The captivating and tense Live In Nuremberg is an improvised duet between saxophonist Ivo Perelman and pianist Matthew Shipp captured on June 24, 2019, at the Kulturwerkstatt Auf AEG, during the German "The Art of Improvisation" festival. In a way it is the culmination of their collaboration that spans a quarter of a century and two dozen releases. The entire album consists of a single, almost an hour long, track plus a short encore, both interpreted with breathtaking energy and filled with intricate patterns and stimulating textures.
The piece opens with contemplative, paired refrains and concludes with the clash of Shipp's percussive chords and Perelman's passionate honks and wails. In between it is a multilayered, reciprocal discussion that is simultaneously cerebral and emotive. There are only rare moments when either musician is unaccompanied by the other. The the two engage in a joint explorations of ideas and tonal palettes. Throughout the music ebbs and flows from fiery and rousing to tender and melancholic, sometimes, even peppered with the blues.
Shipp lets loose virtuosic and agile crystalline phrases that are provocative and mesmerizing. Perelman responds with sinewy and warm lines that often reach a boiling point of yearning and explosive note clusters. In addition to pushing one another to the limits of spontaneity and inventiveness, Perelman and Shipp's ongoing dialogue is eloquent, fervent and lyrical. The two streams of consciousness do not only coexist and mirror each other, they are inextricably intertwined and essential parts of a vibrant and organic whole.
The five minute encore distills the essence of its longer predecessor into its essentials and provides an apt closure to both the disc and the concert. It serves as a précis as well as coda to the performance. Thanks to both artist's innovative spirit and their sublime synergy, Live In Nuremberg is not mere showcase of instrumental prowess. It is expressive and poetic, ranging from mellifluous to delightfully dissonant. This brilliant recording is intellectually absorbing yet packs a visceral punch.
Part I; Encore.
Ivo Perelman: tenor saxophone; Matthew Shipp: piano.
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