Ivo Perelman | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Ivo Perelman 

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Think of "Brazil" and "tenor sax" at the same time and you come up with the image of Stan Getz's bossa nova years; go to hear the Brazilian tenor saxist Ivo Perelman and the imagery changes drastically. Perelman has nothing to do with the bossa nova, the samba, or the host of subsequent rhythmic fads in his native land, just as his impassioned, fulminating improvisations bear no trace of cool jazz or bebop. The 32-year-old Perelman pours out a sound that more closely resembles the florid and guttural split tones that distinguished Argentina's Gato Barbieri in the 70s; and, like Barbieri, he has absorbed the work of John Coltrane and Albert Ayler (and, I suspect, Archie Shepp) to devise a distinct approach to free improvisation. On his most recent recording, Children of Ibeji (Enja), Perelman turned to ancient Brazilian folk themes and mythology to powerfully protest the killing of impoverished children in Brazil's notorious favelas (shantytown slums). The album does contain Antonio Carlos Jobim's haunting, 32-year-old bossa nova tune "Omorro nao tem vez" (the title of which translates as "The Slums Have No Chance"); and Perelman's inclusion of it reminds us that previous artists had issued the warnings. But his stirring deconstruction of the song, set against pounding, splintered rhythms, offers the perfect example of his committed iconoclasm. His quintet will feature the grand pianist Joanne Brackeen and the brainy bassist Fred Hopkins. Saturday, 8:30 PM, HotHouse, 1565 N. Milwaukee; 235-2334.

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