11

Vijay Iyer Trio: Break Stuff

Hrayr Attarian By

Sign in to view read count
Intrepid pianist and composer Vijay Iyer's Break Stuff is an intimate work brimming with an intense poetry and a subtly dramatic ambience. The latter results from the complementary and contrasting elements, which are intricately interwoven within each of the dozen tracks that comprise the album.

On the exquisite "Mystery Woman," for instance, Iyer plays percussive chords with one hand and haunting, lilting cascade of notes with the other building a sublime harmonic balance. The serene atmosphere that follows coalesces around bassist Stephan Crump's lyrical solo laced with mysticism. This balance of sound and silence leads to Iyer's sweeping improvisation that crashes over drummer Marcus Gilmore's rocking refrains and Crump's hypnotic reverberations.

Saxophonist John Coltrane's "Countdown" meanwhile showcases both Iyer's virtuosity and the superb and seamless camaraderie among the members of his long-standing trio. Iyer's agile and rapid-fire arpeggios open on an angular touch. Gilmore and Crump echo Iyer's edgy spontaneity as the group performance evolves with elegance and captivating patterns. Gilmore's reserved yet passionate polyrhythms usher in the conclusion.

Deceptive simplicity is one of the hallmarks of Iyer's originals on the record. The Baroque-esque "Chorale" for example is built around an unadorned melody. The ensemble's intriguing refrains grow more complex with each bar resulting in a sophisticated, contemplative and gripping piece that crystalizes around the linear and mellifluous theme.

Elsewhere the quietly undulating "Wrens," one of the three avian themed compositions, transforms into an expansive tune. Iyer's shimmering lines are interlaced with Crump's deeply resonant sonic undercurrent and Gilmore's propulsive beats. The solemn "Starlings" features Iyer's classically influenced pianism, Crump's primal, thumping bass and Gilmore's sparse cymbal splashes.

A similarly orgnaic mood permeates the splendid "Geese." Crump's con- arco phrases, with hints of delightful dissonance, evoke the calls of the title birds. The tense and passionate three-way conversation that emerges maintains an elegiac and somber tone while channeling a wise tranquility.

For their first recording together for the ECM label, Iyer and his band-mates create engaging and provocative music. Superlative camaraderie and individual instrumental prowess coexist in perfect equilibrium as do the cerebral and the emotive, the elemental and the arcane. The result is a singular and ingenious disc that engrosses and stimulates.

Track Listing: Starlings; Chorale; Diptych; Hood; Work; Taking Flight; Blood Count; Break Stuff; Mystery Woman; Geese; Countdown; Wrens.

Personnel: Vijay Iyer: piano; Stephan Crump: double bass; Marcus Gilmore: drums.

Title: Break Stuff | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: ECM Records

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Jul16Tue
Vijay Iyer
Village Vanguard
New York, NY
$35
Jul16Tue
Vijay Iyer
Village Vanguard
New York, NY
$35
Jul17Wed
Vijay Iyer
Village Vanguard
New York, NY
$35
Jul17Wed
Vijay Iyer
Village Vanguard
New York, NY
$35
Jul18Thu
Vijay Iyer
Village Vanguard
New York, NY
$35
Jul18Thu
Vijay Iyer
Village Vanguard
New York, NY
$35
Jul19Fri
Vijay Iyer
Village Vanguard
New York, NY
$35

Related Articles

Read Phoenix Rising Album Reviews
Phoenix Rising
By Jack Bowers
June 24, 2019
Read Last Works Album Reviews
Last Works
By Doug Hall
June 24, 2019
Read The Change Album Reviews
The Change
By Roger Farbey
June 24, 2019
Read City Night Album Reviews
City Night
By Doug Collette
June 24, 2019
Read Waves Album Reviews
Waves
By John Eyles
June 23, 2019
Read Elevate Album Reviews
Elevate
By Doug Collette
June 23, 2019
Read Connor Sings — Kenton Swings Album Reviews
Connor Sings — Kenton Swings
By Jack Bowers
June 23, 2019