A previews review was published on Citizen Jazz. Ivo Perelman kindly translated it.
Ivo Perelman offers us three albums in a flurry of releases. He's not worried about the details since he has so many recordings to his name--more than 100.
For him, it's a question of celebrating his thirty years of recordings. And he does it with three figures from the improvised guitar of today: Gordon Grdina (plus Hamin Honari) with Not Two, Joe Morris (plus Matthew Shipp) with Mahakala, and Pascal Marzan with Setola di Maiale, so on three different record labels.
This last album, as well as another one, both with strings--the London String Project--are the initiative of Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg.
With these four recordings, the most insatiable aficionados of the Brazilian musician have something to be satisfied with, at least for a while.
Ivo Perelman is a very particular point of reference of free jazz and improvisation in the United States. Incidentally, at home this distinction does not exist, especially since he sometimes sprinkles his arguments with resonances of a more far-off jazz tradition. He is a cross-border operator, not just in aesthetics but also in the tones and ranges he uses. His play offers truant notes, some glissandos, short sequences where the vibratos slide a bit, or a certain lyricism is distorted in an uncertain and unstable interval. It is quickly recognizable.
In addition to his multiple encounters with Matthew Shipp, he loves to hang around with strings, among the most innovative ones. This is particularly the case of the Strings series, for the Strings and Voices Project, with Arcado String trio, and with this flurry of releases.
Though he is fairly easily identifiable, his play knows inflections depending on the encounters and the humor of the moment. He loves to mix with European improvisers in particular.
With Pascal Marzan, he is well-served. Marzan is a discreet musician, affable and particularly innovative. He left France for London because there are not enough opportunities for concerts and musical events here, not enough of an audience and places for free improvisation.
For some years now, he has hewed a path consisting of playing a ten string guitar tuned in third-tone intervals, which enables him to play in sixth-tones (36 notes per octave), combining them with frets spaced in half-tones. These new gymnastics enable him to offer subtle arguments, to follow unusual paths, for the expression of a sharp sensibility. He'd been brought to our attention through Vu, with Alex Ward, an album with Ivo Perelman which is a new illustration of this.
Twelve pieces, each with its own colors. It is an illusion to write about each of them, some focal lengths will suffer from being written about.
These two titles that give their name to the album are an instance of this. "Dust of Light-Dancing in Shadowed Forest" is an example of a recollection of the jazz tradition… in the manner of a duo. In it we recognize some shards of themes of yore which some more cultured people will be able to identify, but the notes slide, the lines become elastic, and the guitar crackles with incidental notes. It's a form of smoothness which is deliciously perverted. "Ears Drawing Sounds" is a comma, as if propelled by a sweet and intentional guitar with strange clusters, surprising arpeggios which know how to make our sensitive chords vibrate.
Do the titles seem quite evocative to you? It's because these free improvisations are performed beginning with some words thrown there, like "Bees and Squirrels in the Garden". It's up to you to take a walk in this garden, on the lookout. Rendezvous with me at the end of this article.
The three last pieces are superlative and propel this album to a status among the best. In "High Mountain Walk", the duo asphyxiates us through a tight, teeming dialogue which zigzags in a crazy race. The two interlace their initiatives and their strokes so much that one really doesn't know who is pushing and who follows. "Reflections" projects the sound of the sax, the isolated notes and the clusters of notes on the strings, as well as traces of the jazz of yesterday, with shared restraint and delicacy. Once again, the dialogue is complete. Finally, with "Mysterious Bells", the album ends with fireworks. The intensified lyricism of Ivo Perelman, his short interrogative phrases, his thrusts of notes, is responded to with a richness of interventions on the strings, some outlines of bells--evidently because of the title--but also some caresses, some half-notes and meshed notes, some sweet-acid wavelets, some swarms of notes. One is subjugated by it. It is a key moment of this encounter.
One can only be happy with this meeting. It's not the first time that Pascal Marzan collaborates with Ivo Perelman, but this time they have all the space to themselves. The intensity of their exchanges, their vivacity, and their entanglements leave us flabbergasted. This album is a must for ears that are open to free improvisation.
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