Release Date: Sep 14, 2010
Record label: Act Music + Vision
Genre(s): Jazz, Pop/Rock, Piano Jazz, Jazz Instrument
Jazz still has rites of passage. Tenor saxophonists, eventually, have to record “Body and Soul”. Hawkins did it, and eventually they have to do it. Their own way, sure, but do it they practically must. For jazz pianists, the historical hurdle is a program of solo piano. The point is not to be ….
Pianist Vijay Iyer's wealth of traditional jazz experience might not always be apparent in the organised, intricate contemporary music he plays with his own groups. But the pianist is likely to widen his audience as well as surprising his regulars by the inclusion here of Duke Ellington's Black and Tan Fantasy (played with much of its traditional 1920s strut) and an account of the standard Darn That Dream. Iyer structures this programme cannily, beginning with an inviting interpretation of the pop ballad Human Nature, unfolding over a rocking left-hand vamp and briefly darkening into a hypnotic drone.
Vijay Iyer is, simply put, one of the most interesting and vital young pianists in jazz today. His 15-year recording career has found him equally at home as a leader and collaborator. He's a member of Fieldwork, has worked with hip-hop producer Mike Ladd and innovative saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, he's been involved with members of the M-Base improvisation collective and written orchestral works-- he's even on the new Das Racist mixtape (he co-produced the hidden track, "Free Jazzmataz").
Vijay Iyer's first solo album is structured in three movements, not unlike a recital. It begins with four interpretations -- the pop song "Human Nature," which was introduced into jazz by Miles Davis in 1985; Thelonious Monk's "Epistrophy"; the standard "Darn That Dream"; and Duke Ellington's "Black and Tan Fantasy. " These are followed by four interlocking Iyer compositions, which are in turn succeeded by the album's third movement, a stretch that includes a version of Steve Coleman's (Iyer's former boss and mentor) "Games," another Ellington track ("Fleurette Africaine") and one final original: "One for Blount," a dedication to Sun Ra.
The pianist, both disciple and unruly pupil of Monk, relishes flying solo. Phil Smith 2010 The solo studio album has become a rite of passage in the jazz pianist’s recording career, ever since big band and then bebop brought combo playing to the fore. Thelonious Monk, Andrew Hill and Cecil Taylor – to name but three of the idiom’s outstanding solitary improvisers – had a dozen ensemble recordings under their variously-sized belts before going solo.
SARA BAREILLES “Kaleidoscope Heart” (Epic). Heartache is no match for show-tune pizazz on “Kaleidoscope Heart,” the second album by the songwriter Sara Bareilles. Pumping piano chords and cheerful insubordination (along with promotion via television commercial) gave Ms. Bareilles a ….