sun 30/04/2017

CD: Vijay Iyer Trio - Accelerando | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Vijay Iyer Trio - Accelerando

CD: Vijay Iyer Trio - Accelerando

Trio take their rhythmic concept and sense of textural detail to the next level

Listening to Accelerando, you hear a trio that is now completely inside the music
The striking cover of Vijay Iyer's 'Accelerando': Anish Kapoor's 'Mother as a Mountain' (1985)

Nobody could ever accuse pianist Vijay Iyer of having narrow tastes. This highly anticipated follow-up to his award-winning 2009 album, Historicity, runs the gamut from Heatwave's über-smooth slow jam, “The Star of the Story”, to the tricky contrapuntal games of Henry Threadgill's “Little Pocket Size Demons”. In the two and a half years since the making of Historicity the trio has been on the road pretty much constantly, and you sense from the very opening bars of Iyer's self-penned “Bode” an even more refined rhythmic concept, a greater attention to textural detail, and a more intense attack.

These traits are brought into perfect alignment in the hard-edged and starkly beautiful title track, with Iyer carving out huge harmonic slabs on the piano, underpinned by the powerful support of bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore. The focus also shifts subtly from the individual solo to what Iyer refers to as a “collective energy and momentum”, so when Gilmore (a grandson of the legendary Roy Haynes) does get to solo midway through the breathless “Actions Speak” it compels you to sit up and listen.

Reviewing Iyer's trio gig at the 2010 Copenhagen Jazz Festival, I wrote that their take on the Michael Jackson ballad, “Human Nature”, possessed such startling originality that you felt brainier just having listened to it. This impression is strongly reinforced by the mini-epic recorded here. Signing off with a cover of Duke Ellington's “The Village of the Virgins” (from his 1970 ballet The River), the pianist sets himself quite a challenge in stripping down its orchestral textures to a trio setting, but the almost hymnic simplicity he achieves imbues it with an entirely different character. Listening to Accelerando, you hear a trio that is now completely inside the music. 

Watch the Vijay Iyer Trio perform "Actions Speak"

 

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