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Ivo Perelman: Serendipity

Mark Corroto By

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Back in the day, when a 12-inch LP was limited to about 20 minutes of music per side, an engineer would have had to carefully edit a recording such as the 45-minute long improvisation heard on Serendipity.

That certainly is an unacceptable proposition for the quartet assembled by tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman.

His intensely productive period of recording in 2011 is still bearing fruit. This session with pianist Matthew Shipp, bassist William Parker, and drummer Gerald Cleaver took place in November of that year, the same month as Family Ties (Leo Records, 2012) with Joe Morris and Cleaver. In December 2011, the same trio made Living Jelly (Leo Records, 2012), then Morris was replaced by Shipp for The Foreign legion (Leo Records, 2012).

For Serendipity, the liner notes point out, either Cleaver or Shipp was running late so bassist William Parker was gracious enough to fill in at the last minute. By the time the tapes rolled, everyone had arrived, and the trio had become a quartet.

The session has the brotherly love feel of a family get together. Cleaver and Perelman are engaged in a lockstep tussle throughout, with Shipp adding a running commentary. The drummer, a constant dynamo, is the spark that ignites the saxophonist's flights. With the two engaged, Shipp, our correspondent, chronicles the action, filling in lines and dancing notes between and around his partners.

Parker, who had played frequently with the saxophonist in the 1990s, acts as the patriarch here, keeping time and embracing the pulse. Occasionally he will walk his bass, encouraging Perelman (at 21:00) to deliver a bebop lick. The saxophonist is otherwise given free rein to open his sound, plowing furrows of John Coltrane's and Albert Ayler's freedom music or pacing slowly and softly his (now trademark) gentle passages.

This exhaustively encyclopedic session maintains it's appeal throughout. Its 45 minutes passes like a 5-minute 78 rpm disc.

Track Listing: Serendipity.

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

Title: Serendipity | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Leo Records

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