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Susie Ibarra

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By the end of the 1990s, Susie Ibarra had emerged as one of the leading current free jazz drummers, impressing jazz and new music audiences alike while performing in various lineups that included the David S. Ware Quartet, the Matthew Shipp Trio, and a duo with saxophonist Assif Tsahar. Although born in California, Ibarra grew up in Texas. She later studied at N.Y.C.'s Mannes College of Music, and after graduating went on to attend Goddard College. Ibarra studied drumming and percussion with Milford Graves and Vernel Fournier, and later with Denis Charles, who had a weekly duo session with Ibarra for the few years preceding his death in early 1998. A live recording of this duo, Drum Talk, was released within the year by the Wobbly Rail label. Ibarra also learned and performed in several percussion groups, including gamelan (Balinese and Javanese) and Philippine kulintang ensembles. A resident of N.Y. throughout the 1990s, Ibarra replaced Whit Dickey (who went on to lead his own trio) as drummer in the David S. Ware Quartet by 1997, first appearing with Ware, Matthew Shipp, and William Parker on Wisdom of Uncertainty, the inaugural release of the AUM Fidelity label. She was also a member of the Matthew Shipp Trio (same lineup as the Ware Quartet, minus Ware) during this time, and with these two groups recorded not only for AUM Fidelity but for DIW, Sony, and Hatology as well. In 1998, she was awarded Best New Talent of the Year by Jazziz Magazine. The next year, Ibarra started up her own label, Hopscotch, with saxophonist and husband Assif Tsahar. No longer active in the Ware Quartet or Shipp Trio, Ibarra toured in a duo with Tsahar to support Hopscotch's first release, Home Cookin'. In 1999, she began leading her own trio with pianist Cooper Moore and violinist Charles Burnham. The trio's first recording, entitled Radiance, was released at the end of that year. Ibarra led her first larger group (which included the trio members) for her first Tzadik release, Flower After Flower (2000). ~ Joslyn Layne

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Years Active:

'90s, '00s