Ivo Perelman, Matthew Shipp, Mat Maneri – A Violent Dose Of Anything: Original Movie Soundtrack (2013)

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If you know anything about Ivo Perelman then the title above should strike you funny. The very idea of one of jazz’s relentlessly free form performers making a movie soundtrack just doesn’t sound right. The notion seems only slightly more plausible than Justin Bieber making a Hungarian polka folk record. Thanks to the open-mindedness of Brazilian filmmaker Gustavo Galvao, that notion became a reality.

The director approached Perelman to produce the soundtrack for his latest film A Violent Dose Of Anything, but when Ivo warned him that his extemporaneous method for making music didn’t conform to how cinema music is normally made and he wasn’t going to compromise his approach, Galvao unexpectedly embraced it. So, Perelman went to work as he normally does: select his sidemen, go into the studio with them tabula rasa and a couple of hours later, a finished album.

In a minor concession to the task at hand, Perelman did give thought to what mix of instruments might create a sound that could be considered somewhat cinematic, and he chose to combine his tenor sax with a piano (Matthew Shipp) and a viola (Mat Maneri).

[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: Perelman’s One, due out October 1 from Rare Noise Records, is an intriguing setting of Perelman with Slobber Pup drummer Balazs Pandi and Joe Morris…on electric bass!]

Cinematic or not, the fascination this record comes from the amalgamation of a wind instrument, a keyboard instrument and a bowed stringed instrument thrown together in a cauldron of spontaneity. Shipp as a partner was too compelling for Perelman; they’ve gained an exceptional level of trust and synergy over the last couple of years. Maneri connected with Perelman, too, based on the former’s recordings with another major figure of the jazz saxophone, Mat’s father Joe. Perelman knew there was probably no one better qualified to play a viola alongside reeds.

The titles aren’t indicative of the music; they’re simply characters and places from the movie that were decided on well after the songs were simultaneously conceived and recorded. Make no mistake, this isn’t Brazilian music, apart from the fact that it was created by a Brazilian (along with two Americans).

As the “wild card,” Maneri is a focal point of these recordings and his impact on the piano/sax bond. The violist proves to be very crafty, waiting in the wings before jumping in (“São João Del Rei”), plucking and strumming in response to Perelman’s chirps and wails (“Brasilia”) and stalking and responding to nearly every one of Perelman’s moves (“Virginia”). Mostly, though, he’s conversing with Perelman as two people converse vocally; it’s best displayed on “Bia,” the one track where Shipp sits out. Maneri’s abrasively scraped viola during a moment on “Lucas” resembles a fiddle, adding the kind of surprise Perelman was surely looking for from a viola.

Shipp adjusts his role vis-a-vis Perelman to make room for the new cohort. He quickly locates the harmonic undercurrent of a song and grounds it, and often acts as an invisible hand by subtly nudging the other two into different directions.

I’m not much of a movie buff and I haven’t seen A Violent Dose Of Anything, which is said to be about a couple of young Brazilians going on the road in a “quest for self-discovery.” However, I remember how avant-garde jazz used in the flick Finding Forrester worked pretty nicely; it was able to convey energy, surprise and contemplation like most other kinds of music used for motion pictures cannot. Perhaps this dauntless director is onto something by tapping the services of a dauntless musician to complement his adventure movie with adventurous music.

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A Violent Dose Of Anything becomes available for sale October 1 by Leo Records. Purchase the CD here.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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