Sunday, January 15, 2023

DL Review: Ivo Perelman - Reed Rapture in Brooklyn, Part Six - With Roscoe Mitchell

This marks the half-way point, through Ivo Perelman's set of 12 duets. 

Ivo Perelman
Reed Rapture In Brooklyn

Part Six - With Roscoe Mitchell

Roscoe Mitchell had recently retired from teaching at Mills College when he spoke to me in 2019, in anticipation of his appearance at the Pitt Jazz Seminar and Concert. Once his post-retirement life had settled down, he said, I want to get to the point where I can practice one note the whole all day." Saxophonists and longtime Mitchell fans can understand such focus; non-musicians might be left scratching the head. 

But the value of this discipline comes across around 18 minutes into "2," his duet with Ivo Perelman. As Perelman's tenor bobs around, peeling off an especially ecstatic line just moments prior, Mitchell locks into one note on his bass saxophone and holds it for 60 seconds. Relatively speaking, it's a low note, though it's probably mid-range on the big horn. The impact of the drone (and a few overtones early on) feels electrifying. It takes us to the core of the music, setting a path for what follows. Who knows if Mitchell did have the time to devote a day to a note in the few years between our talk and this session, but the energizing value of this discipline can be felt. 

Mitchell and Perelman's session yielded just three tracks but "2" alone lasts nearly 40 minutes. The other two add an additional 20 minutes, providing about the same amount of music that have come in the other Reed Rapture sessions. Mitchell, who has been playing a lot of soprano and sopranino with the Art Ensemble of Chicago recently, sticks exclusively to bass sax here. It gives the music a foundation by virtue of its range, providing something of a tonal center at various times. In "1," he almost gets a groove going after notes popped to the surface in a somewhat spare, pointillistic duet with Perelman's tenor. Perelman pulls back to a whisper during "3" giving Mitchell a chance to ruminate on the horn. 

"2" is really the centerpiece, where the duo get to know each other. They take their time deciding where they wants to go and how they'll get there, without any lag time. As they gradually move towards a climax in the final five minutes, Mitchell's horn almost sounds like he's plugged into a fuzz box. When Perelman joins him, they buzz like a hornet's nest. From there, they engage in a cat-and-mouse chase, with Perelman jumping into the upper register. 

Roscoe Mitchell's work often deals with open space and how that can be as meaningful as the moments where everyone joins in. Some of the former approach is on display here. He often prefers single, lengthy notes to extended lines. (That could be the nature of the bass sax again, but Mitchell does kick it up at times too.) His partner strikes a good balance between going with that flow and riding the top wave created by the low horn. 

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