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Ivo Perelman: Reed Rapture in Brooklyn

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Ivo Perelman: Reed Rapture in Brooklyn
Is this album fundamentally unreviewable? Are there jazz fans who do not immediately know if they need an 11-hour collection of 103 improvised duets between Ivo Perelman and a dozen saxophonists and clarinetists?

It is at least describable. Perelman is faithful to his tenor, while his partners bring examples of nearly every type of saxophone, from soprillo to contrabass, as well as most of the clarinet family. Although all tracks are free improvisations, the default mode is melodic conversation, and all the performers display great ears and imagination. On the first set, Joe Lovano matches Perelman's warm sound and trades lines. On the second, Tim Berne opens the first two tracks circular breathing spilt tones, and Perelman joins him with his own high harmonics and Albert Ayler-like bent howls, then uses Berne's drone as a background for melodic play, which becomes conversational.

The session with Roscoe Mitchell particularly centers the rate of change—the speed with which an improviser develops ideas and introduces new material—as a creative element. Mitchell moves very deliberately on contrabass sax, obstinately developing simple material, lingering on a handful of notes for minutes at a time at an even dynamic and relaxed pace, while Perelman rises and falls in varied shorter arcs. While improvisers often escalate together, Mitchell does not budge and only briefly becomes more active, near the end of their almost 40-minute second duet. However, he communicates that he is listening to Perelman through subtle changes in his playing.

Since Perelman appears on every track of the set, his style both sets off the unique voice of each guest and is set off by them. While he has the skills to visit each guest's territory, his own preferences are revealed through both juxtaposition and abundance. Eleven hours of playing will make an artist's style very clear to listeners and themselves. Unlike some of his guests, such as Mitchell, James Carter and Vinny Golia, who play numerous winds in a range of styles in other contexts, Perelman plays one instrument and adapts his core language to suit each collaborator, bending towards them while remaining rooted. This consistency helps highlight the variety of his partners, who each limit themselves to one or a few instruments and focus on a subset of their vocabulary during their sessions. Also, with the notable exception of Joe McPhee, Perelman's partners avoided the tenor saxophone. David Murray and Ken Vandermark, both primarily tenor players, brought the bass clarinet and Bb clarinet respectively, while Lovano used the rare C melody and F soprano saxophones.

The performances are also consistent in quality. Although there is tension and drama in these interactions, the playing is confident and assured; while nothing is planned and limits are being challenged, everything feels intentional and it is clear the players have the technique and imagination to resolve any situation they create. Many improvisers would reveal their habits and cliches over a dozen hours of very exposed playing, but Perelman stays in the moment, continually generating new material in response to his partners.

There are albums which feature a core band with rotating guests, such as Ray Brown's Some of My Best Friends are... series on Telarc: The Piano Players (1995), The Sax Players (1996), Singers (1998), The Trumpet Players (2000), and Guitarists (2002), while The Lee Konitz Duets (Milestone 1968), Charlie Haden's Closeness (Horizon, 1976) and The Golden Number (Horizon, 1977), and Peter Kowald's Duos: Europa, America, Japan (Free Music Productions, 1991) matched the leaders with different partners on each track, but it is difficult to think of a set of serial collaborations on Perelman's scale. It showcases the breadth of the single reed instrument families, the range of current approaches to them, and the organizational options available to free improvisers, as well as resolving any doubt that Perelman is a major musical force. At the same time, the specificity of Brooklyn raises the possibility of subsequent Reed Raptures in London, Berlin, Tokyo, Oakland, Chicago, etc.

Reed Rapture in Brooklyn is currently available only online. CDs and a feature-length documentary of the sessions are forthcoming.

Track Listing

Ivo - Lovano - 01; Ivo - Lovano - 02; Ivo - Lovano - 03; Ivo - Lovano - 04; Ivo - Lovano - 05; Ivo - Lovano - 06; Ivo - Lovano - 07; Ivo - Lovano - 08; Ivo - Lovano - 09; Ivo - Lovano - 10; Ivo - Lovano - 11; Ivo - Lovano - 12; Ivo - Lovano - 13; Ivo - Lovano - 14; Ivo - Berne - 01; Ivo - Berne - 02; Ivo - Berne - 03; Ivo - Berne - 04; Ivo - Berne - 05; Ivo - Murray - 01; Ivo - Murray - 02; Ivo - Murray - 03; Ivo - Murray - 04; Ivo - Murray - 05; Ivo - Murray - 06; Ivo - Murray - 07; Ivo - Murray - 08; Ivo - Murray - 09; Ivo - Murray - 10; Ivo - Anker - 01; Ivo - Anker - 02; Ivo - Anker - 03; Ivo - Anker - 04; Ivo - Anker - 05; Ivo - Anker - 06; Ivo - Anker - 07; Ivo - Anker - 08; Ivo - Vandermark - 01; Ivo - Vandermark - 02; Ivo - Vandermark - 03; Ivo - Vandermark - 04; Ivo - Vandermark - 05; Ivo - Vandermark - 06; Ivo - Vandermark - 07; Ivo - Vandermark - 08; Ivo - Vandermark - 09; Ivo - Vandermark - 10; Ivo - Vandermark - 11; Ivo - Vandermark - 12; Ivo - Mitchell - 01; Ivo - Mitchell - 02; Ivo - Mitchell - 03; Ivo - Carter- 01; Ivo - Carter- 02; Ivo - Carter- 03; Ivo - Carter- 04; Ivo - Carter - 05; Ivo - Carter - 06; Ivo - Carter - 07; Ivo - Carter - 08; Ivo - Carter - 09; Ivo - Irabagon - 01; Ivo - Irabagon - 02; Ivo - Irabagon - 03; Ivo - Irabagon - 04; Ivo - Irabagon - 05; Ivo - Irabagon - 06; Ivo - Irabagon - 07; Ivo - McPhee - 01; Ivo - McPhee - 02; Ivo - McPhee - 03; Ivo - McPhee - 04; Ivo - McPhee - 05; Ivo - McPhee - 06; Ivo - McPhee - 07; Ivo - Stetson - 01; Ivo - Stetson - 02; Ivo - Stetson - 03; Ivo - Stetson - 04; Ivo - Stetson - 05; Ivo - Stetson - 06; Ivo - Golia - 01; Ivo - Golia - 02; Ivo - Golia - 03; Ivo - Golia - 04; Ivo - Golia - 05; Ivo - Golia - 06; Ivo - Golia - 07; Ivo - Golia - 09; Ivo - Golia - 09; Ivo - Golia - 10; Ivo - Golia - 11; Ivo - Liebman - 01; Ivo - Liebman - 02; Ivo - Liebman - 03; Ivo - Liebman - 04; Ivo - Liebman - 05; Ivo - Liebman - 06; Ivo - Liebman - 07; Ivo - Liebman - 08; Ivo - Liebman - 09; Ivo - Liebman - 10; Ivo - Liebman - 11.

Personnel

Ivo Perelman
saxophone, tenor
David Murray
saxophone, tenor
Joe Lovano
saxophone
James Carter
saxophone, tenor
Tim Berne
saxophone, alto
Roscoe Mitchell
saxophone
Joe McPhee
woodwinds
Vinny Golia
woodwinds
Jon Irabagon
saxophone, sopranino
Ken Vandermark
saxophone
Colin Stetson
woodwinds
Lotte Anker
saxophone

Album information

Title: Reed Rapture in Brooklyn | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Mahakala Music

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