Posts Tagged ‘Vijay Iyer’


Six Picks: March 2014

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

My monthly list of recommended CDs, as published in The New York City Jazz Record, March 2014:

Steve Cardenas, Melody in a Dream (Sunnyside)

Eli Degibri, Twelve (Plus Loin)

Jozef Dumoulin, A Fender Rhodes Solo (BEE Jazz)

Vijay Iyer, Mutations (ECM)

Mehliana, Taming the Dragon (Nonesuch)

Catherine Russell, Bring It Back (Jazz Village)


New York @ Night: February 2012

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

From the February 2012 issue of The New York City Jazz Record:

The term “groove-oriented” usually describes jazz of a funkier, danceable sort. But it’s not how many would categorize the maddeningly complex music of Vijay Iyer and his trio with bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore. Pulsing rhythm, however, has always played a significant role for Iyer, and at (Le) Poisson Rouge during Winter Jazz Fest (Jan. 7th) he brought the beat like never before, drawing on pieces from the forthcoming ACT release Accelerando. The atmosphere was just right: packed and sweaty crowd, eager for something new. Like a good DJ, Iyer reached back to 1977 with Heatwave’s “The Star of a Story,” shrouding the pretty chords and melody in a fragmented, bass-heavy pattern. “Lude,” with an almost imperceptible segue into “Optimism,” featured Iyer in a more pronounced soloing role, though the mix was too muddy at times to hear it well. “Actions Speak,” another original, closed the set at warp speed and allowed Gilmore time for a seal-the-deal drum solo. Hypnotic deconstructed rhythm was the focus, giving a consistent band sound to a set that ranged from “Hood,” inspired by Detroit’s “minimal techno” pioneer Robert Hood, to “Human Nature,” the Michael Jackson classic from Thriller. The latter, which led off Iyer’s 2010 disc Solo (and was once a concert staple for Miles Davis), got a thorough going-over from the trio, in a limping modified shuffle feel — a beat that seemed to hold together by nearly falling apart. (David R. Adler)

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Surging and inescapable rhythm is what gives Adam Rudolph’s Moving Pictures Septet its broadly accessible and riveting sound. This much seemed clear to a late-night Winter Jazz Fest crowd at Zinc Bar (Jan. 6th), where Rudolph played a short but solid set with fellow percussionists James Hurt and Matt Kilmer, guitarist Kenny Wessel, acoustic bass guitarist Jerome Harris, reedist Ralph Jones and cornet/flugelhorn man Graham Haynes. An avant-garde theorist and student of musical traditions from around the world, Rudolph had a wealth of sounds available, and he used them brilliantly: lap-steel guitar from Harris on the opening “Oshogbo”; flute and muted cornet dissonance on the closing burner “Dance Drama”; Hurt’s melodica and Wessel’s ethereal effects at the opening of “Love’s Light,” a bluesy meditation; Jones on “Return of the Magnificent Spirits” making forceful statements on bass clarinet and Chinese hulusi (one of several Eastern wind instruments in Jones’ toolkit). Rudolph, standing behind his conga, tumba, djembe and other gear, drove the band with an effortless kind of polyrhythmic abstraction. The writing was loose but focused, with precise hits and carefully crafted themes — not unlike what we hear from Rudolph’s larger group, the Go:Organic Orchestra (which plays some of the same repertoire). Happily, the energy of this music translates onto disc: Rudolph’s latest releases, Both/And and The Sound of a Dream, are essential. (DA)


The week on disc (88)

Monday, March 21st, 2011

In case you missed the last one

Plunge, Tin Fish Tango (Immersion)

MSG (Mahanthappa/Sardjoe/Guilfoyle), Tasty! (Plus Loin)

Vijay Iyer with Prasanna & Nitin Mitta, Tirtha (ACT)

Omar Sosa, Calma (Otá)

Orrin Evans, Captain Black Big Band (Posi-Tone)

Fred Hersch, Alone at the Vanguard (Palmetto)


Fieldwork in Philly

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

In the new Philadelphia Weekly:

Composer Portrait: Fieldwork
Fri.-Sat., Mar. 11-13, 8pm. $12 ($30 three-night pass). Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 N. American St. 215.922.1695 www.arsnovaworkshop.org

