Ivo Perelman/Matthew Shipp

Live In Nuremberg
SMP Records SMP-11

Ivo Perelman/Matthew Shipp/William Parker/Bobby Kapp

Ineffable Joy

ESP 5036

Nearly a quarter century after they first recorded together and partnered on almost as many CDs, the partnership of Brazilian tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman and American pianist Matthew Shipp is going strong. One reason for its durability is that the saxophonist – who seems to be vying with Ken Vandermark, Anthony Braxton and David Murray for the most sessions recorded by a Free Music-reedist – manages to come up with original settings for the two in duo or as part of assorted groups. Ineffable Joy is a return to a notable quartet configuration, while Live in Nuremberg is another in a series of piano/saxophone duets.

Historically drummer Bobby Kapp, whose avant-garde c.v. goes back to LPs with Gato Barbieri and Noah Howard in the l ate 1960s, and bassist William Parker, who has played with most of the major exploratory musicians over nearly 50 years, have more playing experience than the other two, but the quartet interaction is stable enough to function like a working group. During eight selections the four run through many moods and tempos with the saxophonist’s vibrating cries and smears, the pianist’s swirling cross pulses and the drummer’s ruffs and clatters upfront. Parker mostly clings to and propels the beat.

In spite of the emphasized multiuphonics that inform each track, Perelman’s frequent triple tonguing and Shipp’s squirmy and slippery broken chord narratives sometimes echo parts of Jazz tradition. “Ebullience” is vibrated in the way the classic John Coltrane quartet would have handled a ballad with tones elevating to dissonant shakes and Kapp playing a shuffle beat. Meanwhile the brief title tune comes across as a foot tapper that draws on Blues and Bop. Initially built on drum slaps and rigorous piano patterning, the saxophone’s entry mid-way through keeps the straight line evolution, but adds slurs and split tone extensions, prodding the piano response to be both jarring yet Ahmad Jamal-like spacious.

The session unfolds until the longish “Exuberance” where a thumping bass line and methodical key clips stretches the narrative into introspective examination. Before calming key voicing and string pops signals the ending, Shipp’s methodical work maintains the groove while allowing the saxophonist to pick up on theme allusions ands comment on them at steeplechase speeds with altissimo serrated split tones. Yet the most characteristic group effort is the penultimate “Rejoicing”. Juddering with excessive energy, pounding piano keys scratches, drum rim shots and bass string pulses jell into nearly opaque motion which is intensified more dramatically in the final two minutes with the saxophonist’ upward clarion cries.

Four months later in Germany, the duo of Perelman’s and Shipp’s improvisations seem roomier when on their own. Animated, the two pour their energy into one, intense, nearly 56-minute sequence and a brief encore. Beginning with mid-range reed squeaks, metronomic piano pressure soon shift the saxophone strategy into higher-pitched whistles and whines at the same time as Shipp turns to rolling, tremolo emphasis, echoing both swing and Stride with higher and lower timbres. Mounting excitement roughens the smooth interface so that by the 15-minute mark the two are firing identical notes at one another as if lobbing a shuttlecock. This airiness soon escalates to screaming muliphonics with Blues-like inferences as Shipp’s darkened modular groove produces its dynamics from the darker parts of pedal pressure. As the broken octave playing on both sides divides into reed squeaks and single note piano chording, hard sax honks dissolve into breathy splutters dovetailing into individual rolling theme variation. With the horizontal narrative re-established the two jump to a final climax that encompassed chord splashes on Shipp’s part and swerving held notes on Perelman’s.

These are two more chapters in the ongoing Perelman – and Shipp – oeuvre. Is there any wonder why so many have signed on for the ride?

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: Ineffable: 1. Ecstasy 2. Ineffable Joy 3. Jubilation 4. Ebullience 5. Bliss 6. Elation 7. Rejoicing 8. Exuberance

Personnel: Ineffable: Ivo Perelman (tenor saxophone); Matthew Shipp (piano); William Parker (bass) and Bobby Kapp (drums)

Track Listing: Live: 1. Live in Nuremberg, Part 1 2. Live in Nuremberg, Encore

Personnel: Live: Ivo Perelman (tenor saxophone) and Matthew Shipp (piano)