All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Vijay Iyer Sextet at The Village Vanguard

Mike Jurkovic By

Sign in to view read count
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, flugelhorn, electronics; Mark Shim tenor saxophone; Steve Lehman alto saxophone; Stephan Crump bass; Jeremy Dutton drums. A whispering piano/horns intro quickly boiled over into a force of nature, as it should be. Haynes took the lead, lifted the roof, traded off to Lehman for a no-holds-barred solo. Lehman passed the flaming torch to Shim who only added gasoline to the fire. Iyer road the waves, cascading, dementing, deconstructing, finding new forms, new ways to excite. A sparring post-bop/all-bop schematic. The horns punched the air, punching into new heights. As Dutton soloed fiercely, Iyer and Crump began raging behind him. Iyer stepped to the fore, upped the ante, his solo daring, lept the whole to climax—the horns tore forward mach 10.

A spidery Iyer solo set the next work apace. Titles were unnecessary at the Vanguard that night. It was all about creation, now, pulling it from the charts, the air, from the legends before. The trio of horns swaggered high into the fray. Haynes manned up once more, cutting the air as Dutton frenzied off the rails behind him. For a good while you forgot this was Iyer's gig, and that's what great live jazz is: Each player taking a stand for the other. Pulling the stakes higher. Piano, bass, drums telling the tale of a million voices. Iyer's left hand foreboding, punching staccato; the space between chords, between voices like a collective grasp of something higher than what's outside. Shim stepped back to his mic as a jumpy quarter-time buildt behind him. Crump was absolutely amazing. Dutton powered forth towards something bigger than this stage, this room. The music now moved in blurred moments, Haynes adding layers of echo to his horn so it grabbed you from the outer reaches, from dreams, from thoughts unfinished and unfathomed. We were at fever pitch but in walks Iyer—vigorous, acrobatic, elliptical, sonorous... bass drove the next segment. Lehman searched high, soared to crescendo.

You couldn't stop it now. It's almost terrifying how high the human spirit will take its chosen voice. Stuttering. Fluttering. A reflectively dark tune emerged, triumphant despite the darkness we all knew waited to envelope. Things got funky now, earth, wind, fire. Dutton went double time, a bustle of block chords. For a moment Iyer did Hancock. Tenor and soprano barged in. Another thoroughly mesmerizing Iyer solo. Where does this guy find the time to play this way and win genius awards? Lehman picked up the pace, seeming to race the leader to the finish line. Haynes broke the surface. Shim covered the corners. Iyer pulled the whole towards a gratifying, spellbinding end. The crowd erupted. The lights come up. And Roy Haynes was in the house!


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Sligo Jazz Project 2018: Days 1-2 Live Reviews
Sligo Jazz Project 2018: Days 1-2
by James Fleming
Published: August 18, 2018
Read Alan Broadbent Trio at the Deer Head Inn Live Reviews
Alan Broadbent Trio at the Deer Head Inn
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: August 15, 2018
Read Flow Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Flow Festival 2018
by Anthony Shaw
Published: August 14, 2018
Read Shipp / Lowe / Baker / Ray at Le Poisson Rouge Live Reviews
Shipp / Lowe / Baker / Ray at Le Poisson Rouge
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 13, 2018
Read 3rd Zbigniew Seifert International Jazz Violin Competition Live Reviews
3rd Zbigniew Seifert International Jazz Violin Competition
by Ian Patterson
Published: August 9, 2018
Read Live From Brussels: Turkish Psychedelic Nite, Charlemagne Palestine & Anna Von Hausswolff Live Reviews
Live From Brussels: Turkish Psychedelic Nite, Charlemagne...
by Martin Longley
Published: August 9, 2018
Read "WDR 3 Jazzfest 2018" Live Reviews WDR 3 Jazzfest 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 16, 2018
Read "36th International Tampere Jazz Happening" Live Reviews 36th International Tampere Jazz Happening
by John Ephland
Published: December 4, 2017
Read "David Virelles & Nosotros at Jazz Standard" Live Reviews David Virelles & Nosotros at Jazz Standard
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 4, 2018
Read "Dixie Dregs at Lincoln Theatre" Live Reviews Dixie Dregs at Lincoln Theatre
by Eric Thiessen
Published: March 18, 2018