Vijay Iyer once said he just likes making the things that he likes. Judging from the vast range he has shown in his body of work, that's a lot of stuff. Whittling the essence of Iyer into a single show is nigh-impossible. Fortunately, he'll have the chance to do so over a week of shows through a residency at Manhattan's The Stone from July 30th to August 4th. Iyer will be playing two sets a night at 8 & 10pm that week with different groups (none of whom are his standard trio of bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore who have continually wowed us with Iyer's trio albums over the years). The week of performances include a hodgepodge of folks including the likes of alto saxophonist Matana Roberts, bassist Harish Raghavan, drummer Justin Brown, rapper Himanshu Suri formerly of Das Racist, drummer/rapper/swagtorialist Kassa Overall, guitarist Rafiq Bhatia, the Tirtha trio of Iyer, guitarist Prassana and tablaist Nitin Mitta, and many others.
Hat tip to, well, Vijay Iyer for pulling up this recording of his trio (Iyer on piano, Stephan Crump on bass, Marcus Gilmore on drums) performing an hour set live in Salzau, Germany in July of last year. The set, which includes songs from the heralded 2009's Historicity and this year's equally (if not moreso) heralded Accelerando, recorded by Jazz Baltica is head-swirlingly good, so hunker down and watch.
Live at Mayne Stage, Chicago, 18 October 2012 (Show Review)
I, like most music bloggers, am unnecessarily obsessed with best of lists. So much so in fact that I felt compelled this past week to compile a premature list of my favorite jazz releases of the year, one which I was surprised to see, consisted almost entirely of piano trio records: The Bad Plus, Trio M, Alfredo Rodriguez, Brad Mehldau, etc.
I wasn’t exactly sure as to why until last night, when I had the chance to see the Vijay Iyer Trio, who put out my favorite record (jazz or otherwise) of this year, Accelerando.
Taking to Chicago’s Mayne Stage this past Thursday, the band spent the majority of their 2 ½ hour set pulling material from both Accelerando and 2009’s Historicity, two records that affirm, in my mind at least, the piano trio as the most potent unit for creative and forward thinking jazz on the scene today. Seeing them live only strengthened this view.
Last night while halfway watching the Democratic National Convention (because I'm a democrat but I'd much rather read Ezra Klein and co. break down policy than a week long pep rally), I hopped on Google Chat to talk with Vijay Iyer about his upcoming project with spoken word artist Mike Ladd, Holding It Down: The Veterans' Dreams Project. What follows is an edit of our talk about the development of this third major collaboration with Ladd, the idea behind this project, and a little about how it ties together with the First Lady putting US troops to the fore where they should be.