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Critics' picks - music

Martin Sexton
(CRACKERFARM)

MARTIN SEXTON

Charismatic local favorite Sexton is promoting a live album. True to its title, ‘‘Solo’’ features Sexton armed only with his elastic vocals, guitar, and a clutch of songs including covers of Prince’s ‘‘Purple Rain’’ and the Beatles’ ‘‘With a Little Help From My Friends.’’ 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13. $26-$32. Berklee Performance Center. 617-931-2000, www.ticketmaster.com
December 11, 2008
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POP & ROCK

SISTER HAZEL The genial Florida rockers hit the Hub in support of their latest, a spirited, stripped-down effort called "Before the Amplifiers, Live Acoustic." New labelmates the Benjy Davis Project open the show. 9 p.m. Dec. 12. $20. Paradise Rock Club. 617-931-2000, www.ticketmaster.com

NEIL YOUNG In these economically gut-wrenching times, this is a high-value triple bill with Young, who scorched at Farm Aid this summer; the always adventurous Wilco; and up-and-coming indie rockers Everest. 7 p.m. Dec. 13. $50-$250. DCU Center. 617-931-2000, www.ticketmaster.com

WINTERPILLS Based in Northampton, this indie-folk quintet traffics in the best kind of lean-in-and-listen music. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14. $15. Club Passim. 617-492-7679, www.clubpassim.org

SARAH RODMAN

FOLK, WORLD & COUNTRY

CHRIS BROKAW Whether as a drummer, guitarist, songwriter, or singer, Cambridge-based Brokaw has been a driving force in various bands (Come, Codeine). But his new solo album, "Canaris," puts the spotlight right where it belongs: on his phenomenal acoustic guitar playing. 9 p.m. Dec. 11. $8-$11. P.A.'s Lounge. 617-776-1557, www.paslounge.com

MARTA GÓMEZ After graduating from Berklee, Gómez, a fine Colombian singer-songwriter, returns to the area with a quartet for two shows. 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Dec. 12. $14-$16. Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center, 41 Second St., Cambridge. 617-577-1400, www.ticketweb.com

SINTI RHYTHM The gypsy spirit of Django Reinhardt is alive and well in this local quartet, which plays a jazzy blend of standards with the occasional folk or bluegrass tune thrown in for good measure. 6 p.m. Dec. 13. Free. Atwood's Tavern, 877 Cambridge St., Cambridge. 617-864-2792, www.atwoodstavern.com

JAMES REED

JAZZ, BLUES & CABARET

KARRIN ALLYSON The silky-voiced Kansas native has emerged as one of the past decade's finest jazz vocalists, with a wide-ranging repertoire. 8 and 10 p.m. Dec. 12. $25. Scullers. 617-562-4111, www.scullersjazz.com

STEVE KUHN AT HARVARD. The incisively lyrical modern pianist has played with numerous jazz giants. A Harvard alumnus (class of '59), his December residency at his alma mater will include two public events: a free Friday afternoon conversation on his career and creative process (4 p.m. Dec. 12 at the New College Theatre Rehearsal Studio, 10-12 Holyoke St. 617-495-8676, ofa.fas.harvard.edu/lfp) and a Saturday evening concert with the Harvard Jazz Bands. 8 p.m. Dec. 13. $8-$10. Lowell Hall, Kirkland and Oxford streets, Cambridge. 617-496-2222, www.boxoffice.harvard.edu

DUKE ROBILLARD BAND Virtuosic guitar swinger Robillard has kept his feet firmly planted in the mid-20th-century tradition of jazzy jump blues, yet he's no stranger to the 21st, evidenced by his new soul-jazz instrumental cover of Amy Winehouse's "Rehab." 8 and 10 p.m. Dec. 13. $10-$18. Chan's. 267 Main St., Woonsocket, R.I. 401-765-1900, www.chanseggrollsandjazz.com

AARDVARK JAZZ ORCHESTRA'S 36th ANNUAL CHRISTMAS CONCERT The maiden voyage of this wonderful Boston-based big band was a Christmas 1973 benefit concert. The now-annual tradition continues this year, with selections from Duke Ellington's sublime "Second Sacred Concert," compositions by Aardvark's founder and music director Mark Harvey, and carols featured on the band's three Christmas CDs. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14. $15. Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St., Boston. www.aardvarkjazz.com

KEVIN LOWENTHAL

CLASSICAL

PAAVALI JUMPPANEN Some piano recital programs scale the peaks of the literature and then return to earth with contrasting repertoire. Others just keep floating. This Finnish pianist has the latter flight path scheduled, as he completes his eight-part traversal of the complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas with the extraordinary trio of late works, Opp. 109, 110, and 111. Dec. 14 at 1:30 p.m. $23, Gardner Museum, 617-278-5156 or www.gardnermuseum.org

BOSTON BAROQUE Martin Pearlman leads the ensemble and chorus in their annual rendition of Handel's "Messiah." Dec. 12 and 13 at 7:30 p.m., $25 to $69, Jordan Hall, 617-484-9200 or www.bostonbaroque.org

BOSTON CAMERATA Music director emeritus Joel Cohen has assembled this program titled "The Brotherhood of the Star: A Hispanic Christmas, 1300-1700," featuring music from Spanish-speaking lands across the centuries. Dec. 12 to 20, various locations, 866-427-2092 or www.bostoncamerata.org

BOSTON CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY It's an all-Mozart program this week. With oboist Peggy Pearson, violinist Ida Levin, cellist Rhonda Rider, and violist Marcus Thompson, who will be the Society's next artistic director. Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m., $30 to $40, First Church in Cambridge, 617-349-0086 or bostonchambermusic.org

JEREMY EICHLER

BOSTON.COM

For event listings around the region,

Go to www.boston.com/thingstodo

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