292

Vijay Iyer: Historicity

Chris Kompanek By

Sign in to view read count
Vijay Iyer: Historicity Pianist Vijay Iyer's compositions are ferociously paced and fractured with a sense of urgency that informs each note he plays. Historicity's title track opens the record, grabbing the listener immediately with the pianist's unique touch, carrying through on other original compositions such as "Helix"—a ballad on the surface that explodes midway through with frenetic energy. This energy is also felt on his interpretations of other composers. Standouts include his 'versioning' of M.I.A.'s "Galang," which utilizes rhythmic phrases to retain the texture of the original while adding harmonic complexity to the periphery of the piece, reminiscent of Christopher O'Riley's orchestrally full interpretations of Radiohead songs.

Iyer tackles soul legend Stevie Wonder's "Big Brother" with equal confidence. Drumming prodigy Marcus Gilmore's heavily percussive beats lay the foundation for the leader's lower register mayhem, occasionally supplemented with a select upper register melody, highlighting the funk of the original while leaving space for improvisation. This feeling is carried over in Julius Hemphill's masterpiece "Dogon A.D.," structured around Stephan Crump's simple and powerful bass line. Two-thirds of the way through the piece Crump goes into a wonderfully expressive bowed solo to add a twinge of melancholy to the already full spectrum of sound.

Iyer's trio handles these modern classics with aplomb but are a little less successful tackling the Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim classic, "Somewhere" from West Side Story. They dig into it with the same energy that makes the rest of the record such a joy to listen to, but in the process miss some of the subtleties and complexities of the work. It'd be nice to have a bit of a breather to break up the intensity, but there's no denying the talent and precision that Iyer, Crump and Gilmore bring to this session.


Track Listing: Historicity; Somewhere; Galang; Helix; Smoke Stack; Big Brother; Dogon A.D.; Mystic Brew; Trident: 2010; Segment for Sentiment #2.

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

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: ACT Music | Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Protean Reality" CD/LP/Track Review Protean Reality
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 24, 2016
Read "Xabregas 10" CD/LP/Track Review Xabregas 10
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "A Good Time Was Had By All" CD/LP/Track Review A Good Time Was Had By All
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 25, 2016
Read "A Handful Of Songs" CD/LP/Track Review A Handful Of Songs
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2016
Read "Copenhagen Diaries" CD/LP/Track Review Copenhagen Diaries
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: May 8, 2016
Read "Big City Love" CD/LP/Track Review Big City Love
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 24, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!