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"Northwest Passage" brings Norway's finest jazz and electronica pioneers to town. SF Jazz brings you the best of Brazil.

Wednesday, Nov 3 2004
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In an effort to acknowledge the wide-ranging music culture of Brazil and its contribution to the evolution of American jazz -- most notably via the bossa nova craze of the early '60s -- the concert promoters at SFJAZZ have put together "A Mágica de Brasil" to spotlight a couple of international stars whose distinctive styles couldn't be further apart. The headliner on this curious double-bill is none other than Hermeto Pascoal , the 68-year-old multi-instrumentalist bandleader and lifelong iconoclast (think way-south-of-the-border Frank Zappa) whose storied career has included collaborations with such uncommon figures as jazz experimentalist Miles Davis and pop heartthrob Sérgio Mendes. The opener is up-and-coming vocalist Mônica Salmaso, a hypnotic chanteuse whose honeyed melodies have made her a favorite among globetrotting fans who enjoy a bit of intimacy with their exoticism. The Pascoal Band (a sextet) and Salmaso (in a duo with pianist Benjamin Taubkin) perform on Wednesday, Nov. 3, at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre; call 776-1999 or go to www.sfjazz.org for more info.
-- Sam Prestianni


In the first few years of the last century, a Norwegian sea captain named Roald Amundsen and his crew became the first sailors to successfully navigate the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans; a monument at Ocean Beach commemorates the spot where his ship was pulled ashore in 1909. This week, San Francisco honors Norwegian pioneers of a different sort with the Northwest Passage Festival, a showcase of the country's excellent experimental jazz and electronic music. On Thursday, Nov. 4, at the Great American Music Hall, Jaga Jazzist and Supersilent provide the three-day fest's most concentrated dose of deconstructed jazz, with both bands kicking out jams that margin-walk between post-rock, digital sampling, and full-bore fusion, harnessing everything from horns to drum machines. For listeners who aren't afraid of the howl of the open seas, Maja Ratkje and Arve Henriksen take ambient drones, electronic improv, and vocal gymnastics into truly spooky territory at the opening night event on Wednesday, Nov. 3, at 964 Natoma. And closing out the fest on Friday, Nov. 5, at 111 Minna, are DJs Strangefruit, Bjorn Torske, and Kent Horne spinning Norwegian dance music old and new -- proving that A-Ha was hardly the country's funkiest export. Go to www.northwestpassagefestival.com for complete info.
-- Philip Sherburne

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