17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His Best So Far
Here we have the newest offering from one of jazz music's most creative & original piano trios the Vijay Iyer Trio. Last year their previous trio album Historicity was on many best of lists. The trio features the talents of Marcus Gilmore on drums, one of the most in demand drummers on the modern jazz scene. Gilmore slices & dices the beat with mathematical prowess but...
Published 21 months ago by Jonathan Guarriello
12 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Minority opinion ?
Yes, Vijay Iyer is definitely making a name for himself, and, in general, he deserves it. I enjoyed 'Historicity' and find his cross-cultural efforts at least interesting ('Tirtha'). Several other reviewers have lauded his emphasis on 'tempo' on this album. Indeed, I find that there's enough 'tempo' here to fill several recordings. I listened to this album several times...
Published 15 months ago by T. Evans
Most Helpful First | Newest First
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His Best So Far,
This review is from: Accelerando (MP3 Music)Here we have the newest offering from one of jazz music's most creative & original piano trios the Vijay Iyer Trio. Last year their previous trio album Historicity was on many best of lists. The trio features the talents of Marcus Gilmore on drums, one of the most in demand drummers on the modern jazz scene. Gilmore slices & dices the beat with mathematical prowess but above all makes the music groove. Stephen Crump on acoustic bass is the glue holding it together. On this album Vijay gives the listener his usual singular arrangements of interesting cover material such as Michael Jackson's "Human Nature" which Iyer investigated on his first solo piano albumSolo & Duke Ellington's "The Village of the Virgins" which closes the album on a grooving note. The title track "Accelerando" demonstrates that musical term to a tee using tempo shifts allowing the whole group to slow down & accelerate perfectly in sync with eachother. It makes for some of the coolest piano jazz & ensemble concecpts that I'v ever heard. The music plays almost like a suite each piece moving into the next with a continuos flow. In my opinion this trio has surpassed all their previous efforts with this new release. I also think this is Iyer's most accessible music to date with melody & feel taking top priority within the trio. Also of note is the development of Vijay's piano voice which to my ears has reached a certain maturity which allows him to express whatever emotion he happens to be feeling. If your already a fan of this trio than have no fear & buy this cd. If your looking for a fresh approach to jazz piano than you should check this out.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tempo Creativity at the Frontier,
This review is from: Accelerando (Audio CD)Vijay Iyer's previous albums were opaque to me, but for some reason this album, Accelerando, is accessible, and it captured my interest. In the eclectic selection of tunes and Iyer's own compositions a jaggedness of melody compounded by strong staccato piano strokes emphasize the tempo and measures. The extended bass solo of Stephan Crump in Optimism becomes a crystal on which piano and drums coalesce. Marcus Gilmore's consistent drumming of the following track does create a fascinating epic narration over which Iyer's piano work becomes an anthem. The familiar Porcaro/Bettis tune Human Nature is chopped into various syncopated rhythmic and improvisational sections. The uncultivated randomness of a wildflower is manifested in the performance of the tune of the same name. Track 6, mmmhmm, rests on a pleasnt repeating descending phrase, but the demons of the next track play havoc far too long for my taste. Lude, the next piece, is a relief from the din but bass and drums create a downer sense of foreboding. Iyer's title track would probably make Stravinsky and Thelonious Monk smile with its play of tempo variation. This propulsion continues with Actions Speak (which I presume are louder than words), and it is here that we hear the album's drum solo. The last track is Duke Ellington's obscure work, The Village of the Virgins, which is from his 1970 ballet score, The River. It is taken slow and dignified. Together, the album demonstrates the Vijay Iyer Trio's unique creativity. Their sound, that of the late E.S.T., and the current The Bad Plus are moving jazz into interesting frontiers of the avant-garde. [I dig Anish Kapoor's sculpture on the cover, though I found the e.e. cummings-like absence of capitals throughout the textual notes a tad affected.]
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good modern jazz recording,
This review is from: Accelerando (Audio CD)Not sure why this CD didn't hit other people well, but I think it's great. I suppose one could theoretically level the "math jazz" epithet at this, but I don't hear that at all. I hear three guys that grew up listening to a whole bunch of different genres and folding it all back into a very unique and original group effort. It sounds very modern and free of cliches. But, different strokes, etc. I find it solid.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars INCREDIBLE EXERCISES OF TEMPO,
This review is from: Accelerando (Audio CD)Vijay Iyer is now one of the more interesting pianist in the world. He says that "tempo is measured in beats per minute: time divided by time" and this CD is the demostration of this. The use of different tempos in the same composition is a adventure of sound and life. In flamenco exist one word for this; "compas". Each musician plays at different tempos but the music exist in another space. Stephan Crump at bass a Marcus Gilmore at drums make possible this exercise of creativity . Iyer play and play in different levels and different references. From "Human Nature" to Henry Threadgill or Duke Ellinton or his own composition. Is eloquent how is possible the descostruccion of the song of Mikel Jakson, from melody to simples beats, really incredible . "Accelerando" is a master piece of jazz today, you can feel inside you ,how work music in the time , in our time. Brillant, apasionate, sensory and inexhaustible. Every time you heart the album you can find different things. If you like jazz you must buy this record sure will be one of the best of this 20012.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Jazz with Mind and Heart,
This review is from: Accelerando (Audio CD)Mr Iyer is a unique and intriguing force in and on modern jazz. He synthesizes American jazz tradition with the flavors and colors of India. He is a master of intricate time signatures, complex arrangements, and flowing solo work. I was blessed to see him perform at Dazzle in Denver a few months ago. I was enchanted, as was everyone else, I surmise.
But Iyer's work is not mere "heady jazz." It has a heart and soul and fire permeating the sophistication. Please listen to this man, and be grateful for music from the Muse.
5.0 out of 5 stars relaxing music,
This review is from: Accelerando (Audio CD)This album is exactly what I expected...I love to listen to jazz while doing at home work or reading a book, this fits the bill.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A special evening..!,
This review is from: Accelerando (Audio CD)Vijay was here in Holland last week.
He played with this band in the frame of the Festival November Music. The festival for modern and avantgarde-music. An interesting concert as the first set was done by Vijay with Misha Mengelberg. Duo combination of two masters.
The Wings were set on stage in a nice mirror-setting. As the November Music tries to make interesting impro-combinations between wellknown and upcoming modern music-masters, Vijay was asked who from Holland's musician he would like to play with and there was no long thinking for him needed..: One of the foundingfathers of modern Jazz; Misha Mengelberg!
So, Misha came walking-in at exact 20.00, that's his style, too late or exactly in time, had to be helped on stage because he becomes frail of body, but was clearly strong of mind and from beginning showed a remarcable souplesse of hands and playing.. Vijay came rushing in trough the stagedoor and made a clearly respectfull aproach to Misha: Somewthing like "what and how would you like us to play, maestro?"he softly asked. Misha, allways a joker and loving to make anarchistic music and stagework, (for him a concert is started from his coming-in) replied with something sounding like; "dada di doedoe" and asked him how many people there were in the audience,
(Loveley place; De Toonzaal, small former synagog and still filled with a nice religious-devotive cloud under the ceiling and with a very fine tone in the acoustics) and Vijay answered after just one look around '107'..
(He forgot the upper balcony, but still,.. clearly a fast counter!)
The gentlemen started to play. Misha with that typical craw-like posture; one shoulder up. Vijay with his arms hands and shoulders wide. Listening-in, both new to eachother, but then the routine, talents and experience started to give openings and spaces. From open impro and a first show of skill from the side of Vijay, answered by depowering tripletones and upbuilding basesounds, a windy, sensitive and far-away-bluesy sound-image came rolling-in.. Bewitching beauty to hear with eyes closed, Second part of that set gave a bit more power, but both stayed within reachable soundstructures and I loved it !!
