Because Ivo Perelman is so spiritual a player, it made perfect sense when the Brazilian tenor/explorer turned his attention to traditional Jewish songs on En Adir. This outstanding CD, however, is far from a traditional Jewish album. Joined by pianist Marilyn Crispell, bassist William Parker and drummer Gerry Hemingway, Perelman takes more than his share of liberties with "En Adir," "L'Shana Haba'a," "Avinu Malkenu" and other songs that he transforms into avant-garde jazz. Perelman is no stranger to atonality, but this time, he goes the "inside/outside" route. Although some of the "outside" passages are blistering, he pays a great deal of attention to melody and sounds absolutely delighted by the melodies he's interpreting. In fact, the title tune finds Perelman coming close to mainstream post-bop and interacting with Crispell in a manner recalling John Coltrane's work with McCoy Tyner in the early-to-mid-'60s. The saxman has a major asset in Crispell, whose pianism demonstrates that while Cecil Taylor is her main influence, she's far from a mere imitator. En Adir is not only one of Perelman's more accessible CDs, it's also one of his best.
En Adir: Traditional Jewish Songs Review
by Alex Henderson