Ivo Perelman
Review by Willard Manus

Perelman, who has been called a “modern-day saxophone colossus,” is a Brazilian-born musician and visual artist who has lived most of his adult life in New York City. In 2015, after traveling to Sao Paolo for an exhibit of his paintings and drawings, he stayed on for another six months “to put his brain in a different mode.” That resulted in a decision to revisit the serialist (12-tone) composers he had admired in his youth (Schoenberg, Berg, Webern).

Now Perelman has turned research into reality by releasing not one but five new albums, CORPO, SOUL, BLUE, THE HITCHHIKER and BREAKING POINT. A fusion of 12-tone, free-jazz and blues experimentation, the discs take improvised music in a new and different direction. As Perelman explained, “The core tenet of serialism is that each note in the scale exerts equal weight from that. I focused on the corollary that each interval–the distance between any pitch and the one that follows–should be treated with the same egalitarianism. The inter-vallic system has become my dogma now. Every interval is of equal importance. I don’t have to be modal or tonal or atonal. All the intervals, a third or a seventh or a fifth, have the same importance for me now.”

Perelman’s theories may be esoteric, but his tenor-playing is down-to-earth, warm and intense. Whether teaming up with his musical soul-mate, pianist Matthew Ship, on the discs CORPO and BLUE, or fronting a trio or quartet, Perelman never seems to run out of fresh ideas or feelings. The music flows out of him like a mighty river.