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Ivo Perelman

Brazilian tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman is a remarkably productive recording artist known for combining Brazilian folk themes with free jazz and an improvisational aesthetic that has grown increasingly varied as he has become a more prolific recording artist. While he continues to play well in the heavily distorted, abstract-expressionist vein developed by Albert Ayler, his sound also fits nicely alongside similarly inclined contemporaries including Elliott Levin and Ken Simon. Early trio recordings such as 1996's thematically related Slaves of Job and Revelation showcased compositions that opened doors onto exploratory flights of fancy. These flights provided foundations for the music that would ensue over the following decades, particularly his many, fruitful, wildly varied recordings for Leo Records -- including 2011's The Hour of the Star -- and his many Art of the Improv Trio recordings. On 2013's The Edge and Art of the Duet: Vol. 1, he began an ongoing recording partnership with Matthew Shipp. Their collaboration has netted dozens of albums, including 2015's Callas, and 2018's seven volume The Art of Perelman and Shipp series. 2019 saw a move to ESP-Disk and the quartet offering Ineffable Joy including Shipp, bassist William Parker and drummer Bobby Kapp. 2021 saw the release of five Perelman titles including Garden of Jewels with Shipp and drummer Whit Dickey and Purity of Desire with Gordon Grdina and Hamin Honari. In 2022, a nine disc box of sax-piano duets featuring some of Perelman's other favorite pianists was released as Brass and Ivory Tales. Born in Sao Paulo in 1961, Perelman played classical guitar, cello, clarinet, trombone, and piano while growing up. At the age of 19 he adopted the tenor saxophone as his primary instrument. After arriving in the U.S., he attended the Berklee School of Music in Boston for a semester before dropping out (he is purportedly a mostly self-taught player). Perelman's travels took him to Los Angeles in 1986, where he studied privately and performed. His first album, 1989's Ivo, featured an all-star cast that included drummer Peter Erskine, bassist John Patitucci, percussionist Airto, and vocalist Flora Purim, among others. Also around this time, Perelman relocated to New York. During the '90s, he founded his own Ibeji label, releasing albums like Soccer Land and Tapeba Songs. Ever explorative, in 1997 Perelman combined Jewish music and avant-garde jazz, making En Adir: Traditional Jewish Songs for the Music & Arts label. Quite prolific, Perelman recorded often with players of the avant-garde; he's made albums with bassist Dominic Duval, pianist Borah Bergman, drummers Rashied Ali and Jay Rosen, and pianists Marilyn Crispell and Matthew Shipp, to name just a few. In the 2000s, Perelman continued his busy recording schedule, pairing most often with pianist Shipp, as well as adventurous collaborators like violinist Mat Maneri, guitarist Joe Morris, drummer Gerald Cleaver, and others. Many of these efforts were issued on Leo Records, including such albums as 2011's The Hour of the Star, 2012's Clairvoyant, 2014's Book of Sound, and 2016's Blue. Also in 2016, Perelman released six volumes of a series on Leo called The Art of the Improv Trio. A similar series detailing his partnership with Shipp, the seven-volume The Art of Perelman-Shipp, appeared in 2017. In 2018, Perelman released no less than five recordings for Leo including Strings 1, the duo offerings Kindred Spirits -- with bass clarinetist Rudi Mahall -- the triple-album Oneness with Shipp, and Spiritual Prayers with saxophonist Jason Stein. In 2019, in addition to continuing his collaboration with Shipp, the saxophonist, along with violist Matt Maneri, delivered three more volumes in the Strings series with alternating sidemen who included Nate Wooley, Ned Rothenberg, Jason Hwang, and Mark Feldman. 2019 also saw Perelman team up with drummer Bobby Kapp, bassist William Parker, and tenor saxophone player Matthew Shipp for the ESP-Disk-issued Ineffable Joy. In 2020, Perelman issued Deep Resonance ‎with the Arcado String Trio, followed by the digital, six-album Strings & Voices Project placing the saxophonist in the company of various guitarists, bassists, violinists and singers. Also released was Dust Of Light \Ears Drawing Sounds, in duet with guitarist Pascal Marzan. In January 2021 Perelman released The Purity of Desire in a trio with oudist/guitarist Gordon Grdina and percussionist Hamin Honari. A month later Polarity in duo with Nate Wooley appeared from Burning Ambulance. In January 2022, Poland's Fundacja Słuchaj! released Brass And Ivory Tales, a nine-disc box set of duos with pianists recorded between 2014 and 2021. His recording partners for the project included Marlyn Crispell, Craig Taborn, Aaron Parks, Vijay Iyer, Angelica Sanchez, Dave Burrell, Sylvie Courvoisier, Augustin Fernandez and Aruan Ortiz.
© Chris Kelsey, Thom Jurek /TiVo
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