Ivo Perelman - Mind Games (Leo Records, 2009) ****
In the liner notes to the album, Art Lande writes "Mind Games is the latest adventure in an odyssey of intuition and expression, freedom and control", and that's a quite apt description for Ivo Perelman's music, with Dominic Duval on bass and Brian Willson (with double "ll") on drums. The Brazilian saxophonist is a lyrical powerplayer or a powerful lyricist, depending on the viewpoint, with melodic phrasings coming spontaneously out of traditional jazz and Brazilian music, yet embedded in a restless search for freedom and emotional expressivity of a kind that surpasses the mediocre. I wrote earlier that it requires excellent creative inspiration to make a trio a captivating listen from beginning to end, and Perelman is a master in this. He has a story to tell, with lots of variations, plots and subplots, tension and suspense, integrating moments of intimacy with wilder excursions, but always with a great sense of pace and rhythm. Dominic Duval's style of non-conformist sensitivity is a perfect match for Perelman. I did not know drummer Brian Willson, who has performed quite a lot with Duval but hasn't released many albums so far, yet his rhythmic wizzardry is here fully at the service of the tenorist, and he gets the chance to demonstrate his great skills on "G.S. Farewell", a very long piece on which the drums kicks off, then dominates the pace and the sound, making the improvisation evolve like waves that come and go, swell and flatten, intensify and relax. Perelman has quieted down a bit compared to some of his earlier releases, yet he has gained in eloquence and subtlety without loosing his adventurousness and sense of freedom. One of his best albums.