Gerry Hemingway / Ivo Perelman & Gerry Hemingway / Ivo Perelman

The Apple in the Dark

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This duo album by extremely prolific Brazilian saxophonist, pianist, and painter Ivo Perelman features him in sweaty interaction with veteran out-jazz drummer Gerry Hemingway, and if it lacks the religious abandon of the John Coltrane/Rashied Ali duets on Interstellar Space, or the blow-the-walls-down fury of some of Peter Brötzmann's duo sessions, it's still an extremely energized, compelling record that could easily serve as an introduction to Perelman's work. When he blows, he's channeling Ayler, Shepp, Sanders, and other prominent players of the '60s; when he plays the piano, his closest analogue is Matthew Shipp, combining free ecstasy with rigorous discipline of thought, but it's the Matthew Shipp of the early '90s, as heard on albums like Circular Temple and Critical Mass, that Perelman is channeling. And that's ultimately his greatest limitation as a player, and the reason he's never advanced beyond cult status despite releasing dozens of albums over the last 20 years -- his vision remains bound to the free jazz of the 1990s, and hasn't embraced any of the changes in the music over the past two decades, whether it be extended techniques beyond the shrieking and squawking that David S. Ware and Charles Gayle specialized in, or the use of electronic instruments -- Perelman is yesterday's man, and while there's some excellent playing on this album, it feels out of date and nonessential.

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