Wednesday, August 09, 2017


I saw Susie Ibarra play live 21 years ago - I didn't know who she was before the show, and not sure if I figured out her name during it, or immediately afterwards, but she made a huge impression on me as the drummer in the David S. Ware Quartet, with Matthew Shipp on piano, William Parker on bass, and the late Mr. Ware on saxophone. A a great, great band filled with absolute heavyweights on every instrument. I'm lucky I got to see them.

Flash forward to the present, when, just a couple weeks ago, I learned that for a few years early in the 2000s, Ibarra played in an all-female improvising band called Mephista, releasing two CDs in 2002 and 2004 on John Zorn's Tzadik label, Black Narcissus and Entomological Reflections. It was Ibarra on percussion, Sylvie Courvoisier on piano, and Ikue Mori on electronics, and they created a very distinctive, idiosyncratic minimalist/maximalist trio sound together. Out of all the records released on Tzadik, I've probably heard less than 10% of them, and I probably would've never even known these two from Mephista existed either, if it wasn't for listening to Ibarra being interviewed by Jeremiah Cymerman on his 5049 Records podcast. That led me to these YouTubes, and a few more out there, and now I'm eyeing online secondhand sale copies of those aforementioned CDs (as far as I can tell there's nothing else in their discography, though they are still somewhat active, having played as recently as November 2016).

POSTSCRIPT: Susie Ibarra was also just interviewed at The Trap Set! 

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