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Solo

Vijay Iyer

Solo

Price: € 22.95
Format: CD
Label: ACT music
UPC: 0614427949721
Catnr: ACT 94972
Release date: 03 September 2010
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Label
ACT music
UPC
0614427949721
Catalogue number
ACT 94972
Release date
03 September 2010

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Slagwerkkrant, 20-9-2012
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About the album

Vijay Iyer is the face of modern jazz. Hardly any other musician of this genre has been more acclaimed in the media recently, or received more important prizes, than the 38-year-old. Iyer graced the headlines of numerous leading specialist magazines worldwide: Downbeat in the USA, Jazzwise in England, Jazzthetik and Jazzpodium in Germany, Concerto in Austria, and Musica Jazz in Italy. His ACT debut, “Historicity” which came out in autumn 2009 – Iyer’s first full album in the classic piano trio format and, at the same time, a profound redefinition of this genre – was named “Jazz Album of the Year” in the most important American daily newspapers: the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Detroit Metro Times, and the Chicago Tribune, as well as on National Public Radio and PopMatters.com. The All Music Guide described “an unbelievable CD,” and it also triumphed in three important international critics polls: “Historicity” was named number one in the Downbeat poll, number two in the Jazz Times Poll after Joe Lovano, and number one in the Village Voice Jazz Critics Poll, beating Lovano and other American jazz stars such as Keith Jarrett. Recently, Iyer has also won Germany’s most important music prize – the ECHO Jazz for the “best international ensemble”. And finally he has received the prestigious American Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Award 2010 as “Musician Of The Year”.

The most surprising thing about this unrivalled success story is that Iyer didn’t make any compromises along the way. The New York pianist and composer concentrates fully on his own musical value system, and any rapprochement to pop or world music appears utterly on his own specific terms. The music of this autodidact pianist-composer has an unrivalled complexity and distinctiveness about it. It baffles, captivates and entices with its highly rigorous yet also seemingly effortless incorporation of very different influences into its sound world, This achievement also reveals a man of great musical wisdom, His academic background does not yield overly scholastic-sounding music; rather, his work displays great breadth, depth, and feeling.

This is impressively revealed anew in his second ACT album, simply called “Solo”, with which Iyer now enters the supreme discipline of jazz piano. It is his first solo album and, fittingly, he dedicates himself to serious reflection. After contemplating temporal and cultural contexts with “Historicity”, with “Solo” he now focuses on the self. “Autoscopy refers to a certain type of ’out-of-body experience’ in which you perceive your actions from outside of (usually above) your body. Playing music occasionally offers that experience. In a different sense, so does making a solo album.” Gesture, character, and disposition come together in this impression of one’s own actions (Iyer uses the term “Hexis,” which means disposition or stance) which conveys, visibly and audibly, the intent which precedes the action.

The disposition, Iyer’s expression, can not only be heard on every piece on the album but, in a magical way, can also be felt. As on “Historicity”, his playing is permeated by the jazz tradition, the technique, disposition and colours as purported beyond the musical notes by Thelonious Monk, Andrew Hill, Randy Weston, Cecil Taylor and Sun Ra (who Iyer also names in his liner notes). Yet these carefully observed influences are only the palette from which Iyer mixes his own new colours. He succeeds in doing this in a fascinating way right at the beginning – in an acknowledgement of one of his firt pop influences, “Human Nature”, the Michael Jackson song composed by Steve Porcaro, is harmonically and rhythmically reinterpreted by Iyer. Two Ellington adaptations are also phenomenal: Iyer revives “Black and Tan Fantasy” from the early Cotton Club period with Bubber Miley’s typical jungle sound almost in the original form in stride and ragtime guise before catapulting it to the modern day. In contrast, the late work “Fleurette Africaine”, provides the dazzling and historic key material for a musical study on origin, foreignness and identity, about mourning and pride – topics which Vijay Iyer, who is of Indian descent, has often examined.

