Jazz has had its share of major talents who haven't been recorded nearly as often as they deserve to be (for example, Philadelphia tenor man Bootsie Barnes). Ivo Perelman, on the other hand, has been documented on CD extensively. Some have claimed that Perelman has recorded too often, but because he has such a wealth of creativity, it is a good thing that he has recorded as often as he has. Leo Records has presented the Brazilian tenor saxophonist in a variety of situations; The Stream of Life finds him forming a duo with drummer Brian Willson (not to be confused with Brian Wilson of Beach Boys fame). Saxophone/drum duets can be a risky business, but they can also yield fine results if the participants have a strong rapport -- and the rapport that Perelman and Willson enjoy during this 2008 session is quite strong. The two of them are nicely in sync on a 63-minute CD that favors an inside/outside aesthetic (more outside than inside) and isn't as consistently incendiary as some of Perelman's albums have been. Perelman can be a real firebrand at times; 1996's atonal Perelman/Parker/Ali Live, for example, was downright ferocious. But The Stream of Life is not an example of scorching atonality from start to finish. Parts of this disc, in fact, are contemplative, somewhat bluesy, and relatively lyrical. The Stream of Life contrasts intensity with pensive introspection, resulting in a fair amount of variety. But that is not to imply that The Stream of Life lacks passion; Perelman brings plenty of passion to the table, as does Willson. And the two of them are a consistently attractive combination on this memorable outing.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson