In Ivo Perelman’s playing the tenor saxophone becomes a voice asking questions in growingly tense fashion, and even when some of the answers have been found a veritable placation of that edginess is not really achieved. This excellent record is a classic case of “just listen”: the quality of the interplay doesn’t admit critical opposition, bassist Dominic Duval’s meticulous impulsiveness and drummer Brian Wilson’s incendiary predisposition representing an impressive complement for the leader’s incorrupt tone. The balance between the caustic tendencies of free jazz and the refinement of a trio’s interaction – according to rules that are generated from within each musician’s soul – is truly superlative. These musicians can’t be dissuaded from pursuing a path of powerful spirituality that nevertheless lacks the component of superficial iconography frequently associated with artistic dishonesty. Their commitment can be felt on the skin, a burning sensation of truthfulness explicated through a myriad of climaxes and perspectives, without an ounce of laissez-faire. The biting phrases, the punchy plucks, the torrential rolls are all parts of a sensational whole that agitates, irritates and stimulates at once, never allowing us to lower the defences but – at the same time – encouraging the type of blood-and-guts fight that usually sees the combatants embracing as brothers at the end of the hostilities. If jazz still means something today, that’s owed to records like this.

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