The almost rapturous, nostalgically lingering embrace of standards (“Darn That Dream” is also on the album) perfectly complement Iyer’s own pieces, which are bursting with ideas and colours. Iyer’s spectrum ranges from lyrical to hard-driving (particularly “One For Blount”), from minimalistic to opulent, from consonant to atonal (dominant in “Autoscopy”) and all this is wondrously brought together into a harmonious relationship. “Solo“ is the most striking evidence: the most exciting, pioneering and intelligent sounds to currently come from the piano keys in jazz are associated with the name Vijay Iyer.
  • Iyer, bekend van zijn vorig album Historicity, was genomineerd voor de Paul Acket Award 2010 en speelde op Gent Jazz Festival én North Sea Jazz Festival
  • Vijay Iyer als solopianist heeft diepte, ‘breedte’ en gevoel
  • Iyer haalt zijn inspiratie uit de muziek van Thelonious Monk, Andrew Hill, Randy Weston, Cecil Taylor en Sun Ra, maar deze invloeden zijn slechts het palet van waaruit Iyer zijn eigen nieuwe kleuren mengt en gebruikt
  • Gebaar, karakter en aard komen samen in deze impressie van eigen werk (Iyer gebruikt zelf de term ‘Hexis’) die zowel zichtbaar áls hoorbaar de intentie overbrengt die aan de actie voorafgaat

Artist(s)

