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Vijay Iyer Sextet at The Village Vanguard

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Vijay Iyer Sextet Village Vanguard New York, NY May 17, 2018 I'll recreate this blistering first set the best I can. The sextet nudged their way through the Vanguard's current crowd and its deep history. The applause built. Vijay Iyer took his place at the piano, turned to the crowd, spilled water on some mic and electric cables and hoped it doesn't cause a problem. He introduced his band, obviously straining-at-the-bit: Graham Haynes trumpet, ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Vijay Iyer at SFJAZZ

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Vijay Iyer SFJAZZ San Francisco, CA January 18, 19, 21, 2018 Vijay Iyer told a San Francisco audience at Herbst Theater that it is amazingly difficult to tour in the United States, by way of explaining why he did not perform in his former hometown more often. But, since, SFJAZZ opened their new building, the situation has evolved, and he has been a repeated guest at the facility. This year ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vijay Iyer: Far from Over

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Vijay Iyer sounds so evolved and invigorating with each release that it's easy to forget that his eye-opening debut Memorophilia, Asian Improv Records) was two-plus decades ago. Think about it, Blood Sutra, Historicity, Accelerando, Tirtha... But over the course of his ECM five disc career (beginning with 2014's Mutations), there has been a little bit of creative wood shedding. Not lazy, mind you, that would be impossible with the chops and concepts Iyer consistently displays. It's some un-explainable ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vijay Iyer Sextet: Far From Over

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Pianist/composer Vijay Iyer has employed different instrumental forces for each of his ECM albums. Most recently, A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke (2016) was a duet with trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, while Break Stuff (2015) featured his long standing trio with bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore. For his fifth ECM date as a leader he has expanded to a sextet. The rhythm section includes Crump and drummer Tyshawn Sorey, who has long subbed for Gilmore in the trio, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vijay Iyer Sextet: Far From Over

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There are any number of valid ways to describe Vijay Iyer's music over the course of his twenty-three albums. Analytical, angular, intricate, dissonant, and oddly lyrical; his two previous ECM releases, Break Stuff (2015) and the duo outing, A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke, with Wadada Leo Smith (2016), have been more widely accessible without forsaking complexity. Not merely an academic, Iyer is a perpetual student, absorbing information and disseminating his aggregate knowledge in new and inventive ways. On Far ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith: A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke

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In the liner notes for A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke, pianist Vijay Iyer notes that he and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith would often become a sub-segment of the quartet in which the two played. Following their collaboration in New York City in 2015, ECM chief Manfred Eicher brought the two master artists together to make their unique chemistry a matter of record. At its core, the album is a suite dedicated to the late, influential Indian artist Nasreen Mohamedi ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith: A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke

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The expansion of the mind, or better yet, consciousness, can come from multiple approaches. Prayer, physical activity, hallucinogenic substances, and mathematics are but a few routes. All seem to distillate to one essence, that is quiet, the emptiness of silence. For prayer or meditation, the quiet is obvious. But also, great scientists and athletes tell us in the vacuum of space, problems are solved, and the game winning jump-shot is made in an almost slow-motion stillness. That same ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vijay Iyer Trio: Break Stuff

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vijay Iyer Trio: Break Stuff

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From the time of his debut as a leader nearly twenty years ago on Architextures (Asian Improv Records, 1996), pianist and composer Vijay Iyer has been a great experimenter. The Albany, New York native successfully utilized duplicated patterns and phrasing in a variety of settings from solo piano to ensembles. Advanced as his earlier techniques were, Iyer has continued to move forward and challenge himself, incorporating and manipulating decades of learning as his career progresses. At a given time his ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Vijay Iyer Trio: Break Stuff

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When it comes to jazz/improvised music, there are those who, like pianist Keith Jarrett, prefer to approach it with a blank slate, clearing their minds of everything in order to find a way to pull form from the ether. Then there are those who spend considerable time formulating their approach, and coming up with a philosophy, an aesthetic, to apply to the music they make. While he's far from the only musician to take the latter approach, few are as ...