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Accelerando

4.1 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Accelerando sees Vijay Iyer and his telepathic trio
mates bassist Stephen Crump and drummer
Marcus Gilmore light up material that ranges
from a brace of bold originals and pieces by great
jazz composers to surprising interpretations of
vintage pop and funk tunes.

Review

Winner in five categories in the 60th Annual (2012) DownBeat Magazine Critics Poll.
#1 Jazz Artist
#1 Pianist
#1 Jazz Album
#1 Jazz Group
#1 Rising Star Composer --DownBeat Magazine (8/12 issue)

It's been three years since Stephan Crump, Marcus Gilmore, and Vijay Iyer made a record together, and in that time, the trio's headliner, Iyer, has clawed his way across the keyboard to a pretty exalted place within the jazz world. He's still working hard, but he's about done paying dues, and he makes magazine covers and the top of year-end lists routinely. The man is one of the best in the world at what he does, and he has one of the finest piano sounds, too, mixing big sheets of sound with blood-rush passages of intricate staccato patterns; he also frequently puts the real action in the left hand while the right holds down the harmonic fort, giving him a thundering, heavy sound when he wants it.



Iyer seems to like the trio format-- he cut a great trio record called Tirtha last year with two musicians originally from India, guitarist Prasanna and tablaist Nitin Mitta-- and he sounds very good in a small combo setting, where he gets to ride or at least hit back at a rhythm section, but also gets to handle the melody. Accelerando is his hardest-hitting trio album yet, loaded as it is with compact, forceful pieces of music. Iyer's own production gives a lot of stereo real estate to Gilmore's kick drum and Crump's bass, meaning that every fast, hard passage hits with a bang, and the quieter, sparser sections, such as the tumbling melodic hook of their version of Michael Jackson's Human Nature (which Iyer tackled on his own two years ago on Solo), feel lighter than air by comparison.



The closing interpretation of Duke Ellington's The Village of the Virgins, which the group infuses with a sort of gospel energy, is one of those lighter moments, and when it arrives, it feels as though the band is dusting all those aggressive block chords and tone clouds off of itself and readying for the next challenge. That aggressive stuff is fantastic, though. (a Flying Lotus cover) hangs together loosely as it flies along, and it doesn't even bother with a bassline-- Crump instead plays arco, bowing patterns and melodic answering statements on his bass. The song features an accelerando in the true meaning of the musical term, beginning slow and moody and gradually speeding up until it sounds like even the piano is out of breath.



The word that keeps coming to mind as I listen to this album over and over again (and then again) is power. Everything about it projects power-- emotional power, the power of brute physical force, musical power. It runs on every available cylinder, and if you're out there looking for a path into modern jazz from the world of rock or hip-hop, this record speaks with a directness and verve that may make it an ideal introduction. From the first shudder of the keyboard and crack of drums to that last, celebratory walk through the village of the virgins, Iyer, Crump and Gilmore keep things spellbinding. By Joe Tangari --Pitchfork

The great new jazz piano trio. --New York Times

Truly astonishing ... they make challenging music
sound immediately enjoyable. --Npr

A jewel. --PopMatters (9/10)

A jewel. --PopMatters (9/10)

a terrific trio recording... ingenious... 4 1/2 STARS --DownBeat Magazine (4/12 issue)

It's been three years since Stephan Crump, Marcus Gilmore, and Vijay Iyer made a record together, and in that time, the trio's headliner, Iyer, has clawed his way across the keyboard to a pretty exalted place within the jazz world. He's still working hard, but he's about done paying dues, and he makes magazine covers and the top of year-end lists routinely. The man is one of the best in the --DownBeat Magazine (4/12 issue)

It's been three years since Stephan Crump, Marcus Gilmore, and Vijay Iyer made a record together, and in that time, the trio's headliner, Iyer, has clawed his way across the keyboard to a pretty exalted place within the jazz world. He's still working hard, but he's about done paying dues, and he makes magazine covers and the top of year-end lists routinely. The man is one of the best in the world at what he does, and he has one of the finest piano sounds, too, mixing big sheets of sound with blood-rush passages of intricate staccato patterns; he also frequently puts the real action in the left hand while the right holds down the harmonic fort, giving him a thundering, heavy sound when he wants it.



Iyer seems to like the trio format-- he cut a great trio record called Tirtha last year with two musicians originally from India, guitarist Prasanna and tablaist Nitin Mitta-- and he sounds very good in a small combo setting, where he gets to ride or at least hit back at a rhythm section, but also gets to handle the melody. Accelerando is his hardest-hitting trio album yet, loaded as it is with compact, forceful pieces of music. Iyer's own production gives a lot of stereo real estate to Gilmore's kick drum and Crump's bass, meaning that every fast, hard passage hits with a bang, and the quieter, sparser sections, such as the tumbling melodic hook of their version of Michael Jackson's Human Nature (which Iyer tackled on his own two years ago on Solo), feel lighter than air by comparison.



The closing interpretation of Duke Ellington's The Village of the Virgins, which the group infuses with a sort of gospel energy, is one of those lighter moments, and when it arrives, it feels as though the band is dusting all those aggressive block chords and tone clouds off of itself and readying for the next challenge. That aggressive stuff is fantastic, though. (a Flying Lotus cover) hangs together loosely as it flies along, and it doesn't even bother with a bassline-- Crump instead plays arco, bowing patterns and melodic answering statements on his bass. The song features an accelerando in the true meaning of the musical term, beginning slow and moody and gradually speeding up until it sounds like even the piano is out of breath.



The word that keeps coming to mind as I listen to this album over and over again (and then again) is power. Everything about it projects power-- emotional power, the power of brute physical force, musical power. It runs on every available cylinder, and if you're out there looking for a path into modern jazz from the world of rock or hip-hop, this record speaks with a directness and verve that may make it an ideal introduction. From the first shudder of the keyboard and crack of drums to that last, celebratory walk through the village of the virgins, Iyer, Crump and Gilmore keep things spellbinding. By Joe Tangari --Pitchfork

The great new jazz piano trio. --New York Times

Truly astonishing ... they make challenging music
sound immediately enjoyable. --Npr

A jewel. --PopMatters (9/10)

A jewel. --PopMatters (9/10)

a terrific trio recording... ingenious... 4 1/2 STARS --DownBeat Magazine (4/12 issue)
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 13, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Act Music & Vision
  • ASIN: B006G0XDSO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,520 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
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.
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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.]
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Vijay Iyer (piano), Marcus Gilmore (drums), and Stephan Crump (bass) here follow up the great 2009 album Historicity with an even better album in the same vein. ACCELERANDO deserved every award it won for 2012 jazz -- it is another exciting rhythmic blend of modern jazz classics (Henry Threadgill, Herbie Nichols), the lovely Duke Elllington ballad "The Village of the Virgins," catchy melodic pop songs (Rod Temperton/Heatwave, Steve Ellison/Flying Lotus, Porcaro-Bettis/Michael Jackson), and Iyer originals. (Iyer quotes "Cool" from West Side Story by Bernstein/Sondheim in his solo in "Optimism.")

Iyer makes reference in the liner notes to how the world is accelerating: "...rising inequality, populist revolution, economic crisis, climate change..." This is music of the moment, and music that will last. This is music that is rooted in the rhythms and history of jazz, and connects with the wider world of pop and progressive social change.

For now it stands as the Trio's best recording, but their more recent Break Stuff (2015) on ECM is also excellent, a cooler, sleeker set with fewer recognizable pop melodies.

If you haven't yet heard the Vijay Iyer Trio, what are you waiting for?
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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.
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