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Ivo Perelman's Two Stimulating Albums from January of 2024: Interaction and Truth Seeker


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Innovative Brazilian saxophonist and master improviser Ivo Perelman is as prolific as he is imaginative. With close to 100 recordings under his belt Perelman is always pushing the proverbial envelope looking for fresh ways to express himself. Having lived in various cities around the world—and currently splitting his time between Fortaleza Brazil and New York City—Perelman has been exposed to multiple cultures. The influences of these are heard in his various works. A pair of releases from 2024, each with two different sidemen, highlight some of these inspirations in Perelman's creative process very well.

Ivo Perelman

The absorbing Interaction (Ibeji, 2024) is a 2-hour and 9-minute digital-only release that was recorded in 2017 in Paris, France. It finds Perelman in the company of two European masters of creative music, English bassist Barry Guy and Spanish drummer Ramon Lopez. The entirely improvised session has a definite European aesthetic. Divided into two parts, with several segments within each, the performance flows with introspection, subtlety, elegance.

"Part 1-Track 1" for instance, features Perelman exploring the upper registers of his instrument while Guy and Lopez frame the saxophonist's melodic musings with sparse rhythms. Guy utilizes refreshingly unusual lines that are as singular as his virtuosity. Lopez's polyrhythmic bursts are sophisticated and understated, adding to the collective sound an intriguingly dark third dimension.

As the trio reaches the midpoint of the first part, the mysticism of their ensemble sound becomes fully apparent. On "Part 1-Track 7" Guy's almost chiming thrums and Lopez's rustling sticks add an aura of mystery to the piece. Perelman extemporizes with a contemplative melancholy and endows the piece with a sublime lyricism.

The conclusion of Part 1 or "Track 11 '' has a waltz-like quality in the beginning, albeit an angular one. As the tune evolves Pereleman's yearning and controlled wails are met by Guy's expectant con-arco drones and Lopez's percolating beats. Together these coalesce to a moving and provocative performance that is spontaneously poetic especially as it closes on a fervent tone.

"Part 2-Track 1" maintains the same pensive atmosphere. Clusters of notes from all three men alternate carefully with hauntingly placed silent pauses. Overall it is one of the most mellifluous on the recording. Perelman alternates between wistful and exuberant while Guy and Lopez match his brassy phrases with equal amounts of dissonance and melodicism creating thrilling dramatic tension.

Meanwhile "Part 2-Track 6" opens with Lopez's unaccompanied rumble followed by Guy's rapid fire basslines, and Perelman's passionate tenor. Even during the fiery interchange that leaves no room for quietude there is a level of control in the resulting breathtakingly complex, and dynamic harmonic construct. Guy demonstrates his prowess on his instrument with his signature style while Perelman and Lopez form waves of emotive sound around him. As a serenity ensues there is a lullaby-like quality to the tune.

Much like the cover art that Lopez contributed, this is a vibrant and intriguing work in shades of gray. As it has been said of Guy, he must be heard to be believed, the same can be said about this superlative trio of master improvisers.

Ivo Perelman
Truth Seeker
Fundacja Sluchaj

The second album that was released shortly after the first is the energetic and extroverted Truth Seeker (Fundacja Słucha, 2024). On it Perelman joins forces with two adventurous and inventive kindred spirits, bassist Mark Helias and drummer Tom Rainey. The collaborative trio spontaneously creates fiery and stimulating music spread out over seven tracks. The album, recorded in New York in 2022, has definite American (both North and South) sensibilities.

The atmospheric "Devotion" that opens with sparse notes and beats features Perelman's soulful tenor that flirts with dissonance. Helias and Rainey form an angular rhythmic framework around Perelman. The tune evolves into a blues drenched extemporization with Perelman blowing simmering phrases and Helias laying down deeply resonant and muscular lines. Rainey's thundering beats are simultaneously urbane and filled with a primal energy. As the ensemble members push one another to newer heights of spontaneous creativity the performance becomes delightfully riotous with a march like cadence. Then, softly, it fades into an angsty silence.

Meanwhile on "Life's Meaning" Helias' con-arco lines and Perelman's yearning tones form a dynamic tension. Rainey's booming kit, with its cascade of thuds and thrums enhances the cinematic ambience. As Helias bows and Perelman blows his tenor the piece hints at Latinesque sounds, like an otherworldly tango of sorts. Rainey continues to drive the exchanges with agility, switching between polyrhythmic flourishes and darkly moody percussion. The group, demonstrating exemplary camaraderie, let loose with exuberance with an undertone of lyricism, especially at the conclusion.

It may seem redundant to say that with this Perelman's career has reached a new height as this seems to be the case with each release. Truth Seeker, however, is a gem in the saxophonist's uniformly superb oeuvre. Perelman has mastered the knack of finding like-minded "partners in crime" but here he is out done himself. This is his most cohesive band since his synergistic collaborations with pianist Matthew Shipp.

Tracks and Personnel


Tracks: Part 1 -Track 1 ; Part 1 -Track 2; Part 1 -Track 3; Part 1 -Track 4; Part 1 -Track 5; Part 1 -Track 6; Part 1 -Track 7; Part 1 -Track 8 ; Part 1 -Track 9; Part 1—Track 10; Part 1 -Track 11; Part 2 -Track 1; Part 2-Track 3; Part 2 -Track 4; Part 2 -Track 5; Part 2-Track 6; Part 2 -Track 7; Part 2 -Track 8 ; Part 2-Track 9

Personnel: Ivo Perelman: tenor sax; Barry Guy, bass; Ramon Lopez: drums, tabla.

Truth Seeker

Tracks: Truth Seeker; Devotion; Mystical Vibration; Spiritual Growth; Ubiquitous Light; Life's Meaning; Intuition.

Personnel: Ivo Perelman: tenor sax; Mark Helias: bass; Tom Rainey: drums

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