Stormy Mondays | Celebrating Vijay Iyer’s Big Week

By Scott Bernstein Oct 7, 2013 6:45 am PDT

Pianist and composer Vijay Iyer is one of the 2013 recipients of the MacArthur Fellowship Grant, better known as a Genius Grant, and in the very same week his appointment as the first Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts at Harvard University was announced -quite a week. The least we can do is help celebrate with a mix of live material from the Vijay Iyer Trio, featuring the pianist, Stephan Crump on bass and drummer Marcus Gilmore.

I was surprised, as I looked over my collection, just how much material I have from Iyer’s other projects, including recordings with Tirtha, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Mike Ladd and solo material; but I love the trio best, with its oscillations between flurries of notes and clockwork meshing of gears. To open we have the group’s cover of Henry Threadgill’s “Little Pocket Size Demons,” a tight, hectic tune; followed by Iyer’s signature “Historicity” > Stevie Wonder’s “Big Brother.” To close, we have a long version of “Trident” with Justin Brown sitting in on drums to wonderful effect. It’s worth noting that Jason Moran also won a Genius Grant a few years back, which means we’re just waiting on Ethan Iverson’s to complete the trifecta of great pianists of a generation.


Written By: Dan Alford

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