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Rejoice - Three New Ivo Perelman Discs

Mark Corroto By

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Just think what could have been if artists like Jimmy Lyons or Albert Ayler were recording today. We might have had the ability to witness their development and observe how creative music gets nudged in new and different directions. That's exactly the gift we're given with the proliferation of recent Ivo Perelman recordings. The São Paulo-born, resident of Brooklyn whose initial influences were Stan Getz and Paul Desmond has (along with Matthew Shipp) extended the avant-garde innovations of the 1960s into the 21st century, creating a roadmap for todays new 'new thing.' The latest offerings are a great place to dip your toe (ears) into this moving river of sound.

Ivo Perelman/Mat Maneri
Two Men Walking
Leo Records

If you watched enough Warner Brothers cartoons back in the day, then you are predisposed to appreciate the chamber jazz improvisations cooked up by Ivo Perelman's tenor saxophone and Mat Maneri's viola. Just like the soundtrack to Yosemite Sam's attempts to tiptoe up to a seemingly unsuspecting Bugs Bunny, the music here paints an aural picture show. Their's is a seriously whimsical ten-part cartoon improvisation set.

Perelman and Maneri recorded together once before, for the soundtrack to the Brazilian film A Violent Dose Of Anything (Leo Records, 2013) with pianist Matthew Shipp. in May of 2013. The two found a mutual bailiwick and returned in October to create these spontaneous pieces. Admirers of Perelman's duo work, be it with Shipp, guitarist Joe Morris, or various drummers such as Brian Wilson, Jay Rosen, or Gerry Hemingway, will find less of the push-and-pull in those other discs. With Maneri, the music is more accommodating, with a concerted effort to create a narrative.

Like Perelman, who began on the cello, Maneri's early classical training gave way to improvisation and new music. He forms a comfortable counter-point to the saxophonist's low notes and a companion to his upper register explorations. These chamber-jazz improvisations set about to make beautiful music together. With nary a truculent passage or obstinate note, this disc succeeds on every level.

Ivo Perelman/Matthew Shipp/William Parker
Book Of Sound
Leo Records

Creating an entire Book Of Sound is unlike creating most record albums. Typical recordings are made up of various compositions (or improvisations) and assembled as a sort of collection of short stories. Here, saxophonist Ivo Perelman's trio of Matthew Shipp (piano) and William Parker (bass) create a single album-length unified piece, all of which is improvised in the studio without edits or overdubs.

That indeed, is quite the feat. One that could only have been accomplished with master musicians. This trio recorded Cama De Terra (Homestead, 1996) nearly twenty years ago, and more recently Serendipity (Leo Records, 2013) with the addition of drummer Gerald Cleaver. The Perelman/Shipp collaborations have been well documented, but Perelman also has recorded with Parker on Sound Hierarchy (Music & Arts, 1997) and Sad Life (Leo lab, 1997)

With most freely improvised recordings there is a putative leader whose will directs the music. Here, the movement(s) are seemingly dictated by the trio's internal telepathy. The disc opens with "Damnant Quod Non Intelligent" ("They condemn what they do not understand") with an almost (for free jazz) hushed interplay. The players become disciples to the album's sections, never forcing the sound, nor breaking the mood. The progression slows with the next two tracks "Candor Dat Viribus Alas" ("candor gives wings to strength"} and "De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum" ("in matters of taste, there can be no argument"). Each track a verdant garden of sound, that could easily be mistaken for composed music. Perelman's tenor exercised its full range from low end to upper register expression as Shipp supplies a carpet of rich textured notes. It is especially satisfying to hear Parker's bass at it's simplest. As a leader, he often must provide the engine and the architecture of the music. Here, he is free to solo and comment as a partisan. The highlight here is "Adde Parvum Parvo Magnus Acervus Erit" ("add little to little and there will be a great heap") which builds from Shipp's plaintive opening into an emotionally cathartic mini-masterpiece. Now, can somebody notate this music?

Ivo Perelman/Matthew Shipp/Michael Bisio/Whit Dickey
The Other Edge
Leo Records

Of the many machinations and combinations saxophonist Ivo Perelman has utilized for the twenty or so recordings he has released since 2010 (all on Leo Records with the exception of One (RareNoise, 2013)), the majority seem to either include pianist Mathew Shipp or include his musical fraternity. The two musicians are compatriots, brothers of different mothers. Well, actually, the same fathers—the post- Coltane/post- Ayler free jazz continuum. When Perelman records a session with Matthew Shipp's working trio of bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Whit Dickey the results are predictably outstanding.

This session follows the quartet's maiden voyage The Edge (Leo Records, 2013), recorded eighteen months apart. The music is forceful, passionate, droll, incendiary, and ultimately satisfying.

The disc opens with "Desert Flower." Perelman's saxophone solo is a goading attack of notes that incite the trio to "Desert Flower" to stalk the horn with hammering notes. The upper register saxophone energy gives way to a more thought-provoking passage, Shipp's notes flowing from an endless spool of passion. Bisio's bowed opening to "Panem Et Circenses Part 1" settles the trio into a reflective temper that inspires Perelman to draw from more upper register notes, tailored to a desolation theme. "Part 2" is unmistakably guided by Shipp's musical language, a sort of fusion of free jazz and classical music. Elsewhere, the breakneck speed of "Latin Vibe" creates a perpetual motion of sound that seems to linger even after the track ends. "Big Bang Swing" is the closest the quartet comes to bebop, performing a 4/4 drunk dance of swing. Daring and beautiful music.

Tracks and Personnel

Two Men Walking

Tracks: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10.

Personnel: Ivo Perelman: tenor saxophone; Mat Maneri: viola.

Book Of Sound

Tracks: Damnant Quod Non Intelligent; Candor Dat Viribus Alas; De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum; Adsummum; Adde Parvum Parvo Magnus Acervus Erit; Veritas Vos Liberabit.

Personnel: Ivo Perelman: tenor saxophone; Matthew Shipp: piano; William Parker: bass.

The Other Edge

Tracks: Desert Flower; Panem Et Circenses Part 1; Crystal Clear; Panem Et Circenses Part 2; Latin Vibes; Petals Or Thorns? Big Band Swing; The Other Edge.

Personnel: Ivo Perelman: tenor saxophone; Matthew Shipp: piano; Michael Bisio: bass; Whit Dickey: drums.


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