Odder Even 

As strange as they wanna be

FRI 11/7

One of the beauties of jazz is that it provides a comfortable abode for some of music's most cantankerously odd and creative figures. From Sidney Bechet and Bix Beiderbecke through Thelonious Monk, Toshiko Akiyoshi, and John Zorn, jazz is a mansion with no shortage of space for visionaries doggedly exploring their own particular design. On Friday, two gloriously eccentric guitarists arrive in Oakland, courtesy of the San Francisco Jazz Festival, which is making its first foray into the Calvin Simmons Theatre (10 Tenth St.). Marc Ribot, a catalyst on Manhattan's downtown music scene for two decades, performs with his Los Cubanos Postizos, a deliciously faux tribute to Arsenio Rodriguez, the brilliant blind composer, tres player, and bandleader who helped define Cuban dance music in the 1940s and '50s. Featuring bassist Brad Jones, keyboardist Anthony Coleman, drummer Roberto Rodriguez, and percussionist E.J. Rodriguez, the band is an oddly effective vehicle for Ribot's spooky, clanging guitar and raspy vocals.Where Ribot strikes a cool, ironic pose, the other guitarist on the program, Bill Frisell, is a painfully earnest man with a sweet, slightly dazed stage persona. Since the release of his lovely 1997 album Nashville, he's spent much of his time delving into American roots music. But the deeper he digs into the dark, fecund soil of Americana, the wider he seems to spread his branches. Earlier this year he released The Intercontinentals (Nonesuch), a gorgeous but nascent session produced by Berkeley's Lee Townsend and featuring Brazilian-born, Brooklyn-based Vinicius Cantuária on acoustic guitar and vocals, Greek-born Seattle resident Christos Govetas on oud and bouzouki, Sidiki Camara from Mali on djembe and calebasse, Berkeleyite-turned-Brooklynite Jenny Scheinman on violin, and Greg Leisz on slide and pedal steel guitars. Frisell's band has spent a good deal more time onstage together since, and has likely attained a far deeper communion. "I'm constantly looking for these connections between things," Frisell says. "It's such an incredible feeling to play something with somebody and actually feel that it's all the same music."

Tickets and info: 415-776-1999 and SFJazz.org -- Andrew Gilbert

WED 11/5


A mull moment

The Secret Life of Martin Mull. Sounds like an ironic story from McSweeney's, doesn't it? But Clue's Colonel Mustard, the former Sabrina the Teenage Witch co-star, and Fernwood 2Nite host is also a prolific musician (recording guitar and/or ukulele with the likes of Tom Waits, Levon Helm, Peter Frampton, Steven Tyler, and others) and best-selling author (The History of White People in America). Mull is also an acclaimed painter of collage-like oil landscapes, portraying dreamy, disconnected scenes of the recent suburban past (above). His paintings are on display at the Mills Art Museum, and he'll speak today at 5:30 p.m. in the Mills College Concert Hall (5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland). Call 510-430-3250 for directions, 510-430-2164 for museum info. -- Stefanie Kalem

SAT 11/8

No Straight Chasers

Paying tribute to Thelonious Monk ain't easy. Even if you can pull off the crazy hats and shy stage presence, there's still the actual piano playing to wrangle with. Perhaps that's why Green Chimneys don't bother -- their Monk interpretations feature no ivories at all. Instead, the group uses Phillip Greenlief's saxophone, Ches Smith's drum kit, and Devon Huff's bass to examine Monk's tuneful legacy. And they focus mainly on the man's overlooked compositions, so don't come to the trio's 2 p.m. in-store appearance at Down Home Music (10341 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito) expecting "'Round Midnight," "52nd Street Theme," or "Straight, No Chaser." For info, call the store at 510-525-2129 -- Stefanie Kalem

WED 11/5

Rapturous Rag

Unlike the similarly named "trance dance," participants in a Shaman Trance Dance don't wear blindfolds, and aren't looking to be healed. That's not to say that the dancing led by interfaith minister and healer Ouia Joi, to a fusion of world rhythms, doesn't possess healing powers -- it's just not a prerequisite for truly enjoying yourself tonight at Ashkenaz (1317 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley). This month's event also features special guest performers Lotus Fusion Belly Dance Troupe (LotusBellyDance.com), aggregating the Shaman Trance Dance sounds into their eclectic movement stew, and DJ Amar. The evening starts at 9 p.m., and cover charge is on a sliding scale from $6 to $10. Details: 510-525-5054. -- Stefanie Kalem


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