Brazilian tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman is a remarkably productive recording artist known for combining simple Brazilian folk themes with the techniques of free jazz. While he plays well in the heavily distorted, abstract-expressionist vein first tapped in the '60s by the Albert Ayler, he also fits nicely alongside his similarly inclined contemporaries like Elliott Levin and Ken Simon. Born in Sao Paulo in 1961, Perelman played classical guitar, cello, clarinet, trombone, and piano while growing up. At the age of 19 he adopted the tenor saxophone as his primary instrument. After arriving in the U.S., he attended the Berklee School of Music in Boston for a semester before dropping out (Perelman is purportedly a mostly self-taught player).
Perelman's travels took him to Los Angeles in 1986, where he studied privately and performed. His first album, Ivo from 1989, featured an all-star cast that included drummer Peter Erskine, bassist John Patitucci, percussionist Airto, and vocalist Flora Purim, among others. Also around this time, Perelman relocated to New York.
During the '90s, he founded his own Ibeji label, releasing albums like Soccer Land and Tapeba Songs. Ever explorative, in 1997 Perelman combined Jewish music and avant-garde jazz, making En Adir: Traditional Jewish Songs for the Music & Arts label. Quite prolific, Perelman recorded often with players of the avant-garde; he's made albums with the bassist Dominic Duval, pianist Borah Bergman, drummers Rashied Ali and Jay Rosen, and pianists Marilyn Crispell and Matthew Shipp, to name just a few.
In the 2000s, Perelman continued his busy recording schedule, pairing most often with pianist Shipp, as well as adventurous collaborators like violinist Mat Maneri, guitarist Joe Morris, drummer Gerald Cleaver, and others. Many of these efforts were issued via Leo Records including such albums as 2011's The Hour of the Star, 2012's Clairvoyant, 2014's Book of Sound, and 2016's Blue. Also in 2016, Perelman released six volumes of a series on Leo called The Art of the Improv Trio. A similar series detailing his partnership with Shipp, the seven-volume The Art of Perelman-Shipp, appeared in 2017. ~ Chris Kelsey