Throughout his long and prolific recording career, Ivo Perelman
has recorded with a large number of free improvisation's leading lights. Pianist Matthew Shipp
stands at the top of the pile, with over two dozen joint appearances; Joe Morris
, Gerald Cleaver
, Whit Dickey
, William Parker
, and many others help comprise the long list of associates he's maintained since the 1990s. But one would be remiss to ignore the occasional, yet important, work he has done with string players. Violinist/violist Mat Maneri
has been a frequent partner as, to a somewhat lesser degree, have string ensembles: in 1998 Perelman released The Alexander Suite
(Leo Records) with the C.T. String Quartet (Dominic Duval
, Tomas Ulrich
, Ronald Lawrence
, Jason Kao Hwang
), and in 2012 he teamed with the Sirius Quartet for The Passion According to G.H.
(Leo Records). Perelman's early musical training involved studying the guitar as well as the cello, viola, violin and bass, so his affinity for all manner of string instruments is a part of his musical DNA.
All of which makes his current recording with the Arcado String Trio such an exciting musical document. An ensemble that issued a handful of records in the late 1980s and 1990s, starting with its self-titled debut in 1989 (JMT Records), violinist Mark Feldman
, cellist Hank Roberts
and bassist Mark Dresser
haven't recorded together since 1992's For Three Strings and Orchestra
(JMT), as Ernst Reijseger
took over for Roberts on the group's last couple albums in the mid-1990s. Feldman, Roberts, and Dresser are all exceptional improvisers, and uniting them once again is itself a feat worth celebrating; but bringing them together with Perelman is particularly inspired, given the saxophonist's deep reservoir of emotion and feeling, allowing him to blend perfectly with the Arcado Trio's passionate exuberance.
The group offers four improvisations, with the first, "Resonance 1," coming in at almost eighteen minutes; it's a marvelous exchange of ideas, with ample evidence that this is about as far as one can get from an "Ivo Perelman with strings" concept. Indeed, so thoroughly does Perelman merge with the trio that one can easily forget the obvious differences in timbre and sonority, as the four instruments dance together in a meeting of equals. Like Perelman, Feldman is an emotionally volatile player, and their lyrical flights dovetail nicely; but Roberts and Dresser add layers of depth, especially through their superlative arco technique, demonstrated to excellent effect throughout "Resonance 1."
The remaining pieces are substantially more concentrated, but at eight to nine minutes in length they still offer abundant opportunities for the group's subtle intercommunication and wide range of expression to emerge forcefully. There's an especially dark energy pulsing through "Resonance 2," catalyzed by Dresser's deep dives and manic lines; a rhythmic dynamism animates "Resonance 3," with a spirit of headlong motion and visceral potency. And the delightful groove the group finds on "Resonance 4" is a terrific way to end the album, as the strings' pizzicato lines establish a vigorous pace that propels Feldman and Perelman to rapturous heights. A fine conclusion to a wonderful feast of improvised music.
Resonance 1; Resonance 2; Resonance 3; Resonance 4.