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Picks for the week of February 20-26, 2008

Friday Feb. 22
Kuumbwa Jazz Center
320-2 Cedar St
Santa Cruz

Maceo Parker

"MAY-CE-O!," as James Brown fondly referred to him once upon a time, is the most prominent player ever to back the Godfather of Soul. While Brown always used exacting standards to choose the musicians at his flank, Maceo Parker will long stand alone as one of the few who went on to achieve musical notoriety himself. The sax player has enjoyed a career of staggering heights, supporting Brown as well as Parliament/Funkadelic, Bootsy's Rubber Band and Prince, all while releasing a string of solo albums that display a remarkable musical range. Parker's most recent work, School's Out, demonstrates that even five decades into his career, the man still has a way around a groove that few can rival.

Steel Pulse
Sunday Feb. 24
Dinkelspiel Auditorium

Meridian Arts Ensemble

CHAMBER MUSIC isn't always about the strings. The Meridian Art Ensemble trumpets the power of brass with five horns (including the tuba) and some percussion. For the group's concert as part of the Stanford Lively Arts series, it will perform Magnetic North, a 2006 work by Stanford faculty member Mark Applebaum that was commissioned for Meridian. The eclectic program also features Revueltas' Ocho por Radio, Frank Zappa's Echidna's Art, David Sanford's Corpus and a brand-new piece called Stillas by Per Bloland, a Stanford grad student.

Steel Pulse
Fri. and Sat. Feb. 22–23
Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts
500 Castro St
Mountain View

Canizares Quartet

REGARDED as one of Spain's best flamenco guitar players (which says a lot, considering flamenco was born in Spain), Canizares' musical career is highlighted by impeccable musicianship and his original approach to the centuries-old style of Spanish guitar. His instrumental mastery has earned him worldwide acclaim, not to mention collaborations with a long list of big-name artists like Peter Gabriel, Michael Breacker and Al DiMeola. His latest album, 2008's Suite Iberia, is yet another testament to the Canizares legacy. He is accompanied by a quartet for this performance.

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