Magnetica Magazine feature by Sofia Freire

Playing with the new

His «material for creating» is the «present moment». Ivo Perelman, Brazilian saxophonist, based in New York, is the one to say it, celebrating that «now» translated into 20 years of career. And recently he released five albums — one of them double — which come to highlight the celebration. His 20 years of career and the five albums are just random numbers. «A coincidence», as he says. The albums were recorded and only recently he had the opportunity to release them.

Dominic Duval, the double bassist who has been escorting Perelman throughout these last 13 years or so, also takes a stand in this “squall” of creation that’s now for sale, namely in MIND GAMES and NEAR TO THE WILD HEART. Curiously enough, they recorded for the first time without ever having played together before with the idea of listening to the recording in order to prepare a project. But the outcome was so surprising for both that this first encounter resulted in the edition of the album SEEDS (VISION AND COUNTERPOINT), by Leo Records, in 1998. While chatting with MAGNÉTICA, Ivo Perelman tells us about this «similar understanding» between both musicians: «Dominic is a bucket of very rich, polymorphic elements. He has a lot of references and doesn’t run away from traditionalisms, such as the North American songbook».

It’s exactly this richness Perelman searches for within the music he makes —  the ability of exploring every musical compartment in his brain that make part of his training, his learning and his perpetual search for forms of expression. And he definitely put them through their paces in the instant, the «spontaneous moment». In his words, «that kind of attitude triggers a very strong psychic process. One needs to be open to truly portraying the moment, the now». It’s precisely this “kind” of music that Perelman was looking for when he went to the United States to explore new ideas, new languages that were emerging in his spirit.

It was in Los Angeles where he recorded his first album, IVO, by ITM Records, in 1989. In the following year, he found in New York the «paradise», the perfect stage for the music genre he wanted to play, which he hadn’t had the chance to discover in Brazil. As he says: «back then, I was jumping from branch to branch». Among the many styles of music he was playing, from chorinho, Brazilian carnival, bossa nova, samba, rock, with the most diversified instruments, such as cello, mandolin, classic guitar, he ended up not being part of any group. Today, «that uneasiness» is part of his language, his «inquisitive mind», always looking for «new harmonies, distant places of the brain immaculate by time». It’s following this line of thought that these five recently released albums express a long research throughout the years, as he says himself: «Whoever listens to these CDs will have a story told about my 20 years, absorbing a lot of influences, satisfying a ludic, childish curiosity — I want to play with the new!».

MIND GAMES is the title that “opens” this gush of creativity, with double bassist Dominic Duval and Brian Willson on the drums setting a pronounced, raw, physical groove. This is the instrument that sets off Perelman’s «most instinctive, animal» side. Although all his records have «strong personalities» and portray the several sides of the saxophonist, this is the most rhythmic line, exhaling a tone of tangibility and even some aggressiveness that also goes through his work in THE STREAM OF LIFE, with drummer Brian Willson and THE APPLE IN THE DARK, both from Leo Records, the latter with the particularly brilliant Gerry Hemingway on the drums. In this album, and always putting his musical elasticity through paces, Perelman alternates between the tenor saxophone and the piano. It’s interesting how his expression, his technique, his resources change according to the instrument he’s playing, exposing once again his endless musical lexicon.

In a more poetic line, or more introspective, Perelman keeps on choosing a small group, between the duo and the trio, just like in the other records: NEAR TO THE WILD HEART, with Rosie Hertlein (violin) and Dominic Duval (acoustic bass), Not Two, and SOULSTORM, a double record from Clean Feed, with Daniel Levin (cello) and TorbJörn Zetterberg (double bass). One of his «tools» of creation is altering the group formation. As he explains, «new elements provide a structure of principle». As it happens in these two albums, in which the ropes allow the appearing of the very particular universe, as Perelman says: «Lyric and contemplative, as it were telling stories, developing a pictorial description. I love the cello. I get emotional and that’s the result». Penetrating and deep, always exploring the «compartments of creativity», doesn’t run away from romanticism, sometimes, but without falling into any kind of melodrama. In a month, who knows…? But now this is the path the saxophonist is taking, as he assumes himself: «I’m walking towards a greater introspection. I’m searching for new pallets, subtle nuances. I wasn’t ready before to appreciate beauty, a sweet touch, pianissimos… But the animal side’s there!».
(Tradução de Soraia Martins)

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