...an entire new school of jazz..., unique genius..."
Gunther Schuller, composer, conductor, jazz historian
...a sound as passionately effusive as Ivo Perelman's is at once
original, uncommon, and undeniable."
--All About Jazz
One of the most distinctive and imposing tenor sax voices to come along in years."
The 20th year of saxophonist Ivo Perelman's prodigious career arrives with the Brazilian Brooklyn-ite at peak creativity and on the verge of exciting breakthroughs, including his debut as a pianist. A heroically expressive improviser - who revels in the lyricism of the moment with his explosive visual art no less than in his vibrantly free, emotively rooted music - Perelman embarks on his third professional decade by releasing eight albums of his unmistakable sound supported by an international array of similarly impassioned improvisers, and by organizing two new all-star ensembles for U.S. performances and European tour.
Perelman's New Beginnings and Nowhere To Hide, both intimate duos between Perelman and his longtime bassist Dominic Duval from Cadence Jazz Records and NotTwo, respectively - and also Mind Games (Leo Records) in which the two are joined by drummer Brian Wilson - were released in late 2009. Due in March are Near to the Wild Heart (Not Two) with Duval and violinist Rosie Hertlein, Soulstorm (Clean Feed), a two-CD set with New York cellist Daniel Levin and Swedish bassist Johannes Zetterberg, and The Complete Ibeji Sessions, the two-CD set that restores in complete form the studio encounters Perelman had with brothers Lelo (keyboards) and Jos Eduardo Nazario (percussion) in 1994 and '95 during visits to his native Sao Paulo. His duo CD with Brian Wilson, The Stream of Life (Leo Records), and one with acclaimed drummer Gerry Hemingway, The Apple in the Dark (Leo Records) -- on which Ivo plays piano on record for the first time -- are also forthcoming.
Perelman will perform with Levin and Zetterberg at the Clean Feed Festival in New York in May 2010. Perelman's black-on-white paintings, similar to the artwork seen splashed across the covers of New Beginnings, Nowhere to Hide and Mindgames, will be on exhibit in December at Causey Contemporary Gallery (Brooklyn), having been in gallery shows and museum exhibitions in China, Holland, Chile, the Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Italy, Austria, Belgium and Dubai, as well as across the U.S.
It was 1989 when Ivo, his debut album, was produced and issued on famed bassist Buell Neidlinger's K2B2 label, introducing the then-28-year-old prodigy in the company of his compatriots Eliane Elias, Flora Purim and Airto Moriera plus Los Angeles-based aces Don Preston, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Peter Erskine. Over the course of the '90s and '00s, Perelman has recorded almost three dozen more albums with a rotating cast of devoted collaborators from jazz's exploratory edge.
Son of Polish-Jewish emigres to Brazil - his mother was a classical piano teacher - Ivo as a youth studied classical guitar and played trad jazz and bossa nova on cello, clarinet, trombone and piano, which he mostly taught himself. But he was smitten with the tenor saxophone upon first touching one at age 19, and fell under the influence of Albert Ayler's 1965 free jazz classic Spirits Rejoice. He listened broadly - to Bartok and Brazilian folk music as well as to John Coltrane, Stan Getz, Hank Mobley and Argentine Gato Barbieri while attending architecture school for a year in the late '70s. Then Perelman came to the U.S. to attend Boston's Berklee College of Music (from 1981 to '83), and the Dick Grove School of Music in Los Angeles ('84 to '87), where he attracted the notice of Neidlinger and West Coast tenor saxophonist Marty Krystal, who became his mentors.
Perelman moved to New York in 1990 to catch the high tide of downtown improvised music rising in such venues as the Knitting Factory and first Vision Festivals. Immersed in that scene, he recorded with Rashied Ali, who had been Coltrane's drummer, with bassist William Parker, pianists Geri Allen, Borah Bergman, Marilyn Crispell and Mathew Shipp, Brazilian percussionists Cyro Baptista and Guilherme Franco, Dominic Duval's CT String Quartet, and many more.
I like to put myself in different situations to be challenged and explore the interactive possibilities," Perelman says. Different groups trigger different responses." He's become especially fond of what strings and sax can do together. Anything on saxophone sounds wonderful with strings." However, his solo album Blue Monk is also prized for its reflective quality, and Children of Ibeji stands out for how Perelman's bandmates - Don Pullen, Fred Hopkins and Andrew Cyrille - matched his ecstatic intermingling of African chants with Bahian folkloric motifs.
Such variety marks Perelman's current releases. Exuberant Brazilian rhythms propel the Ibeji sessions (originally released as Soccer Land and Tapeba Songs). Near to the Wild Heart is chamber music, no less serious or complicated for being mostly improvised rather than pre-composed. Soulstorm, recorded in concert, finds Perelman at his most Ayleresque.
Perelman's command of timbre, extended techniques, extreme ranges and pre-hearing" what he plays has inspired what he calls his crazy project," the co-design and construction with a Brazilian craftsman of some 30 keyless saxophones, ranging from tenor to sub bass (a full octave below the rare standing bass saxophone). These instruments have become central to his practice routine, challenging him to further develop his breath, sound and harmonics control, skills he carries over to his tenor playing. So far Perelman has not blown these instruments in public, but his articulation and pitch spread on them is extraordinary. As a visual artist, he's proud that they look cool." Entering his third decade of artistic innovation, Ivo Perelman considers the keyless sax -- as well as the 88-key piano -- his next challenges and newest frontiers.
Ivo Perelman - Complete Solo Discography
The Apple in the Dark (Leo Records), 2010
Near to the Wild Heart (Not Two), 2010
Soulstorm (Clean Feed), 2010
The Stream of Life (Leo Records), 2010
Mind Games (Leo Records), 2009
Nowhere to Hide (Not Two), 2009
New Beginnings (Cadence), 2009
The Complete Ibeji Sessions (Editio Princeps), 2008
Soul Calling (Cadence), 2006
Introspection (Leo Records), 2006
Black On White (Clean Feed), 2004
Suite for Helen F. (Boxholder), 2003
The Ventriloquist (Leo Records), 2002
Seven Energies of the Universe (Leo Records), 2001
The Eye Listens (Boxholder), 2000
The Hammer (Leo Records), 2000
Sieiro (Leo Records), 2000
Brazilian Watercolor (Leo Records), 1999
The Alexander Suite (Leo Records), 1998
Seeds (Vision and Counterpoint / Leo Records), 1998
Bendito of Santa Cruz (Cadence), 1998
Strings (Leo Records), 1997
Live (Zero In Records), 1997
En Adir (Music and Arts of America), 1997
Geometry (Leo Records), 1997
Revelation (CIMP), 1997
Sound Hierarchy (Music and Arts of America), 1997
Slaves of Job (CIMP), 1997
Sad Life (Leo Records), 1996
Blue Monk Variation (Cadence), 1996
Cama da Terra (Homestead Records), 1996
Tapeba Songs (Ibeji Records), 1996
Man of the Forest (GM Records), 1994
Soccer Land (Ibeji Records), 1994
Children of Ibeji (Enja), 1992
Ivo Perelman: Live in New York ( VAI - Video Release), 1991
Ivo (ITM Records), 1989