Sunday, December 25, 2016

Ivo Perelman with Mat Maneri and Whit Dickey - The Art of the Improv Trio Vol. 2 (Leo Records, 2016)

Saxophonist Ivo Perelman is in the midst of a purple patch, releasing a series of fascinating trio recordings on Leo Records. This particular album has Perelman focusing on tenor saxophone along with Mat Maneri on viola and Whit Dickey on drums. All of these musicians are longtime veterans of the avant and free jazz scene, and they make for a very impressive group, approaching improvisation as a painter may approach a piece of canvas. Broad strokes of saxophone with sweeping violin in tow and deeply entrenched percussion make for a potent force. The musicians are able to conjure shapes and fit them together in interesting ways, and the combination of viola and Perelman’s very unique saxophone tone make for a wide open musical environment with endless possibilities for collective improvisation. Whit Dickey is the perfect drummer for this configuration, because he has years of experience playing with the likes of David S. Ware and Kurt Knuffle so he is able to tune into the music directly and provide very good rhythmic ideas that the entire trio can build off of. There is a mysteriousness to the music, an enigmatic nature that keeps it from ever becoming stale with peals of saxophone and strings bursting forth over skittering percussion like a transmission of emotional poignancy. The music moves fluidly from spare quiet sections to loud and resonating areas where Perelman summons the spirit of Albert Ayler and early Gato Barbareri with Maneri and responding with slashing motifs of his own. The album is a series of spontaneous, unprepared  improvisations, where everyone is playing in a questing and open manner. Darting strings and percussion sounds encourage Perelman’s distinctive saxophone into higher pitches and sultry lulls. Punchy, sharp squeaks and hollow clanks work also very well as the music develops. Moving deeper into the album, several of the performances shimmer in the air with quiet authority with thoughtful and sweeping viola, and the leader's notes and breath developing a interesting sensibility until they shift gears unexpectedly, and push their instrument in a powerful and muscular manner, truly developing original music with their own distinctive qualities. The flexibility of the members of the trio ensure that the music will be successful, since Perelman is always experimenting with the tenor saxophone, pushing the instrument to its limits and beyond in addition to working to control his breath and embouchure, ensuring that each one of his recordings will be like a scientific paper reporting on the evolution of the tenor saxophone in improvised music and the nature of the jazz trio. The Art Of The Improv Trio Volume 2 -

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