Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Ivo Perelman and Matthew Shipp - Live in Brussels (Leo Records, 2017)

The partnership of tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman and pianist Matthew Shipp is truly the gift that keeps on giving. Earlier this year Leo Records released the seven disc collection called The Art of Perelman - Shipp which celebrated their music in many different configurations, and this fall there has been another batch release of six more excellent Perelman titles, five with Shipp on piano, including this excellent two-disc set recorded at L'Archiduc in Brussels in May of 2017. The music evolves over the course of two sets and a brief encore in a manner that befits two longstanding friends and collaborators, as they play with each other, at each other and occasionally around each other for brief unaccompanied segments. Opening "Set 1 Part 1" builds a graceful and spacious feel, as the musicians develop a deeply lyrical and thoughtful setting that allows Shipp to stretch out for a melodically grounded solo before rejoining Perelman to build the pace and structure of the music. They make the most of the open space, gliding across the surface of the music, while gradually increasing the intensity with Shipp extending his reach to encompass the entirety of the keyboard and Perelman casting shards of sound into the growing tempest. "Set 1 Part 2" delves deeper into the music, with percussive motifs and longer, more sultry and languid tones allowing the music to develop and breathe of its own accord. Perelman develops long crying tones of emotionally charged sound over Shipp's grounded and meticulous piano chords, and the music becomes deeply powerful and dynamic, before re-entering a section of mysterious quiet, leading to a nimble and thoughtful conclusion. The gentle opening of "Set 2" moodily seems to nod ever so slightly to Monk's "Round Midnight," developing a late night lonely feel before becoming more tart and cutting as the volume and intensity rises. Shipp plays deep dark chords, while Perelman responds with long peals of sound, wrenched from his very soul. The music is erudite and quite beautiful, as Perelman demonstrates by developing an unaccompanied section of tenor saxophone that stretches the jazz legacy from Lester Young to Albert Ayler and beyond to the stars. They return together as the music bobs and weaves, ebbs and flows like a river or stream of pure sound, roaring into the silence and carving it with passion and great dignity. This is another excellent album from Shipp and Perelman, they are a duo that never rests on their laurels, always challenging themselves and their audiences to reach for bigger and better things. Live In Brussels - amazon.com

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