Monday, June 27, 2005

jazz piano-player Vijay Iyer.

The Boston Globe has a write-up of jazz piano-player Vijay Iyer. The Globe writes:

"Like his predecessors in the ''percussive" school of jazz piano -- Thelonious Monk, Andrew Hill, Randy Weston, Muhal Richard Abrams, Cecil Taylor, all of whom he cites as influences -- Iyer has taken on the challenge of generating rhythm and phrase, structure and form. It means that he rarely lays out, nor does he take many conventional solos, when playing in a group. But he can also use rhythm and repetition to produce dense, haunting atmospherics working at his piano alone."

The "fluff" phrase "the challenge of generating rhythm and phrase, structure and form" seems an empty line, a meaningless if nice sounding turn of phrase. After all which pianist worth his or her salt doesn't take on that challenge? The more accurately descriptive line is: "dense, haunting atmospherics" which describes, to my ears, Iyer's playing at it's best. I believe it is best described as energetic if largely unremarkable playing. What is remarkable, at least at flow into and out of some currents of cultural fancy, is the Indian-American heritage of Iyer. But that seems of little consequence to the music: "The inflections from the Indian classical tradition in Iyer's work are very subtle; it's entirely possible to listen to the music without knowing about it." True enough and in fact makes the article's title (with its reference to genre bending) seem a bit daft.

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