Tag Archives: vijay iyer

Vijay Iyer Trio @ Jazz Standard Through Sunday


The celebrated pianist leads a band that generates marvelous moments as a matter of course. Iyer’s unique design sense always finds novel ways for their interactions to be rendered, so flourishes may be whispered and hip-hop beats may swing like some Philly Joe Jones groove. His scope of inclusion includes art and pop, meaning Michael Jackson, Flying Lotus, Henry Threadgill and Duke Ellington pieces are likely to surface between the craggy and provocative originals. Their mighty Accelerando was 2012’s consensus album among critics – long story short, this is the piano trio to beat right now. In a cozy room like the Standard, they’ll truly rattle a few minds. Keep your ears on the rhythm section of bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore, they’re constantly feeding the boss a stream of implosive ideas. 

Jazz Standard

Forget 10, Here’s 20 (Best Jazz Albums of 2012)


1. Brad Mehldau Trio – Ode  (Nonesuch)

2. John Abercrombie –  Within A Song   (ECM)

3. Kris Davis – Aeriol Piano   (Clean Feed)

4. Ravi Coltrane – Spirit Fiction     (Blue Note)

5. Luciana Souza  – Duo III   (Sunnyside)

6. Paradoxical Frog – Union   (Clean Feed)

7. Ahmad Jamal  –  Blue Moon     (Jazz Village)

8. Billy Hart – All Our Reasons   (ECM)

9. Tim Berne – Snakeoil    (ECM)

10. Orrin Evans – Flip The Script     (Posi-Tone)

11. Ryan Truesdell – Centennial: Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans  (ArtistShare)

12. David Virelles – Continuum  (Pi) 

13. Vijay Iyer Trio – Accelerando (ACT)

14. Neneh Cherry & The Thing – The Cherry Thing  (Smalltown Supersound)

15. Mary Halvorson – Bending Bridges   (Firehouse 12) 

16. Masabumi Kikuchi – Sunrise  (ECM)

17. Jon Irabagon’s Outright!  – Unhinged  (Irabbagast)

18. Darius Jones Quartet – Book of Mae’Bull  (AUM Fidelity)

19. Steve Lehman Trio – Dialect Florescent (Pi)

20. Frank Kimbrough Trio – Live At Kitano (Palmetto)

Don’t go thinking this list in any hierarchical order – Brad’s not top and Frank’s not bottom. 





Caetano Veloso & David Byrne Live At Carnegie Hall (Nonesuch)

Eric Church “Drink In My Hand” 

Steve Lacy Five: Blinks…Zurich Live 1983 (hatology)

Tyga “Rack City”

Vijay Iyer Trio Accelerando (ACT)

Skrillex “Bangarang” 

Johnathan Blake The Eleventh Hour (Sunnyside)

Janine Nichols & Semi Free First Ones (J9)

Loudon Wainwright III “Tip That Waitress” (Virgin) 

Luis Perdomo Universal Mind (RKM) 

Procol Harum Shine On Brightly (A&M)

Blue Cranes Observatories (BCM)

Thundercat Golden Age of the Apocalypse (Brainfeeder)

Esperanza Spalding Radio Music Society (Heads Up) 

Weather Report “Jungle Book” 

This Week’s Jazz Internet Wrap-Up

Esperanza Spalding got nudged further into the mainstream by earning herself a sizable chunk of real estate in the NY Times Fashion supplement, T. What’s it like to rock a $14K de la Renta?

NPR helped Bernie Worrell funk his way through “All The Things You Are.” What would Bird say?

Pi Recordings got a well-deserved moment in the sun with a Times biz profile. If it ever goes sour for Yulun and Seth, they could perhaps sell their entire imprint on Craig’s List, like Black Jazz was trying to do. Nate offered a little Pi interview lagniappe on his blog.

Speaking of Pi, Fieldwork (Iyer/Lehman/Sorey) packed The Stone for four sets. Told you they’d be good. Don’t miss Liberty Ellman on Saturday.

