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Perelman, Ivo / Jason Stein: Spiritual Prayers (Leo Records)

A confluence of reeds as Brazilian-born, NY-based tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman meets NY-born, Chicago-based bass clarinetist Jason Stein, the 2nd of Perelman's recent reed duos after his meeting with bass clarinetist Rudi Mahall; here Pereleman ascribes a spiritual connection with Stein in the remarkable compatibility of wonderfully controlled, complex interplay.

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product information:

UPC: 5024792084227

Label: Leo Records
Catalog ID: LEOR842.2
Squidco Product Code: 26651

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2018
Country: UK
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded at Parkwest studios, in Brooklyn, New York, in June, 2018, by Jim Clouse.


Ivo Perelman-tenor saxophone

Jason Stein-bass clarinet

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Artist Biographies:

"Born in 1961 in São Paulo, Brazil, Perelman was a classical guitar prodigy who tried his hand at many other instruments - including cello, clarinet, and trombone - before gravitating to the tenor saxophone. His initial heroes were the cool jazz saxophonists Stan Getz and Paul Desmond. But although these artists' romantic bent still shapes Perelman's voluptuous improvisations, it would be hard to find their direct influence in the fiery, galvanic, iconoclastic solos that have become his trademark.

Moving to Boston in 1981, to attend Berklee College of Music, Perelman continued to focus on mainstream masters of the tenor sax, to the exclusion of such pioneering avant-gardists as Albert Ayler, Peter Brötzmann, and John Coltrane (all of whom would later be cited as precedents for Perelman's own work). He left Berklee after a year or so and moved to Los Angeles, where he studied with vibraphonist Charlie Shoemake, at whose monthly jam sessions Perelman discovered his penchant for post-structure improvisation: "I would go berserk, just playing my own thing," he has stated.

Emboldened by this approach, Perelman began to research the free-jazz saxists who had come before him. In the early 90s he moved to New York, a far more inviting environment for free-jazz experimentation, where he lives to this day. His discography comprises more than 50 recordings, with a dozen of them appearing since 2010, when he entered a remarkable period of artistic growth - and "intense creative frenzy," in his words. Many of these trace his rewarding long-term relationships with such other new-jazz visionaries as pianist Matthew Shipp, bassists William Parker, guitarist Joe Morris, and drummer Gerald Cleaver.

Critics have lauded Perelman's no-holds-barred saxophone style, calling him "one of the great colorists of the tenor sax" (Ed Hazell in the Boston Globe); "tremendously lyrical" (Gary Giddins); and "a leather-lunged monster with an expressive rasp, who can rage and spit in violence, yet still leave you feeling heartbroken" (The Wire). Since 2011, he has undertaken an immersive study in the natural trumpet, an instrument popular in the 17th century, before the invention of the valve system used in modern brass instruments; his goal is to achieve even greater control of the tenor saxophone's altissimo range (of which he is already the world's most accomplished practitioner).

Perelman is also a prolific and noted visual artist, whose paintings and sketches have been displayed in numerous exhibitions while earning a place in collections around the world."

-Ivo Perelman Website (

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"Jason Stein was born in 1976 and is originally from Long Island, New York. Stein is one of the few musicians working today to focus entirely on the bass clarinet as a jazz and improvisational instrument. He studied at Bennington College with Charles Gayle and Milford Graves, and at the University of Michigan with Donald Walden and Ed Sarath. In 2005, Stein relocated to Chicago and has since recorded for such labels as Leo, Delmark, Atavistic, 482 Music and Clean Feed. Stein has performed throughout the US and Europe, including performances in festivals in Lisbon, Cracow, Utrecht, Barcelona, Debreccen and Ljubljana. He has had the opportunity to perform with a number of exciting local and international musicians including: Michael Moore, Jeff Parker, Oscar Noriega, Rudi Mahall, Ken Vandermark, Rob Mazurek, Jeb Bishop, Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten, Urs Leimgruber, Pandelis Karayorgis, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Tony Buck, Eric Boren, Kent Kessler, Tobias Delius, Michael Zerang, Michael Vatcher, Peter Brotzman, and Wilbert DeJoode."

-Jason Stein Website (

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track listing:

1. Untitled 6:50

2. Untitled 8:02

3. Untitled 7:54

4. Untitled 2:12

5. Untitled 9:01

6. Untitled 9:06

7. Untitled 8:59

8. Untitled 6:42
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"The second recording by Ivo Perelman with a "purist" bass clarinet player. This time he is Chicago based Jason Stein, the virtuoso and the leader of several of his groups. Says Ivo: "With Rudi Mahall we connected by being foreigners; both of us were influenced by jazz but experienced a lot of non-American music growing up. With Jason there is this Jewish spirituality - or really, an overall spirituality. This is how we connected musically, it's how we responded to each other." Spiritual Prayers is some of the most meditative, affecting and intimate music that can be heard from Ivo Perelman."-Leo

"On most of the 30-odd albums Ivo Perelman has released over the last three years, the saxophonist has articulated his free-form vision through mostly conventional jazz combos, generally involving some combination of piano (usually Matthew Shipp), drums, and bass. What sets his latest pair of recordings apart is that instead of squaring off against a rhythm section, Perelman has chosen to contrast the sound of his tenor with that of the bass clarinet, played by the classically trained German avant-gardist Rudi Mahall on Kindred Spirits, and Jason Stein of the Chicago trio Locksmith Isidore on Spiritual Prayers.

Between them, the two albums seem to be playing off a "twin sons of different mothers" dynamic, emphasizing the similarities more than the differences between the two horns. Never mind that one is tagged "tenor" and the other "bass"; overall, the two sit in approximately the same register (although the bass clarinet's range extends a tritone lower), but their timbral qualities are markedly different, and that's the central element here.

Mahall's tone is generally dark and woody, and much of Kindred Spirits finds him working the gruff lower register of his horn while Perelman flutters sweetly in the altissimo range of his. But when Mahall climbs up into the attic, he easily matches the strength and color of Perelman's horn, making the sound more complimentary than contrasting. As is typical with Perelman, the performances are spontaneous to the point of not having titles-in lieu of track names, we're given the playing time-and yet, even after an hour and forty minutes of extemporizing, there's no sense of repetition or dead end.

Spiritual Prayers, with Stein, is definitely the more extreme session, at least in terms of technique. When he's playing quietly, as on the album's opening statement, Stein's sound offers the sort of well-mannered warmth you'd expect of a chamber musician, but by the end, he's delivered the full range of honks, shrieks, and multiphonics, with Perelman answering in kind. If you like your free jazz unconventional, this is the one for you; another track consists of the two playing mouthpieces alone. But for all its Chicago-style envelope-pushing, what ultimately distinguishes Spiritual Prayers is the emotional connection Perelman and Stein reveal through their extreme interplay."-J.D. Considine, JazzTimes

See also Kindred Spirits.
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Related Categories of Interest:

Leo Records
Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Duo Recordings
Recordings by or featuring Reed & Wind Players

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