Think this was a unique thing. Probably a once-in-a-lifetime thing, these 2 artists together, this encounter. Think Vijay draught it in like a sponge !
For us, the audience, it was feeling like having been on a lucky moment in the right place !
-After about 45 minutes of spell, Misha and Vijay left the stage, a five minutes-change for resetting and to move one wing away and then immidiately a second set with the Trio started.. The first two numbers were in a bit of hessitation, as if Vijay was still a bit impressed of what had just happened, but then his bandmembers pulled him in into the incredible rythm-thing and interplay that they are specialists in. From there the underdrone of Vijay and the superclear drumming of Marcus Gilmore, based by Stephan Crump, (playing on a very special huge-violin-shaped acoustic doublebass, his own?, delivered for the concert? Good tone!)took over. Nice sound when he plays it with the bow, gave a good solo..
Good concert. Quite powerfull and here and there nicely showing a bit of concentrated softness. Marcus is clearly a very talented drummer.. Hear and see how easy and relaxed he takes all these rythmic corners, accelarations and snake-corners..!!
Have seen Vijay solo, in several Indian-influenced concerts, with Mahanthappa and with this trio. All different due to personell and influences, all showing aspects. I hear his search and enjoy his caracteristics. Now am curious how these all parts of his playing, still approached separately, will become to melt..
There was a small suite in this concert that was very interesting and a composition
for a dance-performance.. All things that point into new directions still to be explored.. Yes, there is clearly more to come. But.. Would love it to see some more live-recordings of Vijay and his music-mates coming-out. Notice time after time, though good, how clean the sound on his CD's compared to the less buttonned purity of the Live-performances..
Had to run out of this show before the last number to my next scheduled festival-concert because once the doors are closed in this festival..;they are not opened for late comers..(Jazzgroup Octurn with Gyuto Monks in another location, was there just in time!)... Vijay generously took another hour and more for this concert with his band as he was clearly filled with joy-energy after that Misha-encounter!!
12 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Minority opinion ?,
This review is from: Accelerando (Audio CD)Yes, Vijay Iyer is definitely making a name for himself, and, in general, he deserves it. I enjoyed 'Historicity' and find his cross-cultural efforts at least interesting ('Tirtha'). Several other reviewers have lauded his emphasis on 'tempo' on this album. Indeed, I find that there's enough 'tempo' here to fill several recordings. I listened to this album several times convinced I was missing something but I still found the drumming/percussion and the bass work monotonous and mechanical. There are occasional glimpses of Vijay's creative genius here but I just didn't find the overall effort satisfying. Musicians need to experiment, of course, and I am definitely eager to see where Vijay Iyer's vision takes him. This 'experiment', however, just didn't succeed for me.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing,
This review is from: Accelerando (Audio CD)After reading many jazz blogs and reviews recommending this album, I purchased this.
I am a jazz lover who keeps an open mind to new ideas - heck, I fell in love with Don Ellis' music while in high school.
This music is mostly self-indulgent meanderings that go no where. There is no sense of improvising toward a goal - no creating a melody, no taking the chord changes or scales and seeing where they go.
There a LOT of notes - the drummer plays a lot of notes on different drums, cymbals, etc., but they overpower the music rather than fit within the music. Similarly, Iyer plays a lot of notes but they don't really go anywhere.
Oscar Peterson played a lot of notes - they fit somewhere, though, but the critics thought HE was being self-indulgent.
Lester Young is famously credited with asking a young sax player who had blown several choruses of frenetic bebop at him, "Pretty good - but can you tell me a story?" Iyer needs to learn this lesson.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent,
This review is from: Accelerando (Audio CD)I hate to fall in line with everybody else - but this is highly recommended. This will be one of the classics from the early 21st century.
Most Helpful First | Newest First