Vijay Iyer Trio
Sunday, February 6, 8 p.m.| Fulkerson Recital Hall, HSU
"This trio disrupts every expectation, moving gracefully in missteps, beautifully juxtaposing incompatible melodies, overlaying revelatory discords ... this music, for all its challenges, sounds friendly."
—Thomas Conrad, Jazz Times
"Presto! Here is the great new jazz piano trio."
—Ben Ratliff, New York Times
(For music and links, scroll to the bottom of this page)
"When I hear mastery without risk," says pianist Vijay Iyer, "I feel ripped off." Iyer's trio, rounded out by bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore, will leave you feeling many things, but we guarantee that "ripped off" won't be one of them.
The trio's Grammy-nominated 2009 CD Historicity was the consensus jazz album of the year (it was the number one pick of DownBeat, NPR, the Village Voice, the New York Times, the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune, and indie opinion-makers PopMatters.com--and that's just in the U.S.), and the Jazz Journalists Association named Iyer 2010's "Jazz Musician of the Year," an honor previously bestowed on such giants as Herbie Hancock, Ornette Coleman, and Wayne Shorter.
Although this is Iyer's breakout moment, he's been making startlingly original music for years. His first album, Memoraphilia, dates back to 1995. A series of projects featuring saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa and collaborations with poet and hip-hop artist Mike Ladd led to commissions, grants, and critical accolades throughout the 2000s. (He was voted #1 Rising Star Jazz Artist and #1 Rising Star Composer in the 2006 and 2007 DownBeat Critics Poll.) Historicity, wrote Ben Ratliff in the New York Times, "is just as quick coursing and strict rhythm dodging as the rest of [Iyer's] work back to the mid-1990s. He loves working with long, percussive piano vamps in odd time signatures, and Mr. Gilmore can make them dance and stagger. But here the result is sleeker, more stylish and tuneful, powerful without unnecessary bulk."
Trained in violin, Iyer was largely self-taught on the piano. His playing and composing are grounded in the American jazz lexicon and draw from a range of Western and non-Western traditions. (Historicity includes inspired covers of Stevie Wonder, Leonard Bernstein, and M.I.A. as well as jazz modernists Andrew Hill and Julius Hemphill.) It may be Iyer's reputation as a brainiac--he has a Master's in Physics and a Ph.D in Technology & the Arts from Berkeley, and his writing on the neuroscience of music cognition has appeared in academic journals and scholarly collections) that cause some to hear his music as "cerebral." It's certainly exceptionally smart. It also swings and sings and rocks. It's masterful and risky. And it's totally rewarding. Come find out for yourself.
Tickets ($15 General Admission, $10 Students & Seniors) are available here at our website, or at Wildwood Music, People's Records, and The Works.
The Vijay Iyer Trio will also present a FREE public workshop the following morning, Monday, February 7th, at 10:00 a.m. in the Studio Theatre (Theater Arts Building Room 117). People of all levels of experience are welcome to attend.
Words & Pixels:
Additional support for this show comes from Arcata Arts, The Arcata Eye, Libation Wine Shop & Wine Bar, Mosgo's Coffee, Northtown Books, Rustic West Trading Company, Rondal Snodgrass Consulting, Threadbare Dancewear, and Tomo Japanese Restaurant.
Monday morning's workshop is made possible through the generosity of HSU's Office of the President, Office of the Provost, the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Department of Music.