Perelman, Shipp, Parker, Kapp - Ineffable Joy [ESP Disk - 2019]Free jazz veterans Ivo Perelman, Matthew Shipp, William Parker and Bobby Kapp have teamed up in this new quartet project Ineffable Joy. With splendid skill and speed, the ensemble waste no time in this gushing outpouring of ideas which could be described as freeform improvisatory music for short attention spans.
The volume of notes is high indeed, the pacing urgent, each moment occupied by volleys and counter-volleys of taps and chromatic iterations, but the tone is never raucous or harsh, steady at mezzo forte except for a couple of brief spats of violence. This is a purposeful hustle and bustle, sourced from the organized chaos of city life.
The sense of stimulated unease and general dissonance of the group's loose impromptu tonalities strike a curious existential contrast to the chosen title Ineffable Joy, which I am quite sure is intentional. This is a 'joy' not unlike that of Sun Ra, a joy which means acceptance of chaos and frenzy.
As the album progresses there are moments of relative slowness, tracks such as "Ebullience" and "Elation" recreating the soft romanticism of classic jazz ballads without the solidity of their chord structures. This gives saxophonist Ivo Perelman a chance to shine, melodically inclined as he clearly is, and for a moment this free jazz album has all the sensitivity and feeling of traditional jazz.
These musicians have remarkable ability to deftly dance around potential ideas, circle each other and convince one another to solidify or diverge. It is a fascinating mental exercise to pick apart, notably more listenable than your average free jazz recording, likely because it doesn't demand a great deal of patience or endurance on the part of the listener, providing a great deal of color and variety within a short time. They don't shy away from pleasure or emotion too quickly, letting their musical roots show even in this avant garde context from time to time. A creatively rich, expressive and replayable record.Josh Landry