Even after countless encounters, Brazilian-born, NYC-based saxophonist Ivo Perelman and American pianist Matthew Shipp still find abundant inspiration in each other's company. Unlike the shorter cuts on most of their studio sessions, Live In Nuremburg presents an intense but rewarding unbroken 55-minute concert, with a four-minute encore, captured in crystal-clear fidelity, in the titular German city. It portrays two souls in complete communion with only their intuition to guide them.
Unique stylists, instantly identifiable after only a few bars, both sustain an almost continuous exchange. The ruminative opening juxtaposes stately piano and fluttering impish tenor. It is Shipp who lays the rhythmic foundation early on, which the reedman often matches in cadence and tempo. It also cuts the other way, with the pianist picking up on the hint of meter in Perelman's repeated yelps. As Shipp peppers fast-fingered jazzy motifs with stabs, tremolos and pecks, Perelman works out and through recurrent phrases, unearthing songlike fragments, as well as the occasional falsetto excursion. They also slip in some arresting contrasts, between a stomping bass register and altissimo shrieks.
But, in a flexible, restless discourse, no mood lasts for long. They pass as episodes in a permanently blooming, unfolding stream of invention, which range from interludes of haunting beauty to bustling locomotive tattoos. Although there are no tunes, the outcome is nonetheless surprisingly lyrical. Regular scuttling passages serve as a tension-building gambit which gets its payoff when they break out, be that into expanses of delicate melodicism, breathy tenor forays, or insistent hoarse multiphonic-laden cries. There is even a rippling series of changes from Shipp, which makes one realize how infrequently he resorts to such devices.
The final peak of dark chording and incantatory tenor zeal pivots on a prolonged sequence of staccato flourishes and searing wails, before a brief wind-down. It is easy to lose oneself in the endless dialogue, in the ever-changing gaps between one and the other, in the parade of affecting moments within an absorbing whole.
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