Ivo Perelman + Matthew Shipp, with Andrew Cyrille – Art of Perelman-Shipp: Dione (2017)

In late winter of 2017, Ivo Perelman cut loose another seven albums at once, adding to a catalog of remarkable size and quality. The Art of Perelman-Shipp (Leo Records) is a series that is plainly centered on that special symmetry between the Brazilian-born saxophone savant and his equally distinctive partner on piano, Matthew Shipp. The central volume is the sixth one, Saturn, which consists of the two principals alone, as the other discs dive deeper into their alliance by including one or two other participants. These other recordings are named after various moons of Saturn, symbolizing how the gravitational tug between the main body (Perelman and Shipp) and the satellite ones (like William Parker, Michael Bisio, Whit Dickey and Bobby Kapp) affects the trajectory of each of the musicians, which in turn affects the overall direction of the improvised pieces.

All chapters of Ivo Perelman’s latest book have ample merit to them to recommend but it’s the last volume, Dione that’s getting a spotlight here because this one documents an encounter of the dynamic duo with that renowned, legend free jazz drummer, Andrew Cyrille. Cyrille, who was blazing trails alongside Cecil Taylor in the 60s and early 70s, is no stranger to interacting with strong personalities on piano (or sax, for that matter). Perelman concisely summed Dione‘s big takeaway with this statement: “He (Cyrille) infused a certain energy and quality in the session that changed enormously my interaction with Matt.”

I think the best example of that happens on “Part 4,” which starts with the typical telepathy between Perelman and Shipp being bolstered unobtrusively by Cyrille’s patter on toms, whose rhythmic dance somehow deciphers the code being communicated between the other two. By being so perfectly responsive not being pushy he was able to squeeze more from that interaction than might have otherwise been.

Andrew Cyrille’s deft cymbals add bright, timbral colors to “Part 5” and the conversation between Perelman and Shipp on “Part 4” is reinforced unobtrusively by Cyrille’s patter on toms, whose rhythmic dance somehow deciphers the code being communicated between the other two. Most of the action of “Part 7” happens on Cyrille’s kit, even though he never makes himself heard above the others. He acts as the cartilage in the joint between piano and saxophone on the often-unsettled “Part 8.” “Part 6” is like a bumpy ride into the unknown, picking up an already frantic pace. But Cyrille’s light touch acts as a tempering, counterbalance to Perelman’s high register excursions.

The drumming giant is so effective as part of an ensemble that his genius doesn’t need to be made clear through the use of solos, but the album begins with one: “Part 1” commences with a loose ‘n’ vivacious Andrew Cyrille spotlight before Ivo Perelman and Matthew Shipp come crashing in without warning but they don’t really break Cyrille’s stride. Shipp plays a central role in filling up the sonic space with chords rained down and when the downpour eases up to a drizzle, the other two know just how to modulate themselves in sync.

Shipp sets “Part 2” into motion, delivering one of his beautifully delicate, classically inspired piano musings. Perelman joins in by pouring out a sorrowful tone, traipsing up and down a scalar ladder with Shipp. This is the outlier track, because Cyrille sits out this one; his absence only serves to underscore what he brings to this duo.

Though about a generation older, Andrew Cyrille rather easily locks into Ivo Perelman and Matthew Shipp’s spiritual wavelength. The Art of Perelman-Shipp: Dione seductively demonstrates a strong continuity of the free jazz heritage from its mid sixties flowering to its current state of revitalization thanks to guys like these three.

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