Ivo Perelman

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This episode features an interview with saxophonist Ivo Perelman, which is important because he’s one of the artists on Polarity, a CD which I’ll be putting out through my new label, Burning Ambulance Music, in February 2021. It’s a duo album with trumpeter Nate Wooley, and it’s intensely beautiful music unlike anything else you’ve ever heard, I promise. Pre-order your copy now.

I’ve known about Ivo Perelman for about 25 years; the first record of his I heard was Cama de Terra, which came out in 1996. It was actually the very last release on Homestead Records, right before Steven Joerg, who was running the label at the time, left and started AUM Fidelity. That album featured Perelman with Matthew Shipp on piano and William Parker on bass, and they’re two of the people he’s continued to work with ever since, along with many others, including Joe Morris, Nate Wooley, Mat Maneri, Whit Dickey, and a whole slew of other players.

See, Ivo’s discography is massive. He puts out albums in bunches, sometimes as many as eight at a time, sometimes three and even four-CD sets. He just recently passed the 100 release mark, which puts him in relatively rarefied company, up there with Duke Ellington, Anthony Braxton, David Murray, and very few others. It can be hard to know where to begin with his catalog, frankly, but his music has evolved a lot over time – he’s really on a lifelong creative journey, which is why he’s constantly collaborating with people in new combinations and changing his approach to the horn and just generally trying new things. So you’re probably best off starting with something recent and then moving backwards, deciding what to listen to based on who’s on a given record.

He’s been living in Brooklyn for many years, but he’s originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil, and when the pandemic got rolling, he went back to Brazil, which is where we connected for this interview. It was conducted via Skype, so there are a few points at which the sound warps a little, or cuts in and out. Still, I’m sure you’ll be able to figure out what he’s saying in those moments. We had a really fascinating conversation, about his creative philosophy and his practice regimen and the role of improvisation in Brazilian music and a lot of other things. I hope you’ll enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed having it.

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Music heard in this episode:

Ivo Perelman/Nate Wooley, “Four” (Polarity)

Ivo Perelman/Matt Shipp/Whit Dickey, “Garden of Jewels” (Garden of Jewels)