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Film Review

Reed Rapture In Brooklyn


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Much like the eponymous audio release, McGlynn's motion picture is full of vibrant energy and excitement.
Ivo Perelman
Reed Rapture in Brooklyn

Tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman is a restless innovator with a prolific output. Recorded in 2021, his magnum opus, the 12-disc box set Reed Rapture in Brooklyn (Mahakala, 2022), is a set of improvised duets with a dozen masters of the woodwinds. Versatile and award-winning director/producer Don McGlynn is known for the depth and captivating uniqueness of his documentaries. Hence, he was the perfect choice to make this film about Perelman and his masterpiece.

McGlynn carefully intermixed interviews, some conducted by Perelman, with each of the 12 musicians with intimately shot duet performances. The candid conversations not only reveal each person's singular experiences and perspectives, they are also organized in a way to assure narrative continuity. For example James Carter discussed the technical aspects of his collaboration with Perelman. Meanwhile, Tim Berne talked about how he did not want to listen to Perelman's work before these sessions in order to approach this effort without any preconceptions.

Connecting these dialogues and musical passages are scenes where Perelman relates the process of how this project came to life. For instance he asked saxophonist Jon Irabagon to join at the behest of California-based saxophonist Larry Ochs who was Perelman's original choice for the higher register reeds, and expressed anticipation and the delight he felt when playing with inimitable Roscoe Mitchell. Meanwhile critic and writer Gary Giddins not only commented on the music, he also placed it in a historic context. He talked about the birth of the avant-garde jazz movement and how it was first maligned, only to later have elements of it embraced by mainstream practitioners like trumpeter Miles Davis on E.S.P. (Columbia, 1965).

Artists themselves also add historical tidbits, such as Mitchell revealing how he got exposed to jazz and David Murray reminiscing about the beginnings of his career as well as his affinity for the bass clarinet. Elsewhere Joe Lovano discussed his point of views on inspiration and its sources. McGlynn sometimes cuts to Perelman painting his signature abstract canvases with parts of the duets overdubbed onto these sequences. This overlap shows the similarity between Perelman's creativity in both forms of artistic expressions, as saxophonist and label owner Chad Fowler astutely points out at the beginning of the movie.

Much like the eponymous audio release, McGlynn's motion picture is full of vibrant energy and excitement. It is a fascinating look at the spontaneous creative process and a testament of music's power to bring people together in a sincere and meaningful way.

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