The last three Ivo Perelman CDs released by Leo Records (Siero, The Hammer, and The Seven Energies of the Universe) had all been recorded in March-April 1998. The Ventriloquist is a fresher studio session from June 2001, recorded on French ground with French musicians -- well, at least they live there. The tenor saxophonist rarely plays with another reedman. This pairing with Louis Sclavis on bass clarinet provides an occasion for less self-centered playing (which is not a bad thing when Perelman plays by himself, since he is such a powerful player). Paul Rogers and Ramon Lopez are a tested free-form rhythm section. The bassist is a man of exception, his round sound dancing with precision even when freed from any constraints. The drummer definitely needs wider recognition. This quartet recorded "Iambic Search," "Meliphobia," and "Place des Vosges," all scorching fire music numbers. Three shorter tracks feature a trio of Perelman, Lopez, and pianist Christine Wodrascka (the last two had just recorded their Aux Portes du Matin album). In these, Lopez often lets the drum kit rest and instead plays some hand-held percussion. It doesn't mean the music is sparser. In the title track, the pianist fills the entire sound spectrum, displaying uncanny stamina even Perelman himself cannot match. Yet the best pieces are the first two quartet tracks, each 14 minutes in length. The level of energy in that group and the way Perelman and Sclavis collaborate (instead of chasing each other) make The Ventriloquist definitely worth your hard-earned dollars.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture