242

Vijay Iyer: Tirtha

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Vijay Iyer: Tirtha 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, the recording crosses the channels of jazz and Indian music, eschewing the hybridization of the two styles; a semblance of familiarity but also something entirely fresh. The nine tracks contain robust elements of ethnicity, thriving improvisation, and exhaustive composition; steeped in modern and old worlds. In the sweltering tempo of "Tribal Wisdom," Nitin Mitta's masterful percussion, which flows like water, is juxtaposed against Iyer's free and classical pianism, while Prasanna's guitar lexicon is informed of Jimi Hendrixian progressiveness, the classic Carnatic form of Southern India, and other world influences.

A journey of mood and sound, Iyer's title track is resplendent, a work perfected in the capabilities of musicians and their instruments to move as one, like the rise and fall of a tide. "Abundance" is not only hypnotic but emotive, and the numerology of "Gauntlet"s is impressive, as the pianist improvises over a machine-like syncopation. "Polytheism" finds the trio navigating through dangerous changes, but landing safely, whereas Prasanna's "Entropy and Time" reaches the recording's apex. Like a bridge over trouble waters, the guitarist's riff moves, at first jaggedly, but ultimately threads itself into a pastoral Indian folk-tune melody. Whatever the intent Tirtha is a mesmeric project, one of unity and harmonious communication.


Track Listing: Duality; Tribal Wisdom; Tirtha; Abundance; Falsehood; Gauntlet; Polytheism; Remembrance; Entropy and Time.

Personnel: Vijay Iyer: piano; Prasanna: guitar, voice; Nitin Mitta: tabla.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: ACT Music | Style: Modern Jazz


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read A Dark and Stormy Day CD/LP/Track Review A Dark and Stormy Day
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Pocono Git-Down CD/LP/Track Review Pocono Git-Down
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Rímur CD/LP/Track Review Rímur
by Henning Bolte
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Schönbrunn CD/LP/Track Review Schönbrunn
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read "Purple Patio" CD/LP/Track Review Purple Patio
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 27, 2016
Read "Up and Coming" CD/LP/Track Review Up and Coming
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 30, 2017
Read "Pocono Git-Down" CD/LP/Track Review Pocono Git-Down
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 1, 2017
Read "Hotel Cinema" CD/LP/Track Review Hotel Cinema
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 3, 2016
Read "Held" CD/LP/Track Review Held
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 13, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!