Vijay Iyer

'By now, there can be no doubt that pianist-composer Iyer stands among the most daringly original jazz artists of the under-40 generation,' writes Howard Reich in the Chicago Tribune. The American-born son of Indian immigrants, VIJAY IYER (pronounced 'VID-jay EYE-yer') is a self-taught creative musician grounded in American jazz and popular forms, and drawing from a wide range of Western and non-Western traditions. He was described by The Village Voice as 'the most commanding pianist and composer to emerge in recent years,' by The New Yorker as one of 'today's most important pianists... extravagantly gifted,' and by the L.A. Weekly as 'a boundless and deeply important young star.' The breadth and depth of Iyer's recorded output defy any simple description....
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"By now, there can be no doubt that pianist-composer Iyer stands among the most daringly original jazz artists of the under-40 generation," writes Howard Reich in the Chicago Tribune. The American-born son of Indian immigrants, VIJAY IYER (pronounced "VID-jay EYE-yer") is a self-taught creative musician grounded in American jazz and popular forms, and drawing from a wide range of Western and non-Western traditions. He was described by The Village Voice as "the most commanding pianist and composer to emerge in recent years," by The New Yorker as one of "today's most important pianists... extravagantly gifted," and by the L.A. Weekly as "a boundless and deeply important young star." The breadth and depth of Iyer's recorded output defy any simple description. His music has covered so much ground at such a high level of acclaim that it is easy to forget that it all belongs to the same person. Iyer's latest release is Historicity, featuring a surprising set of covers rendered in his signature style in classic piano-trio format. The album has become one of the best-reviewed jazz albums of 2009: "Presto! Here is the great new jazz piano trio." (New York Times) "Truly astonishing... they make challenging music sound immediately enjoyable. " (National Public Radio) "A jewel... 9 out of 10" (PopMatters.com) Over the previous decade, Iyer's celebrated quartet featuring award-winning saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa mined "the magical and murky, imagined interzone, where the music of the Indo-Asian Diaspora meets the Western Jazz tradition... establish[ing] the next extension in both traditions" (All Music Guide). They document "some of the freshest, most compelling jazz today" (NPR) on four critically hailed discs, Panoptic Modes (2001), Blood Sutra (2003), Reimagining (2005), and Tragicomic (2008), each garnering glowing worldwide praise. But alongside these works sit several vastly different, equally important and groundbreaking collaborations. Foremost are In What Language? (2004) and Still Life with Commentator (2007), Iyer's politically searing, stylistically omnivorous large-scale works with poet-performer Mike Ladd ("unfailingly imaginative and significant" - JazzTimes). On another end of the spectrum, Your Life Flashes (2002), Simulated Progress (2005), and Door (2008) capture the innovations of the experimental collective Fieldwork ("phenomenal... incredible, challenging, and forward-thinking" - All Music Guide). And last but not least, Raw Materials (2006, "a total triumph from beginning to end" - All About Jazz) documents "one of the great partnerships in jazz" (Chicago Tribune) - the duo of Iyer and Rudresh Mahanthappa. All of Iyer's albums have appeared on best-of-the-year lists in dozens of major media, ranging from JazzTimes, Jazzwise, Jazzman, Downbeat, and The Wire, to ArtForum, National Public Radio, The Utne Reader, The New Yorker, and The Village Voice. As significant as his recordings have been in the jazz world, Iyer's eclectic accomplishments extend well beyond them. Iyer recently contributed a remix for the reissue of British Asian electronica pioneer Talvin Singh's Mercury Prize-winning OK, and he also created a series of cues for the sports channel ESPN. Iyer's quintet suite Far From Over, commissioned by the 2008 Chicago Jazz Festival and debuted before an audience of 30,000, and was praised in the Chicago Tribune as "making music history... a potential masterpiece... searing, original, and dramatically charged... a shattering, epic composition." His orchestral work Interventions was commissioned and premiered by the American Composers Orchestra in March 2007 under the baton of Dennis Russell Davies. It was praised by The New York Times as "all spiky and sonorous," and by the Philadelphia City Paper for its "heft and dramatic vision and a daring sense of soundscape." Other works include Mutations I-X (2005) commissioned and premiered by the string quartet Ethel; Three Episodes for Wind Quintet (1999) written for Imani Winds; a "ravishing" (Variety) score for the original theater/dance work Betrothed (2007); and the prize-winning score for Teza (2008) by legendary filmmaker Haile Gerima. Across this diverse output, Iyer's artistic vision remains unmistakable. His powerful, cutting-edge music is firmly grounded in groove and pulse, but also rhythmically intricate and highly interactive; fluidly improvisational, yet uncannily orchestrated; emotionally compelling, as well as innovative in texture, style, and musical form. Its many points of reference include jazz piano titans such as Monk, Ellington, Tyner, Alice Coltrane, Andrew Hill, and Randy Weston; the classical sonorities of composers such as Reich, Ligeti, Debussy, and Bartok; the low-end sonics of rock, soul, funk, hip-hop, dub, and electronica; the intricate polyphonies of African drumming; and the vital, hypnotic music of Iyer's Indian heritage. A perennial critical favorite, Iyer has repeatedly won multiple categories of the Downbeat Magazine International Critics' Poll, including Rising Star Jazz Artist (2006, 2007), Rising Star Composer (2006, 2007), and Rising Star Pianist (2009). In the last two years he graced the covers of five music magazines: Downbeat (US), Jazzwise (UK), JazzThetik and JazzPodium (Germany), and Concerto (Austria), and he was previously named Up & Coming Musician of the Year in the Jazz Journalists Association's Annual Jazz Awards. His many other honors include the prestigious 2003 CalArts Alpert Award in the Arts and a 2006 Fellowship in Music Composition from New York Foundation for the Arts. As a composer/performer, Iyer has received commissioning grants from the Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund (2000, 2001, 2005, 2009), the New York State Council on the Arts (2002), Creative Capital Foundation (2002), Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust (2002, 2004), American Composers Forum (2005), Chamber Music America (2005), Meet The Composer (2006), and the Jazz Institute of Chicago (2008). Iyer's major engagements as a composer-performer-bandleader include the Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; The Asia Society, Merkin Hall, Zankel Hall, The Kitchen, and the Lincoln Center Festival in New York City; the Painted Bride Art Center and the Annenberg Center in Philadelphia; the Chicago Jazz Festival and Chicago Symphony Center; the New World Theater at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; the TBA Festival at the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art; the Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater (REDCAT) in Los Angeles; Memorial Hall at UNC Chapel Hill; Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University; the Wexner Center at Ohio State University; The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis; Buffalo's Albright Knox Gallery; the McCarter Theater at Princeton University; the Max M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit; Cal Performances at U.C. Berkeley; and international music festivals around the world. Iyer has joined forces with a wide range of contemporary artists, including Steve Coleman, Roscoe Mitchell, Amiri Baraka, Wadada Leo Smith, Dead Prez, Amina Claudine Myers, Butch Morris, George Lewis, Oliver Lake, Miya Masaoka, Matana Roberts, Trichy Sankaran, Talvin Singh, Pamela Z, Imani Uzuri, Will Power, Suphala, Dafnis Prieto, Burnt Sugar, Karsh Kale, Shujaat Khan, DJ Spooky, High Priest of Antipop Consortium, John Zorn, Bill Morrison, and many others. A polymath whose work has spanned the sciences, arts, and humanities, Iyer holds a B.S. in Mathematics and Physics from Yale College, and a Masters in Physics and an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Technology and the Arts from the University of California at Berkeley. He was chosen as one of nine "Revolutionary Minds" in the science magazine Seed, and his research in music cognition has been featured on the radio programs This Week in Science and Studio 360. A faculty member at New York University and The New School University, he has also given master classes and lectures in composition, improvisation, cognitive science, jazz studies, and performance studies at California Institute of the Arts, Columbia University, Harvard University, Manhattan School of Music, and the School for Improvisational Music, among others. His writings appear in Music Perception, Current Musicology, Journal of Consciousness Studies, Critical Studies in Improvisation, Journal for the Society of American Music, and the edited anthologies Uptown Conversation: The New Jazz Studies (Columbia University Press), Sound Unbound (MIT Press), and Arcana IV (Hips Road). He is a Steinway artist.

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