Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Ivo Perelman and Matthew Shipp - Live in Nuremberg (SMP Records, 2019)

Coming on the heels of their excellent 2019 studio collaboration Efflorescence Vol. 1, tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman and pianist Matthew Shipp took their unique and constantly evolving manner of duo improvisation on the road, recording this excellent set in Nuremberg, Germany during the 2019 Art of Improvisation Festival. Just when it seems that they may have reached the point of maximum return for their partnership, they find a new dimension in which to explore. According to Perelman's quotes in the liner notes, they are interested in exploring musical timbre and the character or quality their individual instruments sounds and voices, in particular, the saxophonist's analysis of the upper register of his instrument. The music is broken down into a fifty five minute long improvisation and then a short encore. Both are very well played, the former being a lengthy spontaneous performance that evolves into a powerful narrative flow, both musicians delving into the extremities of their instruments, Perelman climbing high into the upper register of his instrument using these tones in unexpected ways to bring swaths of vivid color to their performance. He has also stated that it was his research into baroque trumpet music adapted to the saxophone provided the spark for his higher register playing. Shipp matches his partner, displaying his mastery of the keyboard throughout the performance, and he also can get loud, playing the low end of the keyboard in a remarkable fashion, dropping depth charges that resonate and sustain, often juxtaposed by delicate runs with his left hand, fast and fleet and able to provide a course correction for the improvisation if needed. Although there are some short solo features woven into the recording the vast majority of the music and the most exciting elements come when Perelman and Shipp are interacting. They are clearly playing at a very high level, adding elements of melody and cells of raw anarchy that are just parts of the full tapestry of their performance. This was an outstanding album, displaying a still growing partnership at a live peak, and offering the listener a different aspect of the duet than we usually hear during their hothouse studio sessions. The audience was deeply engaged with the music, providing well deserved enthusiastic applause after the main performance and the encore, and the sound quality for this album was top notch, allowing you to hear everything clearly as it happens. Live in Nuremberg SMP Records

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