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Vijay Iyer’s Historicity – To listen, To enjoy, All the way

Written by: Suba Subramanium


Vijay Iyer
Vijay Iyer


2009- Historicity
2008 -Tragicomic
2005 -Reimagining
2004- In What Language?
2003- Blood Sutra
2001- Panoptic Modes
1998- Architextures
1995 -Memorophilia……………. to name a few
That’s how it goes for Vijay Iyer !

“twelve well-received albums”
“winner of numerous critic’s polls”
“remarkable worldwide acclaim”
That’s how it goes for Vijay Iyer !

“…the most commanding pianist to emerge in recent years” – The Village voice
“….today’s most important pianist….extravagantly gifted” – The New Yorker
“…a boundless and deeply important young star” – L A Weekly
“….the most daringly original jazz artist of the under – 40 generation” – Chicago Turbine
That’s how it goes for Vijay Iyer and his Historicity!

HISTORICITY, the ingenious jazz album by the Vijay Iyer Trio, tops this year’s Village Voice Jazz Critics’ Poll!
To start at the beginning, Vijay Iyer is the American –born son of Indian immigrants. He studied mathematics and physics at Yale and UC Berkeley. He had also studied violin and taught himself to play the piano. It was Steve Coleman, the saxophonist, who changed his path from math to music.

It was only when Steve Coleman offered Iyer the position of pianist in his band in the mid 1990s, did Iyer decide to devote himself completely to music. Success dawned on Vijay Iyer with Steve Coleman’s Five Elements.

Historicity, Iyer’s 12th album, has him on the piano, Stephen Crump on bass and Marcus Gilmore on drums - a basic piano trio, but a heady combination!
Math and music have a lot to do with each other says Iyer - “Music contains a lot of abstract thought and concepts like rhythm, chords and structures. It deals with numbers and quantities, which is what mathematics does. There was a time when mathematics was associated with traditions that did not differentiate between spirit and intellect, and that is exactly what music is for me. For me it’s all about letting rational structures become intuitive.” Math or music, Historicity is mind- blowing.Historicity is all about "being placed in the stream of history ….. for it's the past that's setting us in motion” . Iyer works with sounds that are steeped with ciphers, symbols and codes. The first and title track bristles with shattering changes in rhythm and tempo, modal and serial sequences, yet it retains full power and is listenable throughout.

What makes Vijay Iyer’s music unique is a variety of configurations, different degrees of technology, and interesting blend of jazz and Southeast Asian influences.In Historicity the trio delivers a thundering percussive take, using grand piano, bass, and drums to evoke Tablas, synthesizers, and drum machines.

Historicity simply cannot be ignored. It isn’t the sort of music that blends with the background, it makes you listen, it makes you enjoy, it make you just love it !Vijay Iyer’s Historicity, rhythmic and harmonic and full of surprises at every beat!

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