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Music Reviews

Ivo Perelman, Mark Helias, Tom Rainey: “Truth Seeker” Review

 

When it comes to music, we don’t always know what we’re going to get, even when we know the players.

But occasionally, you can get a good idea.

Case in point: On April 5th, 2024, jazz saxophonist Ivo Perelman and pianist Matthew Shipp will release their latest in a long line of collaborations, Water Music, a quartet recording that also features bassist Mark Helias and drummer Tom Rainey.

But right now, you can get a sense of how well Perelman, Helias, and Rainey work together courtesy of their new trio album, Truth Seeker (digital). And given that Shipp has collaborated with Perelman frequently, and with Helias a couple times (Pathways, The New Syntax), well…

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Music Reviews

Ivo Perelman, Nate Wooley: “Polarity 2” Review

 

It’s funny, while sequels are common in movies and video games, it’s not something musicians usually do, especially jazz ones. Sure, Meatloaf made Bat Out Of Hell II Back Into Hell, and Metallica followed “The Unforgiven” with “The Unforgiven II” and “The Unforgiven III,” but Miles Davis never made Bitches Brew II or Miles Smiles 2 or Round About Noon.

But that’s exactly what free jazz adjacent tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman and trumpet player Nate Wooley have done with Polarity 2 (CD, digital), their sequel to 2021’s Polarity. Well, sort of. Polarity 2 doesn’t answer all of the unanswered questions from Polarity. Nor does it continue the story or build upon the gameplay from the first one. Or give us another adventure for the superhero named Polarity. But it does do a good job of giving us some rather horn-y jazz instrumentals.

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Music Reviews

Ivo Perelman, Aruán Ortiz, Lester St. Louis’ “Prophecy” Review

 

Though he seems to record a new album with pianist pal Matthew Shipp every week, and has also recorded a bunch with bassist Michael Bisio, violinist / violist Mat Maneri, and drummers Whit Dickey and Gerald Cleaver, jazz saxophonist Ivo Perelman seems just as comfortable working with new people, too. Of the nine piano players he teamed with for 2021’s duets boxed set Brass And Ivory Tales, for instance, only one was someone with whom he’d previously collaborated.

Which brings me to his new album, Prophecy, on which he teams with cellist Lester St. Louis for the first time, and pianist Aruán Ortiz for the second after…well, what do you know? Brass And Ivory Tales.

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Music Reviews

Ivo Perelman, Matthew Shipp, Jeff Cosgrove: “Live In Carrboro” Review

 

While tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman and pianist Matthew Shipp are so prolific — both individually and as a duo — that even Prince would’ve told them to chill out, the same cannot oddly be said for the trio they sometimes have with drummer Jeff Cosgrove. In fact, in the six years between releasing the trio’s first album, 2017’s Live In Baltimore, and the new Live In Carrboro (digital), Perelman and Shipp recorded nearly a dozen duo albums together, including (but not limited to) Fruition, Amalgam, and Triptych. And that’s not even counting all the ones they made on their own and with other people. But rather than be offended that he doesn’t get to play with his friends as much as he might like, Messrs. Cosgrove should instead revel in the knowledge that, as displayed on this album, it’s pretty cool when he does.

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Music Reviews

Ivo Perelman, Matthew Ship: “Triptych” Review

 

Andy Warhol once said, “Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” But even he would’ve thought it was a bummer that, because of financial considerations, the new album Triptych by jazz saxophonist Ivo Perelman and pianist Matthew Shipp went from being a boxed set that presented an album’s worth of music each on CD, LP, and a cassette, and with each recorded with those formats in mind, to only being released digitally as Triptych I, Triptych II, and Triptych III. And while, sure, I really can’t hear the difference in audio quality (which might explain why I’m a music critic, not a music creator), and the songs are good regardless, I still can’t help but wish that Perelman and Shipp had gotten to see the collection as they intended.

For the rest of us, though, all three Triptych sets present the kind of free jazz adjacent music these two have presented countless times before on such albums as Fruition, Special Edition Box, and Amalgam (as you can see from my reviews here, here, and here).

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Music Reviews

Ivo Perelman & Matthew Shipp’s “Fruition” Review

 

Free jazz-adjacent saxophonist Ivo Perelman and pianist Matthew Shipp are both so prolific that they sometimes don’t give their songs proper titles. On 2020’s Amalgam, for instance, the songs were called “Part 1,” “Part 2,” etc., while the CD in the cleverly titled Special Edition Box had songs titled “Track 1,” “Track 2,” and so on. But now they seem to be fucking with us because while the tunes on their newest (and 18th) album as a duo, Fruition (CD, digital), are also just numbered…those numbers are out of order, and are sometimes higher than the number of tunes. Good thing they’re also really good or I might’ve gotten annoyed.

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Music Reviews

Ivo Perelman’s “Brass And Ivory Tales” Review

 

Throughout his career, saxophonist Ivo Perelman has worked with many different musicians, in many different configurations. But some of his best work has come when he’s teamed up with a piano player, be it Karl Berger (2014’s Reverie, 2016’s The Hitchhiker), Borah Bergman (1996’s Geometry), or the half a dozen he’s made with with Matthew Shipp. Which brings us to his new 9-disc boxed set, Brass And Ivory Tales (CD, digital), on which he collaborates with as many iconic piano players, most of whom are making their first appearance in his discography.

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Music Reviews

Ivo Perelman, Matthew Shipp: “Special Edition Box” Review

 

They say that keeping things fresh is the key to a good relationship. But that advice doesn’t just apply to romance. Since 1997, jazz saxophonist Ivo Perelman and pianist Matthew Shipp have recorded more than three dozen albums together; some as a duo, some as two-thirds of a trio, and some as half of a quartet, but always with something new in mind.

Now they’ve done something else different with Special Edition Box, a limited-edition boxed set that includes a studio album on CD, a live concert on Blu-ray, and a book on, uh, paper. And while this may be new for them, anyone who’s enjoyed their previous duo albums will find that it’s still them doing what they do so well.

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Music Reviews

Ivo Perelman, Gordon Grdina, and Hamin Honari’s The Purity Of Desire Review

 

In the hands of people who are truly skilled or creative, the same ingredients can yield very different results. Just ask anyone who’s eaten Mexican food. Or Italian food. Or…well, you get the idea. It’s something I thought of after listening to The Purity Of Desire (CD), the new album by saxophonist Ivo Perelman, oud player Gordon Grdina, and percussionist Hamin Honari, during which I realized their music was similar but not the same as someone else whose music uses similar instrumentation.