Masterful and daring improviser Ivo Perelman, a musician Bill Milkowski called in Down Beat one of the most distinctive and imposing tenor sax voices to come along in years," has released two new albums that exemplify the remarkable scope of his powers: The Eye Listens, a trio date on Boxholder Records, and The Hammer from Leo Records, on which he is paired with drummer Jay Rosen.
Joined on The Eye Listens by two other hyper-kinetic improvisers--bassist Wilbur Morris and drummer Michael Wimberley--Perelman journeys to the nether regions of harmony and melodic conceptualization, finding on his instrument a manner of communication that melds primitive instincts to avant-garde inclinations. The trio embarks on their explorations with A Night at the Opera," the album's incendiary 18-minute long opus, then follows with the give-and-take title track before stepping forward with The Solution," a rollicking extravaganza that finds Perelman and his cohorts pushing the envelope of free jazz. Give Them the Spiritual," the fourth cut, features Perelman scatting in devilish fashion before punctuating the rhythmic reverie with his sax bleats. The closer, Dance of the Infidels," showcases the leader's lyrical gifts in a beautiful soliloquy before the trio flares at full throttle toward the finish line.
The Hammer consists of a dozen duets with drummer Jay Rosen, all of which reaffirm Perelman's genius for soul-deep introspections and pronouncements. The cuts here are shorter than what's found on The Eye Listens but are no less expressive or probing. The title track opens the album with one of Perelman's typical sax fulminations and continues with fiery cuts like Abstinence" and Plant Life," with the proceedings balanced along the way with meditative pieces like Milky Selma" and The Shelton Hotel."
I try not to 'try' anything in my playing," said Perelman recently. Instead I listen for the organic flow of ideas that comes when I pick up my instrument. If anything, I'm simply incorporating all of the music that I've experienced in my life into my work: Brazilian rhythms, Jewish and classical music--everything." More importantly, Perelman noted, he listens carefully for the sheer music in the fabric of everyday sounds," from children's voices to birdsong.
A native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Perelman, 39, learned classical guitar as a youth before turning his attention to the clarinet, cello and mandolin during his teens, finally discovering and settling on the tenor saxophone at 18. He spent a year at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, and then traveled and played in clubs around the world for a few years before finishing his education in music at the Dick Grove School in Los Angeles. His first CD, Ivo, was released in 1989, and after moving to New York the following year started working with jazz notables like Joanne Brackeen, Andrew Cyrille, Paul Bley, Flora Purim and the late Fred Hopkins. Perelman's last release on Leo Records, Brazilian Watercolor, featured former Coltrane drummer Rashied Ali and downtown New York piano savant Matthew Shipp.
While much of his work to date has emphasized his Brazilian roots, with The Eye Listens and The Hammer, Ivo Perelman decisively shifts his focus to new destinations in the improvisatory realms.
Ivo Perelman Discography
Ivo / K2B2 - 1989 Children of IBEJI / Enja - 1992 Soccer Land / IBEJI - 1994 Geometry / Leo - 1995 Tapebas Songs / IBEJI - 1995 Cama De Terra / - 1995 Bue Monk / Cadence - 1995 Sad Life / Leo - 1996 Bendito of San Cruz / Cadence - 1996 Man of the Forest / GM - 1996 Slaves of Job / CIMP - 1996 Transition / CIMP - 1996 En Adir / Music and Arts - 1997 Sound Hierarquie / Music and Arts - 1997 Strings / Leo - 1997 Live / Zero In - 1997 Seeds, Vision and Counterpoint / Leo - 1998 Alexander Suite / Leo - 1998 Brazilian Watercolor / Leo - 1999 Sieiro / Leo -1999 The Hammer / Leo - 2000 The Eye Listens / Box Holder - 2000
What the critics have been saying about Ivo Perelman
Perelman possesses one of the most distinctive and imposing tenor voices to come along in years. An impassioned player given to dramatic flights of 'out' playing, his boundless energy, searching nature, and searing falsetto register clearly place him in the Ayler-Pharoah Sanders camp." --- Bill Milkowski - Down Beat
To say that nothing new is happening in jazz is to be ignorant of Ivo Perleman." --- Jules Epstein - Philadelphia Tribune
Go. Go to the window and tell the crowd below, which has been clamoring so long fo a Jewish tenor player from Brazil who imitates Albert Ayler, that its prayers have been answered." --- Bill Kohlhasse - LA Weekly
Perelman is clearly unafraid to walk any line you can draw and then leap off. ---- Gene Santoro - Pulse! magazine