Vijay Iyer Trio – Accelerando

January 01, 1970



concept of jazz as dance music is as old as the genre itself. From the hot
stepping of the 20’s flapper era to the sprouting of be-bop from swing to its
modern day incorporations of IDM, drum ‘n’ bass, hip-hop and jungle into its
creative vortex, the kinetics of rhythm in the context of the art’s proclivity
for improvisation is proof positive that jazz is as much about the body as it
is the mind.


it is that train of thought propelling the latest full-length from the
Grammy-nominated Vijay Iyer Trio. Across an 11-song, one hour long journey, the
Rochester, NY-born son of Indian immigrants utilizes his Ph.D. in music science
from UC Berkeley to deliver his own thesis statement on the subject through an
improvised menagerie of original compositions and beautifully interpretive
cover tunes with ample backing from his longtime rhythm section of bassist
Stephen Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore (grandson of the great jazz
percussionist Roy Haynes). The piano man and his trio dissect the polymath of
pulse through inventive versions of material from artists as diverse as Michael
Jackson (the “trio extension” of “Human Nature”, originally featured on his 2009
Solo LP), Coltrane family progeny
Flying Lotus (“mmmhmmm”), AACM art bop great Henry Threadgill (“Little Pocket
Size Demons”) and Duke Ellington (going deep into the outer reaches of his
catalog by selecting the beautiful ballad “Village of the Virgins” from the
maestro’s 1970 ballet The River).


in between the renditions throughout the course of Accelerando (which means “speeding up” in Italian) are five
outstanding Iyer-penned performances, namely the visceral workout “Optimist”
and the album’s sprawling title cut, which got its start as the final movement
of a suite the pianist penned for choreographer Karole Armitage’s Un-Easy dance recital in Central Park
during the summer of 2011.


Accelerando, the Vijay Iyer Trio
ingeniously make the case that, whether its in the context of ballet, R&B,
interpretive, avant-garde, funk or abstract hip-hop, the rhythm and groove
embedded within the infrastructure of jazz music is just as detrimental to its
continued growth over the course of these last 100-odd years as its
technicality, musicianship and sense of individuality.


DOWNLOAD: “Human Nature”, “mmmhmmm”,
“Optimist” RON HART






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