Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Ivo Perelman: Sad Life

I cannot recommend either of these albums. I can appreciate Perelman’s technique on the tenor saxophone, which allows him to ricochet off low B-flat and carom and slide his way through lots of scales, arpeggios, and saw-tooth designs up into the altissimo range and back, but a steady diet of sounds like a flock of chatty geese or like someone rubbing a taut rubber balloon taxes my interest. I suppose this is confrontational, or shock, music, and presumably it is a way of expressing contempt for the musical status quo-with apologies to Archie Shepp and Albert Ayler, who did the same sort of thing 30 years ago.

If you’re interested, Sad Life is the better album because the trio of Perelman, bassist William Parker and drummer Rashid Ali allows the music to breathe more than the trio (Perelman, Parker and pianist Matthew Shipp) heard on Cama De Terra. Perelman does develop his themes in his improvisations, and you have to give the musicians credit for listening and responding well to each other. That’s about it. The listening is not easy-not that it should always be, but neither should it grate on you 100 percent of the time.

Originally Published