Having heard plenty of jazz groups that consist of a piano player, a bassist, and a drummer, both with and without some combination of a saxophonist and / a trumpet player, I constantly find myself drawn to jazz that isn’t made by the usual suspects. It’s what drew me to the slow, moody clarinet of the Jimmy Giuffre 3’s 1961; what first appealed to me about the middle-eastern flavored jazz of Anour Brahem’s Thimar; and what now brings me to Deep Resonance (CD, digital), the new album by iconic jazz saxophonist Ivo Perelman and the jazz string threesome Arcado String Trio.
Recorded in Brooklyn, New York,
back in April of 2018, Deep Resonance has Ivo Perelman teaming with the reunited original line-up of the Arcado String Trio — violist Mark Feldman, cellist William H. Roberts, and bass player Mark Dresser — on their first album together since 1992’s For Three Strings And An Orchestra (subsequent albums by the A.S.T. featured a different cellist).
But while Deep Resonance marks the first time these four have collaborated, it’s not the first time Ivo Perelman has played with strings, nor the first time the Arcado String Trio have worked with a horn player. Ivo, for example, has collaborated with violin and viola player Matt Maneri on several occasions, most recently on the albums Strings 1, Strings 2, Strings 3, and Strings 4. As for the Arcade String Trio, they collaborated with the Trio De Clarinettes (a.k.a. clarinet players Jacques Di Donato, Louis Sclavis, and Armand Angster) on the album Green Dolphy Street. All of which may explain why this team-up seems so, well, seamless.
As for the music on Deep Resonance, this four-track, forty-five-minute-long collection opens with a lengthy, sprawling, and atmospherically-noisy track called “Resonance 1,” which, at nearly 18 minutes, is not only the album’s longest by double, but also one that sets the stage for this interesting album. It’s moody, dissonant, and not the kind someone might expect from a string trio and a sax player…well, unless they’ve heard anything by Ivo Perelman or the Arcado String Trio before (theirs is not the background music of a pleasant dinner party).
From there, Deep Resonance takes a relatively mellow turn for “Resonance 2,” which is decidedly more sparse and atmospheric, with Ivo Perelman, Mark Feldman, William H. Roberts, and Mark Dresser all playing their instruments slower and more carefully.
That it oddly causes this track to have a bit of a horror movie vibe says more about me than them or this tune, though.
Things on Deep Resonance get a bit more frantic on the album’s next track, “Resonance 3.” Firmly between the first two tunes, stylistically, this has Ivo Perelman, Mark Feldman, William H. Roberts, and Mark Dresser all being less atmospheric and more aggressive and scattershot, though not to the point where the tune becomes dissonant or noisy.
Deep Resonance then concludes with, you guessed it, “Resonance 4.” More low-key than “3,” but not as much as “2,” the track is actually more playful than anything else, with Ivo Perelman, Mark Feldman, William H. Roberts, and Mark Dresser all playing with a bit of a stark and sometimes scattershot approach that made me think of a kitten trying (and failing) to catch its tail while in the middle of a catnip bender. And while this does occasionally veer into the same noisy free jazz territory as “Resonance 1,” it never stays there for long.
Oh, and despite what the similar titles may suggest, “Resonance 1,” “2,” “3,” and “4” do not form one long suite. Sure, all four work well together, and share similar aural qualities, but not in a way that makes them seem like one long, four-part song.
In the end,
what Ivo Perelman and the Arcado String Trio do on Deep Resonance is not, admittedly, all that unique, in that it’s territory they’ve mined before, just with different people, and in ways that are similar but not the same. But that’s okay because it doesn’t ultimately make this any less interesting or engaging.