Vijay Iyer: Solo (ACT/Southbound)

 |   |  1 min read

Vijay Iyer: Darn That Dream
Vijay Iyer: Solo (ACT/Southbound)

This gifted, multiple-award wining pianist and rather ferocious intellect has been profiled at Elsewhere previously (here) and this album is perhaps the one which will be persuasive evidence that he really is something.

Eleven pieces played solo -- among them Monk's Epistrophy, the standards Darn That Dream, Ellington's Fluerette Africaine and Black and Tan Fantasy, alongside a number of originals predominantly in the second half -- which reveal his thoughtful intensity and how he is expanding the jazz idiom.

After the melodic opener Human Nature (the Michael Jackson song which narrowly avoids veering into New Age ambience at some points) he takes apart the Monk in a vigorous reading then pulls right back for a gentle exploration of Darn That Dream which is as light of touch as the Monk is muscular. 

His brief Prelude: Heartpiece -- all discordant tension yet somehow romantic -- ushers in his own compositions which open with the free, busy and seemingly fragmented Autoscopy (an out of body experience, he explains) then moves into the initially spare, eight minute ballad Patterns which is the highlight and centre-piece. It opens out like a raga with the pianist exploring idea before launching into powerful and rhythmic playing which circle around and back to a central idea.

He closes his bracket (and a stately Fluerette Africaine) with a lively tribute to Sun Ra in One for Blount.

Vijay Iyer has staked out a lot of ground already in his career and here is the reason why he has won such acclaim. He explores the piano and the music in way that can be enlightening and often exciting.

Share It

Your Comments

Angela - Nov 18, 2010

Could this artist be related to the brilliant writer Pico Iyer?

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz at Elsewhere articles index

Dino Saluzzi/Anja Lechner: Ojos Negros (ECM/Ode)

Dino Saluzzi/Anja Lechner: Ojos Negros (ECM/Ode)

Argentinean bandoneon player Saluzzi (along with Astor Piazzolla) is widely and correctly credited with bringing this instrument to universal attention through his early work with jazz musicians... > Read more

Chisholm/Meehan/Dyne: Unwind (Rattle)

Chisholm/Meehan/Dyne: Unwind (Rattle)

Wellington pianist/author/teacher and composer Norman Meehan has appeared a few times at Elsewhere but bassist Paul Dyne, once a mainstay of New Zealand jazz in Sustenance during the Eighties... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE ROLLING STONES, THEIR FORGOTTEN DECADE (2021): A rock'n'roll band lodging in the memory motel

THE ROLLING STONES, THEIR FORGOTTEN DECADE (2021): A rock'n'roll band lodging in the memory motel

Dr Greil Fong-Doggett is Emirates Professor of Popular Music and Cultural Studies at the University of Bristol and has been writing on papular music for the Guardian on Sunday for more than two... > Read more

JOHNNY CASH AT FOLSOM PRISON;THE MAKING OF A MASTERPIECE by MICHEAL STREISSGUTH

JOHNNY CASH AT FOLSOM PRISON;THE MAKING OF A MASTERPIECE by MICHEAL STREISSGUTH

A hip comedy club, New York, late 1980s. The stand-up delivers a one-liner which has the smart set baying: "Does anyone know why Johnny Cash still wears black?"  At the time... > Read more