Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

9

Vijay Iyer Trio at Brooks Center for the Performing Arts

Mark Sullivan By

Sign in to view read count
Vijay Iyer Trio
Brooks Center for the Peforming Arts
Utsey Chamber Music Series
Clemson, SC
1/15/2015

The Vijay Iyer Trio's performance at Clemson University's Brooks Center for the Perfoming Arts was the first jazz programmed as part of the long-running Utsey Chamber Music Series. As the presenter pointed out in her introduction, most jazz is technically chamber music: one player on a part. When the band took the stage Iyer greeted the crowd and announced a late change to the personnel listing in the program: Tyshawn Sorey would be subbing for longtime Trio drummer Marcus Gilmore (which apparently has been done before). Sorey had also played on Iyer's Blood Sutra (Artist House, 2003), and they have an association with saxophonist Steve Coleman in common. We were told we'd be hearing some old tunes, music from the forthcoming ECM release Break Stuff, and "some things you know."

There was no hesitation as the group launched into their first long set of music, a group of songs played without pause that lasted more than half an hour. The Trio demonstrated their full range: very high energy, but also capable of quiet, reflective passages and melodic playing. The set included "Geese" (from the Open City suite), "Lude," "Break Stuff" (title tune from the ECM album), and concluded with Thelonious Monk's "Work" (in his back-announcement of the set, Iyer quipped that the Monk title came from the way you have to work to play it).

Iyer introduced the next selection, "Our Lives," as a very old tune written when he was about twenty ("a long time ago, " he joked). Then the group launched into another long set, which included Henry Threadgill's "Little Pocket Size Demons" (from Iyer's album Accelerando (Act, 2012)) and "Hood" (a tribute to Detroit techno pioneer Robert Hood) from the new album. Iyer next changed the pace with a solo version of Billy Strayhorn's "Blood Count," another preview of Break Stuff.

Iyer has a reputation as a knotty modernist: Thelonious Monk is a clear reference, as is Henry Threadgill. But the inclusion of a Billy Strayhorn tune shows his roots in the jazz tradition, as well as demonstrating how approachable his playing can be. And bassist Stephan Crump's animated performance should be proof enough that the musicians are feeling the music. This was a free concert offered as part of a chamber music series, so it is reasonable to assume that many of the members of the full house on this evening were previously unfamiliar with Iyer's music. But they were a generous and supportive audience; there was no mass exodus, even when the sound was at the most abstract or dissonant. In addition to exposing people to contemporary jazz at its finest, the Vijay Iyer Trio hopefully made some new fans.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Vivian Reed at Feinstein's/54 Below Live Reviews Vivian Reed at Feinstein's/54 Below
by Tyran Grillo
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Henry Threadgill at Tilton Gallery Live Reviews Henry Threadgill at Tilton Gallery
by Kurt Gottschalk
Published: December 10, 2017
Read The Brian McCarthy Quartet At FlynnSpace Live Reviews The Brian McCarthy Quartet At FlynnSpace
by Doug Collette
Published: December 10, 2017
Read Mindi Abair at The Empress Theatre Live Reviews Mindi Abair at The Empress Theatre
by Walter Atkins
Published: December 8, 2017
Read BAN BAM: Music Talking Live Reviews BAN BAM: Music Talking
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 7, 2017
Read David Amram 87th Birthday Celebration at the Falcon Live Reviews David Amram 87th Birthday Celebration at the Falcon
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: December 6, 2017
Read "Punkt Festival 2017" Live Reviews Punkt Festival 2017
by Henning Bolte
Published: September 17, 2017
Read "Steve Winwood at the Space at Westbury" Live Reviews Steve Winwood at the Space at Westbury
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: May 6, 2017
Read "Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival 2017" Live Reviews Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival 2017
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: June 24, 2017

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!