Somehow the most skewed, abstract rhythms become magnetically appealing when pianist Vijay Iyer, saxophonist Steve Lehman and drummer Tyshawn Sorey gather as the experimental collective Fieldwork. In a rare three-night showcase, these formidable musicians will appear together and apart, highlighting their distinct identities as solo innovators and their power as a combined force. Sorey opens on Friday with “For Kathy Change,” a quintet tribute to the late political activist, who burned herself to death on the Penn campus in October 1996. Fieldwork convenes as a trio on Saturday. The JACK Quartet performs chamber music by Lehman (“Nos Revi Nella”) and Iyer (“Mutations I-X”) on Sunday, after a pre-concert chat with New York Times jazz critic (and Penn alum) Nate Chinen. — David R. Adler


New York @ Night: November 2010

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

In the November 2010 issue of All About Jazz-New York:

Facing one another on imposing Steinway grand pianos at the Miller Theatre (Oct. 9), Vijay Iyer and Craig Taborn met for an evening billed as “Radically Unfinished: Works for Solo and Duo Piano.” The encounter flowed logically from their work together in Roscoe Mitchell’s Note Factory (they both appear on Far Side, Mitchell’s latest for ECM). But the fact that Iyer’s latest release, Solo, will soon be followed by Taborn’s solo piano debut for ECM made this summit all the more timely and evocative. The atmosphere of high seriousness was hard to miss: Neither player spoke a single word to the audience, and the program notes, rendered by the artists in quasi-academic prose, explained the “process-driven aesthetic” of the music. Yet through their pianos as well as their unpredictable stagecraft, Iyer and Taborn told an inviting story, in dovetailing languages of harsh dissonance, broad sustaining resonance and decay, looping rhythms and dynamic contrasts. Taborn was the more physical performer, his upper-body movements accruing into a kind of funk-informed ballet. In the midst of the third duo number, Iyer nonchalantly left the stage, allowing Taborn to finish the show’s first half. Reversing this, Iyer began the second half alone, and Taborn entered from the wings during Iyer’s second solo piece. Promptly, Taborn began to change the angles and emphases of Iyer’s work in progress, and one got an odd feeling: that in some sense, he’d been there all along. (David R. Adler)

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It takes confidence for a Boston-based tenor saxophonist to crack wise about the Yankees during a gig at the Kitano Hotel (Oct. 15). But if you’re Jerry Bergonzi, and you’re settling in for two nights with pianist Bruce Barth, bassist Dave Santoro and drummer Devin Drobka, a little swagger is justified. Bergonzi is among a class of modern horn players who tend to escape critical notice despite their prodigious gifts – a fact that seemed all the more salient during the burning midtempo opener, “Mr. MB” (a tribute to the far more celebrated Michael Brecker). “Obama,” another dedication, slowed the tempo a bit, but the tune’s “Afternoon in Paris” chord changes sustained a bright mood. “Casadiche” had a tricky structure, beginning as a ballad but shifting subtly to swing and back again during the solos, in a manner slightly reminiscent of Monk’s “Brilliant Corners.” Bergonzi and Barth took hard-swinging turns on “Awake” (based on “Moment’s Notice” changes), then pared down to a duo for “Crossing the Naeff” — a dark, contemplative piece with echoes of Dave Liebman and Richie Beirach. Then a nice surprise: drummer and friend Adam Nussbaum sat in on the closing “Table Stakes” (a “Stablemates” spinoff), immediately bringing a jam-session vibe to the room. Nussbaum hit hard but tossed in the sly, suggestive asides of a true veteran. Bergonzi, wanting to reciprocate this energy, turned from the audience and played his solo squarely in Nussbaum’s direction. (DA)


Six Picks: September 2010

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

My monthly list of recommended CDs, as published in All About Jazz-New York, September 2010:

Harris Eisenstadt, Woodblock Prints (NoBusiness)

Owen Howard, Drum Lore (BJU)

Vijay Iyer, Solo (ACT)

Kneebody, You Can Have Your Moment (Winter & Winter)

Louis Sclavis/Craig Taborn/Tom Rainey, Eldorado Trio (Clean Feed)

Suresh Singaratnam, Lost in New York (ind.)