May 2017 Jazz Concert: Vijay Iyer at Village Vanguard

May 2017 Jazz Concert: Vijay Iyer Trio at Village Vanguard

May 2017 Jazz Concert: Vijay Iyer Trio at Village Vanguard
Vijay Iyer; credit Jimmy Katz

Listening to jazz music at Village Vanguard, a celebrated New York jazz spot, is part of a sacred ritual for music fans. This week the club is hosting Vijay Iyer Trio from May 9 to May 14.  Iyer’s trio (Iyer, piano; Marcus Gilmore, drums; Stephan Crump, bass) is particularly famous for its albums Accelerando(2012) and Historicity (2009). Accelerando was voted #1 Jazz Album of the Year for 2012 by three separate critics polls at DownBeat, Jazz Times, and Rhapsody.

The concert at the Village Vanguard starts with simple introduction of the musicians by Iyer with a compulsory explanation of the pronunciation of Iyer’s name. It then gets into continuous musical journey seemingly uninterrupted and fluid. It feels that one tune smoothly leads to the next like sea waves so the audience is getting deep into the sound. The musicians’ high calibre is in full view. There is no solos per se as the band improvises together.

Iyer was interested in music from his childhood playing in school orchestra and continuing performing when studying at Yale University which he graduated with a degree in Physics and Mathematics. He then pursued his scientific and musical exploration at the University of California at Berkeley getting a Ph. D. in the cognitive science of music. In addition to performing and writing his own compositions, he is the Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts at Harvard University. Before Harvard University he was teaching at Manhattan School of Music, NYU and The New School. Iyer started playing professionally with Steve Coleman, a bandleader and a saxophone player back when he was still at Berkeley.

In talking to Oberlin Review at the time of a Master program there at Oberlin Conservatory in April 2017, he stressed the importance of keeping the music within “the living context” and for the artists to think broadly about the world and their responsibility in serving it.

Vijay Iyer, a 2013 McArthur Fellow, had been “the most lauded piano player in jazz” according to The New Yorker profile in February 1, 2016 issue. It is quite interesting that in that same profile the fact that Iyer until then was not invited to play at Village Vanguard was brought up. The record is corrected now.

Tickets can be booked here.

Venue: Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Avenue, NY                           Dates: May 9 – 14, 2017 at 8.30pm and 10.30pm