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Ivo Perelman/Rudi Mahall: Kindred Spirits / Ivo Perelman/Jason Stein: Spiritual Prayers (Leo)

Review of two tenor saxophone/bass clarinet duo albums featuring saxophonist Perelman

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Cover of Ivo Perelman and Rudi Mahall album Kindred Spirits
Cover of Ivo Perelman and Rudi Mahall album Kindred Spirits

On most of the 30-odd albums Ivo Perelman has released over the last three years, the saxophonist has articulated his free-form vision through mostly conventional jazz combos, generally involving some combination of piano (usually Matthew Shipp), drums, and bass. What sets his latest pair of recordings apart is that instead of squaring off against a rhythm section, Perelman has chosen to contrast the sound of his tenor with that of the bass clarinet, played by the classically trained German avant-gardist Rudi Mahall on Kindred Spirits, and Jason Stein of the Chicago trio Locksmith Isidore on Spiritual Prayers.

Between them, the two albums seem to be playing off a “twin sons of different mothers” dynamic, emphasizing the similarities more than the differences between the two horns. Never mind that one is tagged “tenor” and the other “bass”; overall, the two sit in approximately the same register (although the bass clarinet’s range extends a tritone lower), but their timbral qualities are markedly different, and that’s the central element here.

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