Make all the comparisons you want: saxophonist Ivo Perelman has his own distinctive sound. At times exercising the split-tone multiphonics of Albert Ayler, at others relentlessly pursuing themes a la Coltrane, Perelman certainly draws heavily upon the free jazz tradition. But what sets his music apart is its personal character. On The Hammer,
he further confounds the issue by leaping directly into the free style initiated by Coltrane in his 1967 duets with Rashied Ali. The saxophone/drums combination allows Perelman to pursue thematic material without any "interference" from other tonal instruments. And he sails free.
On this surprisingly diverse set of (relatively) short tunes, Perelman etches contrast into the body of sound. He pursues organic melodies, only to head off into screaming tones at the high end of his instrument's range. While often organizing his playing around regular rhythmic units, he occasionally jumps out and exchanges irregular pulsing dynamics with drummer Jay Rosen. (In this setting, Rosen primarily plays a supporting role. While he certainly offers a versatile range of styles, his playing mostly conforms around the saxophonist's voice. Perelman's occasional bird-like tweets draw color from the percussionist, and moments of unbridled intensity elicit crashing rolls of thunder.) As an innovator in extended techniques, Perelman has few peers. Fortunately, his musical sense is equally well developed. Like it or leave it, The Hammer boldly asserts musical freedom in the strongest sense.
Personnel: Ivo Perelman: tenor saxophone, trombivo; Jay Rosen: drums.