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Saturday, October 26, 2019

Ivo Perelman - Ineffable Joy (ESP Disc, 2019) ****1⁄2

By Sammy Stein

In 1967 Gato Barbieri's album on ESP In Search of the Mystery had a profound effect on a young fellow South American tenor player - that player was Ivo Perelman. Now, Perelman himself has recorded with the same label and includes Bobby Kapp the same drummer who was on Gato's album. Alongside Bobby Kapp, Perelman has enlisted bass player William Parker and his long-time collaborator Matthew Shipp on piano. Each of the musicians brings their own distinctive avant garde style to this recording and although Parker and Shipp have made multiple albums with Perelman, and each has played together before, their interplay remains fresh .

Ineffable Joy opens with 'Ecstacy' which announces itself with deep piano and bass before Perelman's tenor sings across the top line, rich, multi-registered themes emerging whilst the drums emphasise the varied licks and quibbles introduced. Parker's bass lines emerge from the depths, adding layers of resonant support and at times where piano meets bass, the lines created are liquid, like flowing rivers. The track builds to a crescendo which then descends to a gentle quietude. 'Ineffable Joy' is a lovely track with all musicians adding their quirky, definitive characterisation to the music, a mix of staccato, from piano and bass over which Perelman's sax sings, sighs and wavers , underpinned by percussion which is light yet fearsome and emerges into a drum solo which is heavy, rhythmic and glorious before the sax and sawn bowed bass take over and bring the track to its harmonic end.

'Jubiliation' sets out in a swinging style, the rhythm set out by the piano and bass in beautiful counter rhythms with each other creating a joyous free-bop introduction. There is a lovely descent from the piano chords, under which the bass and percussion provide solid support before the tenor of Perelman joins to add to the layers and lifts the octaves, sailing over the top, part altissimo, part lower registers. Regular interwoven themes come together and depart in different directions through the track, creating earworms which prevail. 'Ebullience' defies the title with its gentle melodic tenor theme over the top of gentle percussion and pervasive gravitas bass lines at the outset but works towards a regular beat section with bass and sax working together whilst the piano line offers contrasting harmonics in the chords.

'Bliss' is a lively affair with the musicians diversifying almost immediately , each travelling their own distinct path, coming together, then veering off in energetic pathways, which occasionally cross. Perelman here is intense and fractious in his delivery, creating a pivot around which the others work - and work well. The middle section is a contrast with open , lighter harmonies and a delicate percussion which serves to add accents and emphasis before the final, piano-driven section which sees bass and piano working the lower levels together whilst drums continue the pulse and Perelman drops out before re-entering on even more ferocious terms. Glorious. Again, there is a contrasting drop to quietude at the end.

'Elation' begins with soft piano over which the percussion skitters and plays before the tenor introduces a melodic theme and the bass fills the gaps in the extended chordal lines. The rhythm does not seem to establish in this track, and it feels a little lost for a while before the piano asserts a slow but insistent cadence which is carried to the end. 'Rejoicing' contains different patterns from each musician, coming together to create a patchwork of sound which melds into a comprehensive, yet characterful interlude, with roughly bowed bass adding yet more texture and friction to the mix. A set of repeated chords from the piano offers Perelman an opportunity to counter with a melodic ascent - and he take it with relish. The drum and bass conversation in the middle section is clever and luxuriously laden with echoes and crossovers as the deep reverberations are picked up by the bass, which emerges in its own line, picked up and extended by Perelman's tenor. 'Exuberance' tops out the CD with all the musicians coming together in expressive expression of the freedom that this music allows. Complex melody lines are interwoven and combined with dazzling dexterity and Perelman's tenor sax shines on this track.

This is a CD which uses the characters and distinctive styles which each musicians brings to the table, yet also combines them in many places to create new and different expressions. There is an exploration of ideas and different patterns throughout. A brave man is Perelman, bringing together musicians who each have such a distinctive style, this CD is an example of how it can work, and work well.

Personnel: Ivo Perelman, tenor saxophone;
Matthew Shipp, piano;
William Parker, bass;
Bobby Kapp, drums.


Colin Green said...

Great review, Sammy. Perelman’s creativity just keeps on running.