Ivo Perelman Quartet - The Hour of the Star
(Leo CD LR 605. CD Review by Chris Parker)
São Paulo-born saxophonist Ivo Perelman has made a series of albums with their titles taken from books by Clarice Lispector – this is the fifth such – and the late novelist's intense psychological studies are described by him as 'powerful agent[s] for expanding the human mind'.
Certainly, the six tracks on this vibrant, consistently affecting album (their evocative titles ranging from the unequivocally emotional – 'A Tearful Tale' – to the slightly more ambiguous 'Whistling in the Dark Wind' or the abstract 'As for the Future') are both subtle and wide-ranging, Perelman's saxophone playing versatile enough both to rise to free-for-all climaxes and fade to delicate intimacy as required.
His bandmates (pianist Matthew Shipp, bassist Joe Morris, drummer Gerald Cleaver) perform throughout with hair-trigger sensitivity, ensuring that, whether Perelman is incorporating hints of melody or time playing into his improvisations, or simply raising the music's temperature to boiling point, they are with him every step of the way, Shipp alternately swirling and percussive, Cleaver considered but fiercely propulsive, Morris full-bodied enough to ground the band sound, yet lithe enough to help whip it to frenzy if need be.
In short, this is improvised quartet music at its most effective, skilfully balancing all its elements: structure and abstraction, uninhibited solo freedom and tight group interaction, unfettered power and thoughtful restraint.