Ivo Perelman & Matthew Shipp | “Efflorescence Vol. 1” | Available July 26 via Leo Records
A Continuum in Collaboration:
Ivo Perelman & Matthew Shipp Set to Release Summer & Fall Consecutive 4 Disc Sets — Efflorescence Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 –Celebrating Perelman’s 30th Anniversary and Tireless
Push Past 100 Albums
Efflorescence Vol. 1 Available July 26
Tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman and pianist Matthew Shipp have both attested frequently to their remarkably close relationship, which has invited comparisons to John Coltrane and McCoy Tyner, Paul Desmond with Dave Brubeck, even Damon and Pythias. Perelman himself has referenced something beyond telepathy – a gestalt “third mind” arising from their collaborations – to explain the nature of their collaborations.
This musical union has grown significantly in the busy period since 2012, when they recorded their first co-led release, The Art of the Duet. In the intervening years they have now appeared together on more than 25 albums, including seven featuring just the two of them. Their monumental series The Art of Perelman-Shipp – which posited the duo as the center of a “planetary system” bringing other artists into its orbit – led Perelman to state “the gravity, the magnetic attraction, between Matthew and me is very strong. It is the core of everything.”
That bond was further strengthened in 2018 with the release of their three disc box entitled Oneness. So when Perelman and Shipp declared that this would be their valedictory effort – their last studio album in the foreseeable future – it came as a shock. (“For now, there’s nothing more to say,” Perelman explained at the time.)
Less of a shock? The fact that this moratorium didn’t hold. In fact, Efflorescence Volume 1 (availableJuly 26 on Leo Records) ups the ante with a four disc set from these musical soulmates (who have continued to perform in concert during their brief studio hiatus); and Volume 2, a similarly sized boxed set recorded around the same time, will arrive in late Fall.
Taken together, the two volumes of Efflorescence will contain 97 individual tracks, further solidifying the standing and the mystique of the Perelman-Shipp duo. The title of these volumes comes from the French word for “flowering,” and it refers here to the transformative growth that characterizes the world’s variety of flowering plants; as such, it provides a strong metaphor to convey the continued renewal and expansion of the Duo’s artistic achievement. Accordingly, every one of the comparatively tracks – most of which range between four and seven minutes in length – bears the name of a different botanical species, from “Amaryllis” to “Zinnia.”
One would think that after all their recordings, and in light of Perelman’s own statement the previous year, the Duo might indeed be tapped out. But, as he comments “there’s always something new, and there’s nothing new. The music just plays itself. . . . playing with Matt is like a contagious disease; I am contaminated by Matthew Shipp.”
The recording of Efflorescence (both volumes) took place in a tightly compacted time span. Volume 1comprises the result of four consecutive days in the studio; Volume 2 was recorded a week and a half later, again on four consecutive days. Each individual disc represents the fruits of a single day’s efforts, providing listeners with a sort of time-lapse documentation of the entire process. “Each day was completely different,” Perelman recounts. As is usual with the saxophonist’s work in general, the music unfolded with total spontaneity, without any predetermined themes or meters or any discussion of the length or mood of each piece. There is nothing “programmatic” about these tracks; the floral titles were added later.
As album annotator Neil Tesser writes, “Everything radiates freely from Shipp’s panoramic command of the piano and compendious pursuit of styles and genres; from Perelman’s freakish control of the tenor saxophone, from guttural low notes to the supersonic altissimo register, from tender balladry to juggernaut intensity; and from the unseen but tangible third self that emerges from the interaction of these two.”
The release of Efflorescence Vol. 1 marks two remarkable milestones in Perelman’s career. The four disc set pushes the number of discs Perelman has issued past the century mark; it also celebrates the 30th anniversary of his debut recording, released in 1989.
In June 2019, Perelman and Shipp undertook a multi-week tour that began in Europe and ended in São Paulo, Brazil, where two performances preceded the July 13 opening of a major gallery exhibition devoted to Perelman’s separate career as a visual artist. Perelman’s works hang in worldwide collections and have also served as cover art for dozens of his recordings; the majority of his paintings bristle with the same vivacious, kinetic expressionism that animate his music.
About Ivo Perelman:
Growing up in São Paulo, Ivo Perelman was a classical guitar prodigy who sampled a series of other instruments before finally adopting the tenor saxophone. He studied briefly at the Berklee College of Music, where he concentrated on the mainstream masters of the tenor sax as opposed to such pioneering avant-gardists as Albert Ayler, Peter Brötzmann, and John Coltrane (all of whom would later be cited as precedents for his music). Perelman left Berklee in 1983 and moved to Los Angeles, where he discovered his penchant for post-structure improvisation. At that point he began studying the free-jazz saxophonists who had come before him, eventually setting himself the goal of “complete spontaneity.” In the early 90s he moved to the more inviting artistic milieu of New York, where he maintains an apartment while spending about half his time in São Paulo; there he focuses on his separate career as a visual artist, producing a steady stream of abstract drawings and paintings that have attracted admirers worldwide.
About Matthew Shipp:
Matthew Shipp has released approximately 75 albums under his own name, in addition to those on which he shares billing with Perelman (and the several dozen albums where he appears as a sideman). Born in Wilmington, Delaware, Shipp has played piano since the age of 6. He attended Berklee for a year but moved to New York in 1984, and in 1991 he joined the power free-jazz quartet led by saxophonist David S. Ware, with whom he toured widely and recorded more than 20 albums. In Ware’s band, Shipp’s early love of rock music – and his ability to infuse rock’s energy into a free-jazz context – stood him in good stead; also in Ware’s band, he established a lasting bond with the titanic bassist William Parker and drummer Whit Dickey, both of whom have worked with him and Perelman on subsequent albums. A furiously eclectic iconoclast, Shipp can careen from compositions rooted in his classical studies to the Great American Songbook and then to hip-hop in a matter of measures, tying these disparate idioms together with an overarching sense of the music’s history and its future.