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JANUARY 9 & 15

“New Music for the New Year”

After a very winning 1997, Transparent Productions begins 1998 with two shows it’s dubbing “New Music for the New Year.” First, Ken Vandermark (pictured) blows into town from the Second City for an evening of cross-cultural improvisation with the Swedish AALY Trio. Supported by more groups than Stuart Smalley (Vandermark Five, NRG Ensemble, Steelwool Trio, Cinghiale, DKV Trio, etc.), Vandermark has dug into mixed bags like Captain Beefheartian jazz, Funkadelic punk, and Albert Aylerlike rock, and pulled out powerful phrases on his saxophone and clarinets that are both clarion and convoluted. There is an imminent album on Silkheart featuring Vandermark with the AALY Trio, but the force of such energy music is best felt live, where it can part your hair and buckle your knees. At 7:30 p.m. Friday at Chief Ike’s Mambo Room, 1725 Columbia Rd. NW. $10. (301) 434-0987. The second part of Transparent’s minifest showcases the power of two. The large crowd that saw the David S. Ware quartet last September at the Washington Ethical Society was ostensibly there to see the saxophonist leader or his lauded sidemen, William Parker and Matthew Shipp. But the name on most people’s lips by evening’s end was that of percussionist Susie Ibarra, who attacked her drum kit the same way her mere presence attacked stereotypes of female musicians. Ibarra appears with her husband, tenor saxophonist Assif Tsahar, at 8 p.m. Thursday at Crush, 2323 18th St. NW. $10. (301) 434-0987. (Christopher Porter)