Vijay Iyer might have the most impressive resume of any modern jazz musician: his latest LP Break Stuff received universal acclaim, he is the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 2015-2016 artist in residence, and his recent collaboration with Wadado Leo Smith also came highly regarded by just about anyone who talks about jazz music created in the 21st century. Not to mention he teaches at Harvard University…
This week at Manhattan’s fantastic Jazz Standard, a wonderful restaurant and cozy basement jazz club, Vijay is partaking in his what could maybe be considered his ‘day job’: a jazz pianist in the club. Joined by bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore, the trio performs a distinctive brand of heady jazz that embraces elements of classical composition, techno, hip hop, etc.
During the late show on Thursday night, the Vijay Iyer trio dove into songs from Break Stuff and other compositions from their former two LPs, putting a unique stamp on each take. “Hood,” the nod to techno producer Robert hood, was explosive. The set-ending cover of Ronnie Foster’s “Mystic Brew” was beautiful. For an hour and fifteen minutes, Vijay, Stephan, and Marcus proved why they are one of jazz music’s most acclaimed trios, and it isn’t because of anything they did decades ago. Instead, it is because they are creating in the moment, continuing to explore, continuing to ‘listen,’ as Iyer thanks the audience for doing at the end of each set.
Vijay Iyer Trio continues their run at Jazz Standard with shows through Sunday.