Darcy James Argue launched the site for Brooklyn Babylon, his multi-media collaboration with visual artist Danijel Zezelj. It unites projected animation, live painting, and an original score performed by Argue’s ever-impressive big band, Secret Society.

A Blog Supreme reported on the Jazz Audience Initiative’s provocative finding about the demographics of jazz ticket-buyers. Kids & kash are the koncerns.

Chris Barton says that the Joni/jazz affair in L.A. was a success in the large. I would like to have seen Kurt Elling bounce through “The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines.”

Jason Crane’s 301st Jazz Session show connected with the inimitable Jamie Saft, who explained his ravishing New Zion Trio disc, working with Zorn, and getting a great sound in the studio. No mention of Spanish Donkey‘s disturbing grandeur Here’s a chunk of their world debut.

Kurt Gottschalk threw us to Dangerous Minds who threw us to a very cool, and very percussive, Sun Ra clip.

Herbie Hancock announced a solo tour, featuring both electric and acoustic keybs. In a new interview, he recalls when Miles made him take up the Rhodes.

The Voice interviewed Jenny Scheinman about her Mischief & Mayhem group, and she told ’em about feathers falling out of the sky. I went to the show and clocked these three high points. Josh Jackson and company went to the show and brought it to the planet in real time (and archived time). Fred Kaplan went as well; seems he truly enjoyed himself.

In the midst of what’s been kinda/sorta deemed a vibraphone resurgence, Roy Ayers talked about Lionel Hampton. And in the midst of mucho pop competition, Christian McBride’s big band disc was the only jazz title to be included in Billboard’s Fall Album Preview.

Nate Chinen guided us in the right direction vis a vis New York jazz options during the next seven days.  He also reflected on some of the music that changed his life.

@peterhum found a restaurant called Thelonious Monkfish and @destinationout and others messed around with the #jazzrestaurants meme for a bit. A certain gentleman might have won with “Lenny White Castle.”

A new short-form documentary about David S. Ware was announced. “I work on concepts,” says the saxophonist. He also plays “My Ship” quite nicely. Doc hits  right here on August 30. New solo disc Organica, comes out on AUM Fidelity on October 25.

Terrell Stafford was applauded by his Temple bosses for helping kids on the edjumacation trip. A simple spin through this baby right here would teach young trumpeters a thing or two as well.

David Amram talked about French horn, pennywhistle and poetry. Speaking of poetry, Crane was inspired by Cervini.

We were reminded of the precious little time left for the streaming of the Robert Glasper /Darcy James Argue show. And there’s only 10 days left to get Steve Swell’s latest project off the ground.

Tom Hull applied a grade to a long list of new discs. I agree with him on the Eliane Elias title (not the “pale and purple” part, the guitar and percussionist part), but I would have nudged Chris Dingman’s disc a tad higher. Phil Freeman scrutinized the SFE’s extended work on Clean Feed, Positions & Descriptions.

@geniusbastard reminded his twitter stream that Kind of Blue dropped on August 17.  I played “Blue In Green” for the 12,134th time, and asked people to weigh in on their favorite moments from the disc.

Destination Out dropped some rare Jeanne Lee into our pockets. You do know they have tons of great FMP titles, right?

Jazz Times had Randy Brecker choose 10 key Lee Morgan tracks. Yep, he chose a Beatles tune.

Ted Gioia reminded us about Mingus’ thoughts on cat poop. Eat that chicken?

Mike Pride’s new edition of From Bacteria To Boys got a pat on the back from the Times.

Nat Hentoff talked BeanTown roots in Jazz Times.

Bruce Forman knows how to substitute a chord and how to twirl a lasso. Wonder if Bucky Pizzerelli can handle a six-shooter? We know these guys can.

McCoy Tyner was reported to be returning to Cape Town. After playing the NYC Blue Note, of course.

The Konceptions series at Korzo in Brooklyn kept on being excellent.

Red Barat’s “Chaal Baby” is used as the music bed in the new season of Its’ Always Sunny in Philadelphia promo clip.

