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CD LR 286


Ivo Perelman / Jay Rosen 

The Hammer

Release date: 2000

[Doesn't ship to your country]Single CD (audio): GBP 14.00
listen CD_LR_286
Walter Horn writes in his liner notes that, on this recording, tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman in the company of drummer Jay Rosen, continues his deep exploration of the nether regions of improvised music: In part, because of their willingness to unlearn and re-learn the means whereby the beautiful in music may be created, Perelman and Rosen have given us a century-ending gift of extraordinary meaning.

The total time is 51'40

Liner Notes

( Collapse liner notes )

"You can't do something you don't know, if you keep on doing what you do
F. Matthias Alexander

With The Hammer, tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman, this time in company with
drummer/percussionist Jay Rosen, continues his deep exploration of the
nether regions of improvised music.  Spontaneously created art has long had
detractors (at least among those who never had the chance to see Mozart or
Pollack in action), and these nabobs of negativism have been heard to level
the following charge: "If the artists are well-practiced professionals,
they're just playing known riffs, and if not, what's produced is just
amateur noisemaking � so where's the freedom?"  If music is to be truly
free, the really daunting task is not to dump the charts, but to lose the
easy riffs � the "finger and breath memories" � while maintaining the
physical beauty and technical excellence of the playing.  Fortunately,
forward-thinking artists/seekers like Perelman (and fellow emigrant Aldous
Huxley) have found a way out of this nasty dilemma with the aid of
techniques created by Australian iconoclast F. Matthias Alexander.
Alexander, who was the dedicatee of Perelman's recent Alexander Suite
recording, taught methods for returning everyday bodily stances and
activities (like the movement of fingers on a saxophone) to the world of
clear-eyed consciousness.  What had been learned so well as to become
unconscious is thus reclaimed by the thinking individual.  In the arena of
improvised music, this allows the move from nearly automatic riff to
sentient note choice with no reduction in speed.
So, if you're inclined to wonder how two musicians can make music this
intense, this frantic, this gorgeous, think of the power conferred by
re-infusing conscious control and meaning into so many notes, pauses, and
cymbal crashes.  As The Hammer demonstrates, the freedom implied by
overcoming habit can be very powerful.

"The habits of reaction which hold humankind in slavery are the inevitable
accompaniments of out-of-date beliefs and associated judgments which are too
often unsound and frustrating."   F. Matthias Alexander

The title tune on this fiery disk is a fine indication of what's possible
among those willing to re-tool and re-animate their playing, (as long, of
course, as the people involved are fabulous musicians!)  Perelman's hammer
comes down early, hard and often, and Rosen makes it apparent with his
flame-gun, 4/4-ish groove that he won't be the one to let it up.  (The world
clearly owes Bob Rusch many thanks for getting these two dynamos together,
as he did for their two mid-90's CIMP releases,  Slave of Job and
Revelation.)  The men flail at each other savagely, heartlessly, tirelessly
on The Hammer  -attacking in every direction until there is exactly nothing
left anywhere in the world.  Only Coltrane (and Elliott Carter? Johannes
Brahms?) ever developed a four-note motif as thoroughly as Perelman does on
this eight-minute masterpiece.

     The other tunes explore other aspects of the musicians' inner and outer
worlds.  The breathtaking beauty of Perelman's tone is exhibited on "Five
Avocados": there is no intellectuality here, both the sound and structure of
this piece is gloriously romantic, in a way that few (if any) contemporary
saxophonists can match.  And there's a vital calm, something like that
induced by the first warm night of Summer, provided by "Frying Pan
Destruction" and "Shelton Hotel" � tunes in which the players utilize
several unorthodox instruments, including Perelman's bellowing "trombivo"
(an alto trombone played with a tenor sax mouthpiece).  But it is probably
the hard-driving anxiety pieces, like "The Hammer," "What's Your Favorite
Subaru Dealer?" and "Plant Life" that are the most immediately affecting
here.  They descend just that half step farther into the abyss than people
have generally taken this sort of thing before.  One close listen and the
noids will sweep relentlessly over you.  And this fear must be taken
seriously because, well, something horrific really is  coming at you.  You
don't know whether to be thankful for Rosen's muscle, energy and stamina in
carrying you away from danger on these cuts, or to be fearful of him too.
The ringy result he achieves when he shuts off his snares on "Abstinence"
may make his playing  that much more "melodic," but it's a melody of overt
and hidden threats.  As Rosen flits back and forth between being Perelman's
ally and ours, we can never feel much safer with him than we do with his
fellow sorcerer.

"The physical, mental, and spiritual potentialities of the human being are
greater than we have ever realized."     F. Matthias Alexander

In part because of their willingness to unlearn and relearn the means
whereby the beautiful in music may be created, Perelman and Rosen have given
us a century-ending gift of extraordinary meaning.  May it help you to a new
level of understanding too.

Walter Horn, December 1999

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