One of the titans of jazz and neo-jazz improvisation, Ivo Perelman celebrates his twenty-year career with eight 2010 releases for various record labels. The Stream of Life with drummer Brian Willson is a largely powerful exposition that vividly contrasts life’s uphill battles to complement an optimistic vibe, lightly treated with compassionate moments during various intervals. No doubt, the duo generates excitement and interest via large doses of expressionism, gusto and pep. They mimic each other’s activities, but offset sub-plots with numerous detours to complement the steady stream of energy they produce.
Willson’s polyrhythmic aplomb is teeming with odd-metered tom patterns and free-bop pulses. He also generates a big sound while using his cymbals for accentuation and shading. Perelman’s beefy tone and articulate phrasing underscores his authoritative presence and probing improvisational segments. Moreover, the duo intertwines angst, wit and hardcore interplay into the program. And on the piece titled "Vicarious Punishment," the musicians embark upon a search and destroy mission, teeming with impressionistic dialogues and angular sub-themes. Here, the duo dishes out a hyper-mode hustle and bustle foray as the saxophonist propels his motifs into the stratosphere.
Perelman has been a significant force in free-jazz and improvisation circles, and this release amplifies his prominence in rather poignant fashion. However, it’s not a musical slugfest by any stretch. Perelman and Willson convey a synchronous mindset, sparked by their intuitive exchanges. It’s as though they’re reading each other’s minds. That factor alone yields a winning edge and separates this outing from the hordes of free-form albums that are mired in technical bravado and meaningless onslaughts.