Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Ivo Perelman with Matthew Shipp and Joe Hertenstein - Scalene (Leo Records, 2017)

Drummer Joe Hertenstein is part of the ever widening circle of excellent musicians that surrounds tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman. The saxophonist has played with a tight knit group of collaborators for years, especially pianist Matthew Shipp, but has recently developed contacts to further the reach of his music while continuing the aspects of his sound that has made him so successful. This is an album of collective improvisations, an album that develops over the course of ten relatively short, four to six minute, performances. Perelman and Shipp are a potent combination under any circumstances, but adding Hertenstein to the picture pours gas on the fire and makes the music even more exciting and edgy. "Part 1," the opening track of the album, develops at a very fast pace with kinetic drumming and piano playing combining with the gales of sharp toned tenor saxophone to make for a very exciting venture. The drummer is far from some wide-eyed rookie, having several albums of his own as a leader or collaborator, and having a lot of experience playing live and as an artist in residence. This is his first album with Perelman, but the trio clicks well, not only on the fast paced frenetic free jazz sections of the album, but playing with excellent restraint when the music becomes more open ended and abstract. Matthew Shipp as always is an absolute rock, creating in the moment superb squalls of spontaneously developed piano. Perelman is playing at a very high level, having consolidated a manner of playing that allows for the maximum amount of freedom, whether blistering fast paced free improvisation or slow and patient exploration that investigates texture and nuance. "Part 5" is one of the best examples of this trio working together for the greater good. Beginning with saxophone and piano probing the silence, it is the entrance of the drummer, playing a weighty rhythm, that causes the music to catch fire and then the group is off to the race with a deep and exploratory performance. Shipp bounds through the track, balancing light notes with darker heavier chords and Perelman plays ecstatic saxophone which paint swathes of bold color across the musical canvas their sounds develop. The near reverse pattern takes place on "Track 9" where the music begins fast and strong with explosive drumming, deep piano and scorching saxophone, but then slowly abates, leaving the musicians suspended in open space, and navigating their way out by constructing a fearless latticework of short filigrees of sound that builds a bridge to a satisfying conclusion. This was another fine Perelman album, one out of an embarrassment of riches that he has given to music fans this year. He sounds very excited at the prospect of playing with new people in addition to familiar faces, and this should ensure that he has many more surprises on the horizon. Scalene - amazon.com

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