Susie Ibarra Trio, Co Streiff Sextett - Rote Fabrik, Zurich, 28 March 2007
Saw a great and a lousy concert last night (double bill): Susie Ibarra Trio w/Craig Taborn & Jennifer Choi - everybody by now knows uub's got a crush on her, I assume, and indeed she was terrific, very sophisticated approach, great groove, and a beautifully tuned set of drums, really a sound of her own ... but, BUT ... the other two were just so talkative, fake, boring - bullshitting all the way, nothing felt in there, all just made up facade ... really annoying, and mostly pretty ridiculous, pathetic, Taborn doing boring neo-/pseudo-romantic stuff, and Choi helping him making sure the music didn't breathe once in a 45 minute set ... no space, no sense for pacing, a totally misled concept. The tunes all sweet and often almost like what's called "Salon-Musik" over here, muzak of the worst kind, all beautiful surface and nothing below that - and no, irony was NOT involved. Misguided in the sense that they don't know what they actually do there - bullshitting in what I assume is more or less the Harry Frankfurt way of defining it... Second was the Co Streiff Sextett - she's a local alto/soprano sax player and the Sextett has its second CD "Loops, Holes and Angels" just out on Intakt. The band includes another reeds player, Tommy Meier (tenor sax & bass clarinet), Russ Johnson on trumpet, a local bass/drums team (Christian Weber & Fredi Flükiger), plus Ben Jeger on piano, accordion, farfisa and some other old synthesizers. They played a superb set, lots of the music being really group-music, not about egos and solos, but more about creating colours and grooves, doing a tune from Mali, some almost highlife like material, and lots of other great things, you can hear much of jazz history in there, from basic blues to Sun Ra and Roscoe (both of whom were covered on their first disc, "Qattara", also on Intakt) and Fela Kuti (nothing of his on disc, but they do some in live shows, not last night, though). Anyway, this more than made up for the pastiche banality of the Ibarra trio... Again let me stress that Susie Ibarra is a master percussionist, no doubt about that, just she ought to do different stuff... and Taborn is quite interesting and good when playing with Tim Berne... but then again his own disc "Junk" (?) on Matt Shipp's pretentious label is pretty boring, too ... PS (May 2016): I don't consider "Junk Magic" on Thirsty Ear "pretty boring" any longer - hope one is allowed to fix ones own mistakes or correct old misjudgements as time passes! The Ibarra Trio didn't get any better in hindsight though - was it deceived love? ;-) Also, of course Thirsty Ear was never "Matt Shipp's label" in a sense that he owned it. Yet with the "Blue Series" he curated, he had a major impact on the label when I got into avantgarde jazz initially.