Critic’s Choice for the week of May 17-23, 2006

Hot jazz, cool models, and jungle rumbles.


When it comes to Cuban or Latin jazz piano playing around the San Francisco Bay, there is no one more distinguished than Rebeca Mauleón. When the Mission District native was fourteen, she began playing professionally with Charanga Rene del Mar; in the decades since, she has worked with Pete Escovedo, Santana, Steve Winwood, and others. On Wednesday she hosts a CD release party for her new album Descarga en California at Yoshi’s in Oakland. $16 and $10; 8 and 10 p.m. 510-238-9200 or (Jesse “Chuy” Varela)

OXBOW GOING Downriver?

San Francisco’s hardcore-experimental-noise outfit Oxbow sears eyes and ears with the help of singer Eugene Robinson’s aggressive, sexual exorcising, which burns an image into your subconscious — for better or worse — for all of eternity. The band just released a new album, Love That’s Last: A Wholly Hypnographic and Disturbing Work Regarding Oxbow. Featuring songs from compilations and a documentary to boot, the new album smells of one thing — retirement; so see the band before it’s too late. With Triple Cobra and the Amplifiers at Bottom of the Hill (part of the Mission Creek Music Festival) Saturday. $8 p.m. (Kathleen Richards)


Oakland’s Dave Gleason and his band Wasted Days have made a quick name round these parts playing guitar-driven outlaw country. But tonight isn’t about Gleason; rather Wasted Days bassist Mike Therieau (pronounced Terry-o) steps up as frontman for the Mike Therieau Band — with Gleason on lead guitar. Shallow on naming conventions, but deep on country soul, the band performs after Los Angeles’ instrumental (and excellently named) country-rock trio Merle Jagger at the Ivy Room Friday, May 19. $7. 10 p.m. (Nate Seltenrich)


Oakland violinist Darol Anger coined the term “new acoustic music” 25 years ago to explain what he and like-minded musicians were creating by mixing bluegrass, folk, country, swing, jazz, and classical into a heady new brew. His latest vehicle for exploring the above-mentioned concoction is Republic of Strings, whose first album caused a stir on the festival circuit. Expect them to play new tunes from their just-issued Generation Nation album. Mumbo Gumbo singer Chris Webster guests on vocals, joining the Republic lineup of Anger and guitarist Scott Nygaard, fiddler Gabriel Witcher and, on cello, three-time national fiddle champion Tristan Clarridge. Thursday and Friday night at the Freight & Salvage. $19.50 advance, $20.50 door; (510) 548-1761 or (Larry Kelp)


In their first joint appearance, the superb small choral ensemble, Volti, joins the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra for a Sunday afternoon program in Berkeley’s St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. The afternoon features Britten’s seldom-heard “Cantata Misericordium,” Imbrie’s “On the Beach at Night,” and the enticing world premiere of Volti resident composer Mark Winges’ “Open the Book of What Happened.” Volti has won several ASCAP awards, in no small part due to music director Robert Geary’s adventurous choice of repertoire and fine taste in singers. $20/$15/$8. 4 p.m. 415-771-3352 or (Jason Victor Serinus)


Toubab Krewe is based in Asheville, North Carolina, but the five band members traveled all over Africa to study with some of the continent’s master musicians. They’ve managed to blend the pop sounds of Mali, Zimbabwe, and the Congo with American rock and various Caribbean rhythms, making them the best Afropop guitar band since the heyday of the Bhundu Boys. They play San Francisco’s Cafe du Nord Tuesday for $8 at 9 p.m. (j. poet)


Jazz-hop is back. It hit a decade ago, but you can take a trip to back to Bop City at Oakland’s Uptown this week, when rappers HoFlow and Mic Blake and singer Caitlin Cornwell unveil their new album Swollen — Present to Past. If those names sound familiar, they should. Bop City’s principals have been at the thick of the local live music scene since the early ’90s in outfits like Alphabet Soup, the Mo’Fessionals, and Jungle Biskit. More urban than its predecessors, the new Bop City sound uses more rhymes than extended instrumentals, and Cornwell’s exquisite voice adds undeniable smoothness to the rhythmic mix. DJ Josh Klor opens Thursday at 9 p.m. $10. (Eric K. Arnold)

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