Ivo Perelman / Matthew Shipp - Oneness

Label: Leo Records, 2018

Personnel: Ivo Perelman: tenor saxophone; Matthew Shipp: piano.


The telepathic articulation between tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman and pianist Matthew Shipp, two free spirits in the art of music-making, is quite obvious and grows stronger on Oneness, a triple album with 33 improvised tracks, which all together, offer more than two hours of searching music. In this sonic adventure, the interactions never feel a debate, but rather a well-reasoned conversation. The nature of the pieces often become visual, stimulating our imagination for mysterious interplanetary routes or energizing earthy expressions defined by an organic blend of avant-garde jazz, art-folk elements, and contemporary classical incursions.

The duo always finds new ways to surprise, reinventing lines and textures through spontaneous ideas. They not only have a staggering control of their instruments but also find an easy comfort with each other's craft and forms of expression.

The first tune of CD1 suggests an odd tango-ish mood until falling into a free ramble, in which Perelman’s sinuous moves exalted by deep-toned notes with a rich vibrato. In a variety of atmospheres along the way, the cohesion of the duo is felt through free-form approaches and effortless suppression of time while shaping, sometimes angular, sometimes curved geometric figures with an inner pulse of creativity. The timbral range is also a crucial factor in their aesthetic reality, with Shipp’s off-center chordal adventurism, always intricate and stunning, becoming a great vehicle for Perelman’s elliptical threads and asymmetrical zigzags. Ambiguity is also brought into their subliminal interplay, no matter which direction they decide to take - it may be tranquil, lyric and dreamlike but also tense, restless and provocative.

The extemporizations sometimes hinge on an initial idea or just flow briskly with refractory intervallic leaps and opportune chromaticism. No hesitation. No redundancy. No preconception. Pure exploration and inspiration.

The album reflects what these longtime collaborators and wonderful musicians can do. One saxophone, one piano, and oneness of mind and purpose are everything they need.

       Grade  A-

       Grade A-

Favorite Tracks:
01 (CD1) - Track 1 ► 11 (CD1) - Track 11 ►  06 (CD2) - Track 6