Jazz-2K: CD Picks of the Week

April 10th, 2012, 3:00 pm by Greg

Reviews by J Hunter

Five sets of new music — and one newly-discovered gold mine — that are (almost) completely piano-centric:

The Vijay Iyer Trio: Accelerando

(ACT Music)
The cute way to describe Vijay Iyer’s music is “math jazz” – partly because the pianist has a degree in mathematics from Yale, but mostly because his music seems to favor the head over the heart. However, the critical phrase in that last sentence is “seems.” Iyer says he experiences music “on a visceral level,” and that makes sense, given the inspiration for “Accelerando” is movement and dance, which can be as visceral as it gets. The bombastic title track is the last movement of a suite Iyer composed for choreographer Karole Armitage, and if you close your eyes, you can see troupes of dancers flying across an imaginary stage to every track on the disc – from the subtly swinging “Wildflower” to Iyer’s frenetic take on Henry Threadgill’s “Little Pocket Size Demons.” This band should be called “the Vijay Iyer Unit,” because the chemistry Iyer shares with bassist Steven Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore is unparalleled, and the music is all the better for it. They even improve on the thoughtful version of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” that Iyer did on his last disc “Solo.” Genius, I tells ya! Genius!

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