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

Brian Smith: Taupo (Manu/Ode)

Brian Smith: Taupo (Manu/Ode)

Most New Zealand jazz is like the Kiwi: endangered, pokes around in the dark away from public gaze and doesn't take flight. This year however is shaping up to be a good one: albums by... > Read more

THE BLUE NOTE LABEL AT 75 (2014): Vision, visuals and visionaries in jazz

THE BLUE NOTE LABEL AT 75 (2014): Vision, visuals and visionaries in jazz

In early January 1939 Alfred Lion – a 30-year old emigre from Berlin who had moved permanently to New York just two years previous – took the boogie-woogie pianists Meade Lux Lewis... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: University of Auckland songwriter finalist Emily Rice

THE ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: University of Auckland songwriter finalist Emily Rice

Every year Auckland University hosts a showcase for their talented music students. This year in addition to the five finalists for songwriter of the year there are also categories for best... > Read more

Erina, Central Coast Australia: Bottling up the passion

Erina, Central Coast Australia: Bottling up the passion

When a micro-brewery is called Six String and the company logo is a guitar pick you do feel slightly stupid having to ask. “Ah, that’s my business partner Chris,” says... > Read more