Friday, March 17, 2023

Ivo Perelman - Reed Rapture In Brooklyn, Parts 11 and 12 - With Vinny Golia and Dave Liebman

Ivo Perelman
Reed Rapture In Brooklyn 

Part 11 - With Vinny Golia
Part 12 - With Dave Liebman

As mentioned in my last post, I made the executive decision to include the last two sessions of Reed Rapture In Brooklyn together in one post. This has been going on for quite some time, and while I'm committed to seeing this journey through, this blog is often easily interrupted and put on the backburner. So I want to get it done and move on to the next thing. 

These last two session go well together because they reveal how much of an influence one musician can have on a duet partner, and what comes out in the process. Vinny Golia - who plays myriad reed instruments big and small and has written some fascinating pieces for large ensembles - shows up with the most unique set of instruments in this set: soprillo saxophone (one octave higher than soprano, and tinier), B-flat clarinet, alto clarinet and basset horn (the latter another member of the clarinet family, pitched a bit lower than alto clarinet, with what's been described as a darker sound).   

Sometimes Golia brings out the intense side of Perelman, much like Tim Berne did in the second session. "3" contains a lot of high and whiney notes, especially during the first four minutes, with both players matching wits. By the end, a listener's ears can be numb. Two later tracks also get pretty shrill, one lasting just 36 seconds. On "4," however, with Golia on B-flat clarinet, they interact deeply, echoing each other before splitting into different but complementary parts. Perelman ends the track as it started, with low, gentle tones. A similar smoky-toned Perelman establishes a more pensive mood in "2." 

The most intriguing track is saved for last, and it digresses from the entire collection. "11" begins with the sound of a tone arm dropping onto a record and adding surface noise.  Golia's instrument sounds like the soprillo, although the timbre almost approximates a mellotron. On his end, Perelman creates some far out vibrato to keep up. 

Dave Liebman might be the most "in" guest on this set, aside from Joe Lovano, who happened to open the set. Yet Liebman has a diverse past. (In a recent conversation with this writer, bassist Steve Tintweiss recalled his early days at Queens College, playing free music each week with Liebman and keyboardist Martin Reverby, who would later drop the last four letters of his surname and become half of the pre-punk duo Suicide.) The saxophonist can also command your undivided attention within just a few notes of his musical entrance. Seeing him live in Detroit several years ago resulting in one of those "woah" experiences.

Liebman also penned the liner notes for Reed Rapture, something at which he is particularly skilled, a rarity among musicians who have tried their hand at note writing. (He won me over with his finely detailed notes for Mosaic's Elvin Jones set back in 2000.) His words on this album betray a strong understanding of what all of these saxophonists are doing, so it only makes sense that his soprano would join with Perelman's tenor. 

Maybe Liebman came into the studio thinking that he was going to bring out another side of Perelman or maybe it just naturally happened that way. This session feels much more subdued than the others. Several tracks last around two  or three minutes each, the first two presenting quick moments where they feel each other out. Pretty soon, they're moving together, Liebman responding immediately to Perelman's ideas like they were written down or pre-planned. Their differences in their approaches to their horn become obvious after awhile - Liebman getting more melodically complex and flying high, while Perelman gets more visceral. 

Regardless of any difference in chops, they work well together. By the end, they're volleying quick sprays of notes back and forth between one another. Liebman proves that he can shriek dynamically as well as anyone else on this set, but the strongest parts of this section come in the softer moments like "7" and "8." For those listeners who have stuck with the entire Reed Rapture In Brooklyn program, Perelman has made sure that the order keeps the surprises coming. For that reason, when the end comes without a climactic bang or wail, the sonic shifts it has delivered ensure that it has a strong close.

When I started writing about this set back in December - jeez, oh Pete - I quipped that Perelman would probably have a few more albums out by the time I was done. At that time, I didn't think spring would be around the corner as I finished it. But sure enough, I think there have been about three new releases from the prolific tenor saxophonist in the past few months. 

I might listen to them but someone else can write about them for the moment. 

And if anyone else has opinions on Reed Rapture, I'd love to hear your thoughts too in the comments. 

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