It probably didn't make headlines when Susie Ibarra left Houston almost 13 years ago. Young musicians migrate to New York City constantly -- it's the place to be, especially if you're interested in the sort of free improvisation that NYC's jazz community contains.
Ibarra returns to town as a 30-year-old veteran for this duo performance with British saxophone colossus Evan Parker. She also returns as one of the most multitalented percussionists around; she studied under percussion pioneer Milford Graves, and has lent her colors to some of the more compelling work of the '90s, from Matthew Shipp's polyrhythmic piano pointillism to William Parker's large-ensemble sound paintings. She was also one of the few musicians to keep pace with guitarist Derek Bailey. Their Daedal raises more brain-bruising ruckus than any two people have a right to.
Ibarra and Parker have played together only a few times, but with performers of this caliber, there's no need to worry about them finding a groove. Parker, 57, has been part of the hard-edged European free scene since the late 1960s, taking part in such intense ensembles as Peter Brötzmann's Machine Gun octet and the Spontaneous Music Ensemble. Like Brötzmann, Parker fuses the frenzy of John Coltrane's and Albert Ayler's soul screaming with his own fire and ire; his ever-growing discography includes more than 150 recordings.
Ibarra and Evan Parker
Hamman Hall at Rice University
Tuesday, April 10; (713)521-7529
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A hint to what Ibarra and Parker may conjure up together can be found in their recent output as leaders. Parker's electro-acoustic explorations and Ibarra's Eastern-tinged Flower After Flower incorporate idioms outside the confines of both traditional and so-called free jazz. Neither musician settles for a limited vocabulary, and they are ever ready to go wherever the muse beckons. Their combined energies may emit sparks that dance all over the map.