Perelman, Fowler, Workman, Cyrille: Embracing The Unknown

Tenor saxophone, stritch, manzello, bass and percussion patiently, occasionally precipitately, interact without much, or any, planning


Three of the four names making up this quartet – Perelman, Workman and Cyrille – have between them a vast discography that documents their open-mindedness when it comes to creative improvised music. Saying that this album’s a distinguished addition to that discography is no overstatement.

The musical fare is “free jazz”, where the amount of preparation is minimal. As such, the musicians’ pedigrees are momentarily rendered irrelevant by the demands of those moments.

The title track signifies this with its slow build, the shared understanding of time passing and the use of silence and space; Fowler’s agitation at around the 13-minute mark makes this plain but also exemplifies how moods can be both quickly dictated and overruled in such a hothouse environment.

Perelman and Workman’s duet-cum-dance at the outset of Introspection quickly becomes a trio when Fowler enters proceedings, but the mood is still refined, as if the trio’s collectively alert to the moments before Cyrille makes the conversation a four-way affair. For all of the subsequent testifying the music’s contours are still curvaceous, unbroken by any display of the kind of virtuosity measured in screams (primal or otherwise) or the splintering of reeds. If this implies a certain restraint then so be it, for to measure this music in terms of volume or energy spent in its production is to miss the point.

Embracing The Unknown; Soul Searching; Self-Reflection; Introspection; Self-Analysis; Self-Fulfillment; Self-Contemplation (68.23)
Ivo Perelman (ts); Chad Fowler (stritch, manzello); Reggie Workman (b, pc); Andrew Cyrille (d, pc). Park West Studios, Brooklyn, New York, 18 October 2021.
Mahakala Music MAHA-076