionists." With a new millennium mambo, SF Bay is a slice of Bay Area Latino heart and soul. 510-238-9200. (Jesse "Chuy" Varela)


Soul singers don't get much deeper than Bettye LaVette, who's been making great if little-noticed records since the early '60s. She's found a fervent following in Europe in recent years, but hasn't appeared in the Bay Area since opening for Solomon Burke at the On Broadway in 1970. LaVette is bringing a rhythm section from Detroit to play the Cellar at Johnny Foley's on Tuesday, with the Johnny Nocturne Band both opening and supplying her with a horn section. 415-255-0333. (L.H.)


The spiritual comes to the fore Wednesday in Zellerbach Hall as the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra opens its season with Galina Ustvolskaya's Symphony No. 4 (The Prayer), featuring the marvelous piano work of Jerry Kuderna; Olivier Messiaen's L'Ascension, four meditations inspired by scripture; György Ligeti's Lux Aeterna; and Beethoven's only oratorio, Christ on the Mount of Olives. The latter two works feature the Pacific Mozart Ensemble. 510-841-2800. (Jason Serinus)


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