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Vijay Iyer: Mutations

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There are times when it's possible to chart an artist's success through his association with record labels. Vijay Iyer--who, over the past 20 years, has built a reputation for genre-defying, forward-reaching music--spent the early part of his career on independent US labels including the highly regarded Pi Recordings, Savoy Jazz and Sunnyside Records. But it was with his move to Germany's ACT Music label and a series of trio and solo recordings, including the Grammy-nominated Historicity (2009), that the pianist began to garner even more attention. Still, as good as his four ACT recordings were, looking at the label's overall ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Vijay Iyer Solo at San Francisco Performances

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Vijay Iyer San Francisco Performances San Francisco, CA November 16, 2013 Polymath, pianist, arranger, composer, Grammy nominee, creative program director, a doctorate holder, the recipient of a 2013 MacArthur “genius" fellowship, the recipient of a groundbreaking “quintuple crown" in the 2012 Down Beat International Critics Poll, as well as a “quadruple crown" in the JazzTimes extended critics poll. Soon to be a Harvard Professor. Declared Pianist of the Year for both 2012 and 2013 by the Jazz Journalists Association. Winner of the 2013 ECHO Award (the “German Grammy") for best international pianist. Who ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vijay Iyer / Mike ladd: Holding It Down: The Veterans’ Dreams Project

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It's been nearly 70 years since the film The Best Years Of Our Lives won seven Academy Awards, including one for Best Picture (1946). The story revolved around three returning WWII veterans and their difficulties adjusting to civilian life. While those veterans came back to the economic powerhouse that was the United States, today's returning soldiers from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars find a country with the same meager prospects that perhaps drove them to enlist in the first place. Although the government has done it's best to shield civilians from seeing coffins returning or video of the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vijay Iyer Trio: Accelerando

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On the surface, Accelerando follows the same basic format as Historicity (ACT Music, 2009), the debut of pianist Vijay Iyer's working trio with bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore. Though once again divided between Iyer's complex originals and some surprising covers, this eclectic sophomore session attains an even greater sense of cohesion than its predecessor, courtesy of a common aesthetic denominator. As Iyer states in the liner notes “This album is in the lineage of American creative music based on dance rhythms." From the rhapsodic crescendos of the pianist's “Optimism" to a phantasmagoric deconstruction of Michael Jackson's “Human Nature," ...

DISTRICT JAZZ

Vijay Iyer Trio: Washington, DC, April 30, 2011

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Vijay Iyer TrioSixth & I Historic SynagogueWashington, DCApril 30, 2011 Sponsored by the Washington Performing Arts Society, pianist Vijay Iyer's concert placed his innovative trio in the sumptuous setting of Washington, DC's Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. The domed ceilings and intricate décor provided an appropriate backdrop to Iyer's powerfully evocative, enormously creative musical explorations, the serenity and seriousness of the space reflecting the complexity and spiritual clarity of Iyer's music as the repurposing of the building mirrored Iyer's ability to be modern, while maintaining continuity with multiple musical lineages.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vijay Iyer: Tirtha

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A confluence of ideas is encountered in the kinetic and unusual Tirtha, featuring three South Asian luminaries: the critically acclaimed jazz pianist Vijay Iyer; and his equally accomplished trio-mates, guitarist/composer Prasanna, and tablaist Nitin Mitta. Iyer formed the band in 2007 when asked to put together a concert celebrating 60 years of Indian independence. The title (also the band's name) has significance, as “tirtha" (pronounced THEER-tha), is the Sanskrit word for “ford" or “crossing," a shallow part of a body of water that may be easily crossed, as in a pilgrimage near sacred waters. With this mindset, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vijay Iyer: Solo

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Pianist Vijay Iyer may be one of the great ones; only time will tell. The pianist has risen to become a critics' darling, mostly on the basis of his quartet outings, including the much-lauded Reimagining (Savoy Jazz, 2005) and Tragicomic (Sunnyside Records, 2008). He's worked a trio magic, to, -with his piano/saxophone/drums Fieldwork group, on the high intensity Your Life Flashes (Pi Recordings, 20002), Simulated Progress (Pi Recordings, 2005), and Door (Pi Recordings, 2008).All of Iyer's recordings, pre-2009, have featured saxophonists: the innovative Rudresh Mahanthappa on the sets under his own name, and the equally-talented Aaron Stewart and ...



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