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Monday, March 11, 2024

Ivo Perelman, Mark Helias, Tom Rainey – Truth Seeker (Fundacja Słuchaj, 2024)

By Don Phipps

Truth has always been elusive. Two film examples make the point. The Kurosawa masterpiece Rashomon concerns itself with different points of view by four eyewitnesses to a murder. Another is the Nolan film Memento, in which viewers are asked to piece the truth together based on a narrative that runs backward instead of forward. For both films, each scene alters one’s conclusions of what actually happened.

Truth Seeker, however, offers something that cannot be tied to life events, and this explains why its music is so compelling. Musical truth exists outside of context. It simply is.

Bringing together for the first time three free music giants – Ivo Perelman on tenor sax, Mark Helias on bass, and Tom Rainey on drums – Truth Seeker explores the various contours of reality using musical interpretations of the quest for truth. As is usual for a Perelman project, these seven joint improvisations are loosely centered. Each creates its own unique mood. However, they are also linked – primarily by the virtuosity of the musicians involved - but also by the rhythms and lines of each spontaneous composition.

An uncompromised combination of roller coaster runs and bird like shrills mixed with the dit and dot articulation of a Morse code signal, Perelman’s work fills the space perfectly. His output is evenly matched by bassist Helias, whose bow driven harmonic phrases are interspersed with exuberant plucks and tweaks which ground each composition. Beneath is Rainey’s all over drum work, use of brushes, and rimshot techniques, filling the space like dark fills a cave, a deep constant tumble behind the Perelman/Helias explorations.

One’s jaw will literally drop at the spellbinding Perelman runs on “Spiritual Growth” or his slippery phrasing on “Truth Seeker.” And Perelman’s fascinating embouchure work is on full display – allowing him to go beyond the normal registers of the tenor sax and articulate expressions that seem beyond the physical limits of the instrument. One can also marvel at bassist Helias’s adroit combination of strumming and bowing on “Mystical Devotion” and the harmonics he adds to “Life’s Meaning.” And while Rainey ‘s drumming provides subtle yet sophisticated girding for the various improvisations, his exploration of the sound timbres of the trap set come to the foreground on “Ubiquitous Light.”

The raw and challenging musical energy that flows through Truth Seeker provides a fascinating journey through the minds of these three masters. Explosive twists and turns combined with delicately constructed and intense soundscapes makes Truth Seeker a must-hear experience.


Anonymous said...

This is very good, thank you for passing this along! 👍❤️