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Ivo Perelman/ Matthew Shipp/ Michael Bisio/ Whit Dickey: The Edge

Mark Corroto By

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Saxophonist Ivo Perelman's association with Pianist Matthew Shipp's trio is completed with The Edge. He has recorded in varying combinations with the players: a duo with Shipp—The Art Of The Duet, Vol. 1 (Leo Records, 2013), a trio with Ship and bassist Michael BisioThe Gift (Leo Records, 2012) and a duo with Shipp and drummer Whit DickeyThe Clairvoyant (Leo Records, 2012). Here the saxophonist and Shipp's trio perfect a recording, not as trio plus guest, nor Perelman backed by a trio, but as an accomplished quartet.

These nine improvisations are easily mistaken for composed music. The four players gel into a harmonious whole, their improvisations delivering fully realized music.

The disc kicks off with Bisio's bowed preamble and the roof-raising block chords of Shipp that free the saxophonist to match the upper register of his horn against Dickey's mallet and cymbals energy. The music moves in an arc, building and releasing the tension into a compact (six minute) Coltrane-like exploration. The themes here though are varied. From Coltrane they dip a toe into Ben Webster's breathy vocalizations with the boozy "Websterisms." Perelman's tenor here recalls David Murray's incorporation, in the 1980s, of bygone traditions in the avant-garde.

Maybe that is why Perelman has such an affinity with Shipp. Both players are old souls in modern jazz men's bodies.

The title track opens with the pianist's meandering left hand, soon joined by the probing, bounce, and drizzle of the band. Although the track meanders, be assured no one is lost here. Alliances between drums and saxophone are made and quickly resolved, time signatures are changed, and the perspective shifts. Perelman's sound flourishes in this setting. Shipp's trio is both a safety net and colluder. From the understated freedom of "Fatal Thorns" with the saxophonist whispering his outward expression to the barely contained "Volcanic," where Perelman acts as a force of nature blowing a nonstop barrage of energy, the trio absorbs, responds and completes each statement with an exclamation.

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