These are two giants of the European avant-garde, each making her first appearance in Chicago as part of the Southend Musicworks’ innovative concert series. Swiss pianist Irene Schweizer was among the founders of Europe’s FMP (Free Music Production) movement in the 1960s; she was also long considered the preeminent avant-garde pianist in Europe, owing to a high-energy musical presence that finds voice in her no-holds-barred technique, which sometimes threatens to overwhelm the keyboard altogether. Similarly, British vocalist Maggie Nicols doesn’t restrict herself to conventional utterances of the vox humana; a wide range of unexpected noises, excursions out of the music and into spoken-word satire, and truly bizarre interpolations direct from the British music hall all find their way into Nicols’s flighty improvisations. Both are one of a kind, but that hasn’t stopped them from collaborating often during their careers (in both performance capacities and more political contexts, such as organizing concerts that highlight women improvisers). Saturday, 8 PM, Elbo Room, 2871 N. Lincoln; 667-1469 or 549-5549.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Gerald Futrick.