The Monk Institute stressed their upcoming bash. All hail Aretha! This San Diego piano whiz is involved. Speaking of young talents

Eugene Holly wrote up the Mosaic MJQ box. Mr Whitehead had something to say about it recently, too.

Larry Applebaum gave Gretchen Parlato a run around the course. She did just fine. Howard Reich went to see Donald Harrison mess around with Bird. He did just fine.

Terence Blanchard talked Spike Lee and Clifford Brown. And then he told the L.A. Weekly his five fave film soundtracks. Can you guess the top dog?

Improvisers from the Pine Tree State brought Ellington to the hinterland. Maybe Bill McHenry will work some Duke into the set when he plays at the Barncastle, in Blue Hills, Maine, tonight. He’s joined by RJ Miller and fried shrimp addict, Jamie Saft. Did they get free rooms?

Ted Panken celebrated Mal Waldron’s birthday by sharing archival interviews. The beauty of the pianist’s music piqued Hank Shteamer’s interest and he evoked Ethan Iverson’s poetic investigation of his hero’s work. Here’s  one by Mal I’ve always liked.

Ian Patterson dug deep into trumpeter Cuong Vu. He asked about Pat Metheny, but not about that Jackson Browne cover.

I dropped a stream of Bill Frisell doing “Revolution” from the upcoming All We Are Saying. I also spent time having AccuJazz’s AACM channel wash over me. I forgot that they can claim two Mitchells.

George Colligan reflected on working with Gary Bartz.  Earlier in the summer an elated Bill Frisell, part of McCoy Tyner’s ensemble that particular week, said to me, “I get to work with Gary Bartz!!”

Alex W. Rodriguez put his writing career on hold and ponders how the jazz corner of Blogville has changed in the last two years.

Nicolas Payton wanted us to watch Miles having it out with Harry Reasoner. Harry: “Are you anti-white?” Miles: “Not all the time.”

176 Keys In Action

I visited Ahmad Jamal’s New England home about a year ago, and the two Steinways spooning together in his music room (a sizable space with a barn-like vibe) started me thinking of pianists who the maestro could invite over for a duet session. The dream candidates are many. Barry Harris, Kenny Barron, Anthony Davis, and why not Cecil himself (anyone got a copy of the dual interview I did with Taylor and Jamal back in the late 80s? I can’t find mine.) From Hank Jones hooking up with John Lewis, to Muhal Abrams and Amina Myers finding their way “Down the Street From The Gene Ammons Public School,” twin keyb dates are a hoot.

One of the more fascinating shows taking place this weekend is the Vijay Iyer/Craig Taborn confab at Columbia’s Miller Theater on Saturday night. It’s entitled “Radically Unfinished.” Iyer’s latest solo affair is place to absorb lots of smarts, and I witnessed Taborn romping through a jaw-dropping at Brooklyn’s iBeam a couple months ago. Their unity should be provocative. They were on WNYC’s “Soundcheck” yesterday. Here are the appetizers they offered.

Everybody’s Heard About the Bird…

The summer always fades away on a strong note for jazz buffs in proximity of NYC. At the annual Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, audiences uptown and down think of Bird and absorb inter-generational programs that illustrate how far the music’s come. This year the whomp of McCoy Tyner’s piano, the whisper of Jimmy Scott’s vocals, and the wiles of Jason Moran’s Bandwagon interplay (Nasheet Waits!!) mark the Harlem happening. On the Loisaida, the designated veteran is the ingenious James Moody (check “Along Came Betty” from that 4B joint), the riveting Vijay Iyer Trio (kinetics as swing, lyricism as raison d’etre), the seductive Catherine Russell (who gets extra points for informality masking depth), and the never-not-fierce JD Allen Trio (they recently stood a Newport audience on its head). The whole thing is free, too.

