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Monday, March 11, 2024

Ivo Perelman - Interaction (Ibeji, 2024)

By Don Phipps

The twenty tracks which comprise “Interaction” are nothing short of a tour de force, a rhythmically and musically diverse combustible interplay between three virtuosos – Ivo Perelman (tenor sax), Barry Guy (bass), and Ramon Lopez (drums and tablas). Each track has its own character and musical ambience, and even though the spontaneity of each composition is clear, each remains unique in its emotional and cerebral context, making this an album of substantial merit.

Perelman’s ability to articulate an extreme range of notes allows many of the tracks to take flight – his runs and phrases stretch out like some Evil Knievel motorcycle stunt across a vast canyon. At other times, his playing resembles the twists and turns of a trapeze artist or ice skater who does impossible mid-air maneuvers. Likewise, these sonic maneuvers will keep listeners mouths open and agape. As his lips tighten on the mouthpiece, the music splinters into high squeals and piercing cries, and then, when relaxing his embouchure, his tone recalls the breathy purity of Ben Webster.

Not to be outdone, Guy wields the bass with vengeance, striking deep plucks, full chordal strums, and bowing rapid or legato phrases that both anchor and accelerate. Certainly Guy has more than 10 fingers - or at least that is what his technique suggests. Lopez too, manages to cover the trap set, making use of all the various drums to tie the music together in a loose but definitive context. For example, he will attack the tom toms in a drumming style reminiscent of the late Ed Blackwell or use the cymbals to accent or emphasize various moments in the music. And when he is so moved, he offers up exotic and flashy play on the tablas, bringing a distinct and uncommon coloring to the musical explorations. The combined effect of both Guy and Lopez provides grounding, shifting though it may be, for the leaping articulations of Perelman’s energies.

Take Part 1 Track 6, which might be described as exploring a towering mountain forest. Around each bend is a surprise – a jutting boulder, a stream cascading into a waterfall, large ruts, trees that stretch to the sky, brambles, moss covered trunks, large rock cliffs, vistas. And this diversity is exhibited throughout the album. Part 1 Track 4 vaguely reminds one of Native American chants. Part 2 Track 1 begins with a slow drawl that offers up feelings of a late night out. Part 2 Track 5 creates a climbing intensity that reaches an apex.

Is this album an instant classic? One could make a case. Certainly, in the lexicon of free improvised music, it stands out as a collaborative effort that enables each of the musicians to maximize their virtuosity within conceptual themes which extend the sound of music. Highly recommended.


Ernst Grgo Nebhuth said...

It's available at