Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Ivo Perelman and Jason Stein - Spiritual Prayers (Leo Records, 2018)

This is an excellent meeting between tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman and bass clarinet player Jason Stein. Their approach to free music is complementary and they create a continuously interesting and thought provoking album. "Part 1" introduces their method, demonstrating how they are able to play together as one with their different tones and techniques meshing well. Building from spare fluttering sounds "Part 2" builds to a full throated dialogue with the dynamic uplift provided by the increased volume and the friction developed by the instruments, leading to an ending of long and emotional cries. "Part 3" deploys short bursts of hollow bass clarinet pops against tight saxophone squeals, intertwining with one another and pushing the music into exciting territory. The music is evocative of cloud layers that rise through thermal updraft, occasionally emitting squalls of sound. The emotional nature of the music is secured by the personal nature of the playing in higher and lower registers that encourages freedom while providing structure and pacing. Slurs and smears of sound separate "Part 4" from its predecessors, using noises and pure sound in pursuit of open and honest dialogue. High pitched interaction carries the music forward adding some interesting growls and sharp sounds for good measure, enlivening the conversation and sharing of ideas. "Part 5" offers longer softer tones nearly in unison, but slightly out of phase, creating an accessible dialogue and melding their own identities in the service of the music. Playing alongside and complementing each other allows the music to gradually broaden, growing louder and more frenetic as they approach the conclusion. Cries of sound resonate and overlap on  "Part 6" like birds in flight, soaring through the air, playing comfortably but not lazily and leading into "Part 7" which has a muscular and ripe improvisation, with cascading waves of saxophone and clarinet trialing ribbons in the sky. The two musicians blow with great gusto with the bass clarinet staying low to the ground while to tenor saxophone powers overhead, cementing an excellent partnership while conducting the ebb and flow of the music with passion and grace. The concluding track "Part 8" sums up the album nicely, beginning with long tones of emotionally resonant sound, swirling and swaying around one another in space, spontaneously creating an honest and exciting dialogue in real time. Spiritual Prayers - amazon.com

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