BYRD IN HAND -- Guitarist Charlie Byrd kicks off a four-week Charlie Byrd Festival at the King of France Tavern in Annapolis. The gregarious guitarist, who has long nurtured music fellowship (and helped champion Brazilian music here in the early '60s), will be the the center of 10 different shows spread over four weekends. Tonight's teams Byrd's Trio with the Annapolis Brass Quintet in a program ranging from big band to baroque (and if it ain't baroque, don't fix it). Tomorrow's a straight Trio night, while Sunday brings guest trumpeter Hal Posey and flutist Paula Hatcher. Fellow guitarists start dropping in next weekend: Byrd goes it solo with Bucky Pizzarelli and Gene Bertoncini Oct. 7 and 8, with some Trio fueling on Oct. 8; brings in New York's Howard Alden Oct. 12, homeboy Pete Kennedy Oct. 13 and the classically inclined Washington Guitar Quintet on Oct. 14; and finishes with singer Ethel Ennis and Bertoncini on Oct. 19 and the well-traveled and recorded Brazilian-focused guitar combo with Laurindo Almeida and Carlos Barbossa Lima on Oct. 20 and 21. There are several specially priced series tickets available: four Fridays for $37.50, four Sundays for $32.50, or all eight different shows for $65. Performances are at 8 and 10 on Fridays and Saturdays, 8:30 on Sunday. For information, call Festival Reservations at 301/263-2641 in Annapolis or 800/638-8902.
DELTA FORCE -- Cassandra Wilson, Chapter Two in District Curators' ongoing Multi-Kulti festival, makes her D.C. debut at d.c. space with shows at 8, 10 and midnight. Folks are comparing this young Mississippian, with a voice that "drips smoke and honey," to Betty Carter and Abbey Lincoln, though she's proved to be more musically adventurous since moving to New York in the early '80s and becoming a key figure in Brooklyn's M-Base (Macro-Basic Array of Systematic Extemporizations). Like fellow conspirators Greg Osby, Steve Coleman and Geri Allen, Wilson prefers to face the uncertain future, not merely to reflect the glorious past. $12, available from 11:30 to 7 at the club; 202/347-1445.
NORTHERN LIGHT -- North Carolina's David Wilcox has been building a fan base here over the last year, and on this Birchmere stopover, he's introducing James Keelaghan, who's being called Canada's finest new songwriter (you may have heard him on NPR's "Weekend Edition" or "Mountain Stage"). The Calgary native is fond of Irish poets like Yeats and Joyce, which may explain his predilection for historical narratives and tales of love lost and causes fought: His "Small Rebellion" movingly addresses the Bienfait massacre of 1931 when coal miners tried to organize in the fields of Western Canada. $13.50; 703/549-5919.
TAILGATE REGGAE -- Dance for sun at the ninth annual Washington DC Reggae Festival at RFK Stadium's Lot No.4 (the Skins will be away whomping the Phoenix Cardinals). The music runs from 11 to 10, with a number of local and regional reggae bands (Determination, Carl Malcom and Positive Vibration, Image Band), plus headliner Inner Circle, which did a feeble theme song for Fox's feeble "Bad Boys" but is having better luck with a cover of Three Dog Night's "Black and White." Besides the lilting music, there will be vendors and arts and crafts. Admission is $10, with children under 12 free; 202/232-8226 or 301/589-9019.
TEXAS TWISTERS -- Some are calling the Texas Tornados a Tex-Mex Travelling Wilburys, which makes sense since the lineup includes country balladeer Freddy Fender, accordionist Flaco Jimenez and the excitable Augie Meyers and Doug Sahm. At the Birchmere. $17.50; 703/549-5919.
PLANET Z -- Today's surest Elvis sightings will be at the University of Maryland's Ritchie Coliseum where Tort-Elvis, the rotund frontman for Dread Zeppelin (yes, reggae cover versions of the Led-en ones' great repertoire) headline a bill with the daffy Strawberry Zots and the Now. $17.50; 202/432-0200.
NOW IN SESSION -- Over at Blues Alley, drummer Richard Tee, he of the 1,000 album sessions, joins forces with Steve Gadd and Will Lee (of David Letterman's band) and John Tropea and Lenny Pickett (from the "Saturday Night Live" crew) in what will undoubtedly be a night of fast-paced fusion and instrumental virtuosity. $18; 202/337-4141.
POINT COUNTERPOINT -- One week before their Florida trial on obscenity charges, those notorious rappers the 2 Live Crew (and baby act Poison Crew) make a belated Washington appearance at the 9:30 club ($20; 202/393-0930). Meanwhile, Garvin's hosts a "ladies only" Girls Night Out, hosted by comedian Jenny Jones. Described as a cross between group therapy and a pajama party, it's innovative and, be warned, interactive, and it takes over the downtown Garvin's Comedy Club (between 13th and 14th on L Street NW). Reservations are a must. $15, plus one-drink minimum; 202/783-2442.
THE CALL-UP -- At the Hard Rock Cafe, Michael Been and his vastly underrated band, the Call, will be showcasing songs from their new "Red Moon" album (including "What's Happened to You," though without guest vocalist Bono); it's a benefit for the National Association of People With AIDS ($50; 202/737-ROCK).
MESSIANIC ROCK -- Jesus Jones, debuting at the 9:30 club, is probably the loudest of the plethora of new bands with Jesus as part of their name. The English band champions a goulash of pop noise that begs, borrows and steals from every available source and regurgitates it (sometimes all at once) in pulsing, danceable rhythms. This is the kind of band that proudly wears its influences on its sleeve (actually the inner sleeve of their SBK debut, "Liquidizer.") They've been called a cross between Sonic Youth and the Cowsills (mmm!). $9; 202/393-0930.
MO' BETTER JAZZ -- Saxophonist Branford Marsalis is the oldest of the Marsalis brothers, and maybe the most approachable and adaptable (he's played with Dizzy Gillespie, Sting, Tina Turner and Teena Marie). A genial actor, he both appears in and enriches the soundtrack of Spike Lee's newest movie, "Mo' Better Blues," with a little help from trumpeter Terence Blanchard (who does Denzel Washington's dirty work). At Lisner with a quintet, they probably won't be doing scenes from the movie, but they'll play much music from same, as well as from Marsalis's excellent new album, "Crazy People Music." This is a good time to catch two of the more deserving young lions of jazz. $20; 432-0200 or 994-6800.