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 articles index

Kim Paterson: The Duende (Sarang Bang Records)

Kim Paterson: The Duende (Sarang Bang Records)

Auckland trumpeter Kim Paterson has been around for perhaps as long as most jazz listeners can recall but has been poorly represented on albums under his own name. In fact I'm scratching to think... > Read more

RAVI COLTRANE INTERVIEWED (2007): First rays of the new rising son

RAVI COLTRANE INTERVIEWED (2007): First rays of the new rising son

If musical talent is in the genes then Ravi Coltrane was twice blessed: his father was the legendary tenor saxophonist John Coltrane whose spiritual and searching bebop redefined jazz in the late... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Bon Jovi: Having a bar of it

Bon Jovi: Having a bar of it

My knowledge of Bon Jovi has always been limited, and even more so back in the early Nineties when all I could conjure up for a pub quiz would have been "New Jersey, the cover of their... > Read more

Life in a leaky building: a survivor's tale

Life in a leaky building: a survivor's tale

Just before Christmas 2005, we fell victim to the pandemic sweeping across Auckland. You know how it is: you always think it’ll affect someone else and you’ll be okay. So we were... > Read more