Saturday, August 28: Marcus Garvey Park  Mount Morris Park West between 121st and 123rd streets.
Sunday, August 29: Tompkins Square Park   500 East 9th Street.
3 pm both days.  212-360-2777

I, Jukebox

Nels Cline, Dirty Baby (Crytogramophone)

Avishai Cohen, Tirveni (Anzic)

Tom T. Hall, Places I’ve Done Time (Universal)

Mike Pride’s From Bacteria To Boys, Betweenwhile (AUM)

Nicholas Urie, Excerpts from An Online Dating Service (Red Piano)

John Hebert, Byzantine Monkey (Firehouse 12)

That Old Shit, Man, Fantastic!

It’s a blast to hear Anthony Coleman romp through Jellyroll Morton. A few years ago, just after the 53-year-old pianist with the modernist tendencies began essaying the New Orleans master, I chatted with him about the music’s impact on contemporary ears and the character of the iconic composer himself. Below are some snippets. Coleman takes to the 88s at Barbes on Sunday night, part of the Carefusion Jazz Fest.


Several years ago, in Brussels, [where someone was curating a program of] new people playing old stuff. They asked me to do Morton and James P. Johnson. I realized that if I played parties or benefits, it would be interesting [to know these pieces] – different than what people would expect I’d play. But after doing a whole evening of it, I thought, “This sucks, if I’m going to do this, I need to do it properly, really well.”


When I was young, I was very canonical. I explored the whole pianist/composer thing thoroughly before I was 18. Knowing some of this other stuff drew me to Jaki Byard, and I began to study with him.


He let’s syncopation tell the story. He doesn’t do that much about “getting hot.” He cares about dynamics a lot, but he’s very involved with understanding the rhythmic elements that do or don’t make something swing. And he calibrates the syncopation; they go in a certain line – it’s something very consistent in his music. Check “Hyena Stomp” on Library of Congress. Each time he goes around, he stresses more of the elements that make jazz jazz. Check “Froggie Moore.” You can see he’s a serious theorist. Ellington did lots of things with color, gesture, and register. Morton has no extravagance, in a way. When you think about what people listen to for pleasure, I haven’t known too many people who are into Morton. And its because he lacks color and extravagance. He’s kind of austere. When he uses humor, he’s so NOT funny. There’s a quality of joy in Armstrong, Ellington, Waller. There, the joy is palpable. When Morton tries that, it comes out with the false gaiety of a carnival or sickly, like a failed vaudeville routine.

I’m getting off on all the elements, it’s a whole geschalt. They move so logically, and they’re swinging. But they’re also conservative. When the right hand is going and the left hand is going, it feels like a whole marching band in one piano. But the mechanics are only one of many elements that draw me to him. One of the statements about jazz that influenced me the most was when Albert Ayler said that he jumped from Sidney Bechet to free jazz – that bebop was not interesting to him. He made that connection between the ‘20s and free jazz, which is a connection that’s always meant a lot to me.

People love it. I don’t think about which part of Morton is emotional and which is intellectual, but I do know the audience loves it. They go nuts for it, in fact. But Morton is tough. If you get him you get him. If you don’t you don’t. I love it all. The WORST Morton record I love. If you’re playing very modern or post-modern thing, and then you play something from the 20s, it’s almost a no brainer that the audience is going to go wild. “Hey, he plays that old shit, man, fantastic!” You don’t even have to play it well. My problem is that I hate revival jazz. I come to Morton out of loving him for 35 years and wanting to do him justice. And by the end of it, it’s going to take me…I don’t know where. It’s already taken me to piano lessons again – first time since I was a kid. Wow. I just want to be able to inhabit the music more objectively, like a classical interpreter does.

Here’s the other pianist to see this weekend. They were crackling the other night.

Vijay Iyer: Historicity On Stage

There’s no maybe about it. Vijay Iyer‘s Historicity is going to show up on several “best of 2009” lists. Why not spend the afternoon with it? But absorbing the music on the bandstand is always the way to go if possible, and those close to New York’s Jazz Standard should put some energy into catching the pianist’s final show there this evening.

Here’s my Voice blab.

Here’s the Iyer trio rocking Newport in the summer of 2009.

Here he is chatting with WNYC’s Soundcheck, and playing “Big Brother” and “Mystic Brew”