In examining the lineage of saxophonist/drum energy-jazz duos, consider John Coltrane/Rashied Ali’s Interstellar Space
(1967), followed by Frank Lowe/Rashied Ali Duo Exchange
(1972), Andrew Cyrille Meets Peter Brotzmann in Berlin
(1982), Brotzmann’s duos with Hamid Drake called Dried Rat Dog
(1994) and David Murray’s exchanges with Milford Graves, The Read Deal
(1994). All these musicians stripped away the trappings of accompaniment, rhythm instruments, and formal structures to reveal pure sound.
To that list add Ivo Perelman and Jay Rosen. The Hammer pounds a message of rebellious attitude not unlike that of the band Rage Against The Machine. But where Rage gets it’s fuel from amps and electric bass, Perelman and Rosen make fire the old fashion way, through lightning strikes. And it strikes hard with the title track opener, the longest piece of the dozen, included clocking in at eight ½ minutes. The remaining tracks, all timed from a minute ½ to six, allow listeners to recover from the onslaught. Not that this is a blowout on every track. The limitations of Perelman’s trombivo, an alto trombone with a saxophone mouthpiece, necessitate bringing the intensity down on “Frying Pan Destruction” and “The Shelton Hotel.” Two pieces while not meditative, address Perelman’s lyricism.
Rosen doesn’t back down or play second fiddle to Perelman. His energy blasts are just as frenetic and juiced. Together the duo carries the energy forward from Coltrane/Ali sessions.