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Monday, September 25, 2023

Ivo Perelman and Nate Wooley - Polarity 2 (Burning Ambulance, 2023)

By Sammy Stein

Burning Ambulance Music is releasing Polarity 2 with tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman and trumpet player Nate Wooley —the eagerly awaited sequel to 2021's Polarity. Perelman re-enforces his excellent listening ear as well as his technical mastery on this recording, as he and Wooley – Wooley being equally creative– venture ever closer to the outward extremities of sounds that can be interpreted as music or sheer sonic exploration.

Throughout the recording, Perelman, and Wooley trade musical commentary, rather like two familiar comrades meeting up after a short time apart, each with something to say, and the other more than willing to listen and respond. At times, there is a blending of the two instruments’ sound and it is difficult to distinguish the lines each player takes but they also regularly de-converge and scorch two distinct trails on the musical landscape. 

From the classy dexterity of the opening track (each track is given a simple numeric, as is Perelman’s usual want), to soothing retorts and calming responses on track 2, the pair embark on a musical communion that pairs the two instruments – and how the musicians play them, perfectly.

Perelman has collaborated with many instrumentalists and adapts to different styles but with Wooley, as with Matthew Shipp, he achieves something quite special. Wooley is a creative player and unafraid to exploit any gap in the music left inadvertently or deliberately by Perelman – at one point even an intake of breath by the latter is immediately filled with squeals–seemingly of delight–by the trumpet and the theme develops around the soaring, whirling trumpet notes.

From blended phrases to solo pieces like that of Perelman on track 3, there are instances of lyricism and introspective playing, Perelman’s fiery delivery tempered more than adequately by the trumpet and also duet sections where both players travel along paths that interweave and intertwine to create something new, a chimera of trumpet rasps and saxophone notes.

Perelman substitutes the voice of his tenor for his own voice on track 4 with the trumpet skilfully soaring across the top before the saxophone joins again, adding Perelman’s other distinctive voice – that of his beloved tenor sax to give another vocal textural dimension to the music.

This recording sees two musical shapeshifters create a colourful, flamboyant, and distinctive combination. Pre-order now and the full release will follow in October.