Ivo Perelman and Matthew Shipp – Oneness (2018)

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The number of recordings made by Ivo Perelman and Matthew Shipp together well exceeds the discography of most jazz luminaries, but that’s a reflection of the symmetry between two of jazz’s most prolific performers today. Since they first discovered the spark from playing together more than twenty years ago, Perelman and Shipp have combined to make eight albums of just the two performing, as well as appearing together with others on around thirty more records. But Duo Record #9 is going to be the last, for a while at least.

Oneness (Leo Records) was supposed to be a disc representing a grand summation of this long-running musical communion between the alto saxophonist from Brazil and the pianist from Baltimore. Instead, it became three such discs because they couldn’t find anything in nearly a week’s worth of recordings that they felt comfortable discarding.

That amounts to thirty-three improvised performances spanning two hours and thirty-three minutes. It’s probably not fair to pick out certain tracks because it’s really meant to be listened to one after another; this is a body of work, not a mere collection of songs. But as I got deeper into this, a certain vibe emerged: a melancholy that stays mostly poised, measured and metaphysical. Sure, there’s the occasional turbulence — like “Part 6” on Disc 2 for instance — and they’ve always seemed to know where they were going together before. This time though there’s a sense that they are so certain of where the song will be fifteen seconds ahead of time, and a relaxed confidence as they are driven by unknown forces to unpack the melody together so effortlessly.

From that wistful mood — perhaps rooted in knowing that their partnership will soon be scaled back — comes a beauty conceived innately. Oneness means a singular mind driving two instruments into a spiritual musical communion.


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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