Like many other avant-garde jazz saxophonists, Ivo Perelman has usually opted to record without a pianist. In fact, Perelman dates that feature a pianist have been the exception rather than the rule. But the Brazilian improviser does employ a pianist on The Hour of the Star, which is primarily a quartet date boasting Perelman on tenor, Matthew Shipp on acoustic piano, Joe Morris on upright bass (as opposed to electric guitar, his main instrument), and Gerald Cleaver on drums. Shipp is present on four of the six tracks ("A Tearful Tale," "The Right to Protest," "Whistling in the Dark Wind," and the title song), although he is absent from "Singing the Blues" and "As for the Future." And when Shipp is featured, he enjoys an undeniably strong rapport with Perelman; the two of them have played together in the past and sound like they are quite happy to be reunited. Perelman, in fact, gives the impression that he is really excited to be in the presence of a pianist even though he has usually opted to go the pianoless route. No one will mistake this 2010 recording for a session by Chicago's AACM, who are known for their extensive use of space and their calmer, more reflective approach to avant-garde jazz; Perelman remains a free jazz firebrand, drawing on the influence of Albert Ayler and late-period John Coltrane but always sounding like himself. Occasionally, The Hour of the Star has an inside/outside perspective; "Singing the Blues" is as bluesy as its title suggests, and it is the closest this 61-minute CD gets to straight-ahead post-bop. But most of the time, Perelman favors scorching, high-density free jazz -- and he continues to be great at what he does. The explosive spirit of free jazz is alive and well on The Hour of the Star.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson