Susie Ibarra Trio, Radiance
The missing link between free jazz and Gamelan drumming, drummer/leader Susie Ibarra exudes an innate sense of form and flow, her drumming as rhythmically startling as it is melodically beautiful. Often dragging bells and percussion over the drums as her sticks delicately dance on the cymbals, Ibarra is that rare free jazz musician who always maintains a definitive pulse, even at its most subliminal level. Awarded Jazziz's Best New Talent of the Year in 1998, Ibarra has led many of her own groups, including the trio on this '99 recording featuring frequent William Parker collaborator Cooper Moore on piano and nonpareil violinist Charles Burnham (Cassandra Wilson, James Blood Ulmer). A folk-jazz suite of sorts, this luminous album is both pastoral and explosive, from the gentle, bubbling chatter of "Dreams" and the Latin rumbling of "Jagged Threads" to a joyously crazed version of Hendrix's "Up From the Skies," which matches wah-wahed violin with an Ibarra drum solo straight out of the Wild West.