Try to keep up sports fans, Ivo Perelman has switched directions once again. It's not that he has quit music to become a soccer star. The tenor saxophonist has more recently taken a dive into string quartets, recording a dozen or so sessions with bowing, plucking, and pizzicato-minded musicians. Strings 1 is the introduction. If this recording is a preview of the things to come, get ready for an explosion of creativity.
Just when you might have thought you had drawn a bead on the saxophonist with his duo recording Oneness (Leo, 2018) with Matthew Shipp or his musical dilation with drummers, Gerald Cleaver, Joe Hertenstein, Whit Dickey, and Bobby Kapp (to name a few), he released two recordings with bass clarinetists Rudi Mahal Kindred Spirits (Leo, 2018) and Spiritual Prayers (Leo, 2018) with Jason Stein.
Think you know him? Think again. Strings 1 might best be described as a string quartet recording with Perelman's saxophone simulating the cello parts, then again, is it a saxophone quartet? Much like the World Saxophone Quartet or Rova Saxophone Quartet, the freely improvised music here is a high wire juggling act between four players. Surprising? It shouldn't be, Perelman began his musical career in São Paulo with guitar and cello, switching to saxophone with his migration to the States. His connection to the cello informs this date, as does his signature upper register saxophone performances. With two violins, Mark Feldman and Jason Hwang, and violist Mat Maneri Perelman completes the loop on this quartet recording. Unreserved absorption into these nine tracks blurs the distinction between reed and string instrumentation. It is very easy to forget Perelman is improvising with a woodwind, or, for that matter, that the strings are not brass. There is a oneness to this music that transcends the marriage of chamber music and free improvisation.
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Ivo Perelman: tenor saxophone; Mat Maneri: viola; Mark Feldman: violin; Jason Hwang: violin.
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