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Ivo Perelman: The Eye Listens

Brazilian saxophonist Ivo Perelman makes rigorous, almost defiant music that’s brutally uncompromising, if sometime repetitive. While Perelman has recorded in every conceivable context, his playing is most animated and striking outside the quartet or quintet setting. The Eye Listens features the bristling Perelman style spotlighted in this trio – Perelman is more concerned with dynamics, mood and energy than tone and range.

Bassist Wilber Morris’ dense accompaniment and magnificent arco solos provide aggressive contrasts to Perelman’s thrusts and statements. Such pieces as “A Night at the Opera” and “Give Them the Spiritual” begin with collectively improvised segments that then give way to Perelman coaxing an array of sounds from his horn. He’s similar to Steve Lacy in that he’ll try anything during solos, from bleats and squeals to feathery phrases, overblowing effects and winding phrases. Drummer Michael Wimberley’s sensitive drumming adds another vital ingredient. While he closely leans on Morris’ direction, Wimberley never becomes merely a foil for Perelman. At the same time, he sometimes clashes with Morris before the two find agreement within the music.

Otherwise, The Eye Listens has much to offer enterprising listeners.

Originally Published