It can be hard not to reach for words like 'transcendent' when listening to Brazilian saxophonist Ivo Perelman
. He balances his love of the upper registers with an unsentimental lyricism which is difficult to resist. For his ESP debut, Perelman reconvenes the trusted line-up from Heptagon
(Leo, 2017) of long-standing associate pianist Matthew Shipp
, bassist William Parker
and drummer Bobby Kapp
on eight collectively-sculpted pieces from a studio session in April 2018.
They create music in an alchemy of disparate parts. While Perelman captures the attention, the mesh of piano, bass and drums generates an intriguing and responsive canvas, which goes way beyond accompaniment. Shipp performs at his customary high level, offering a spiraling flow of melodic fragments, relentless motifs and ringing chords. Parker grounds proceedings, offering an earthy counterpoint and a deeply-anchored throb. Kapp proves an airy and sensitive drummer, plying a cadenced chatter which expands and contracts as the music demands.
While the opening "Ecstasy" provides a rhapsodic dose of Perelman's heart-on-sleeve emotive style, other numbers on this recording promote more nuanced fare. Although less intense, the nervy staccato of the short title track travels widely, even making space for a tappy drum solo.
Shipp opens "Jubilation" with a jaunty bounce which wouldn't be out of place on one of his trio albums. It's a cut which makes the depth of the interplay clear. At one point, the pianist briefly replicates Parker's descending phrase, in one of those satisfying instances that say yep, these guys are really connected to each other even if they avoid easy harmony. Then there's a lovely rhythmic confluence between tenor, piano and bass towards the end of the track.
Such fine moments abound throughout. In just one example, towards the close of the busy restless "Bliss," Perelman tumbles fluidly through the registers, tracing a graceful arc from impassioned shriek to smoldering solemnity. The disc finishes with another such moment, a passage of sparse exchanges on "Exuberance" over which Perelman's filigree tenor traceries flutter and billow like prayer flags.
Not having heard the vast majority of Perelman's voluminous output it's hard to know where this effort fits, but suffice to say it's an outstanding outing, which presents the saxophonist in imperious form with a totally simpatico group.
Ecstasy; Ineffable Joy; Jubilation; Ebullience; Bliss; Elation; Rejoicing; Exuberance.
Ivo Perelman: tenor saxophone; Matthew Shipp: piano; William Parker: bass; Bobby Kapp: drums.