Thursday, June 24, 2010

Henry Threadgill

NPR did a thoughtful piece on the music of Henry Threadgill, composer and reed man. I have only heard one of his recordings, which I checked out from our local library some years ago. I would like to hear more. Let me know what you think of him.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A note from jazz pianist, Vijay Iyer.

Dear friends,

This is Vijay Iyer wishing you a great summer. I hope this finds you well. It's been a few months since I wrote, and a lot has happened that I didn't get to email you about. I've included some of the highlights down below.

vijay iyer trio performance at echo awards

But first: It's a stellar month for live music here in New York. I'm pleased to take part in it with a trio run at Birdland Jazz Club next week.

Vijay Iyer, piano
Stephan Crump, bass
Justin Brown (Wed-Th), Marcus Gilmore (Fri-Sat), drums
BIRDLAND, 315 West 44th Street, NYC
Sets at 8:30 and 11pm each night tel 212-581-3080

half-price tickets available for some sets

Our trio was just awarded the German equivalent of the Grammy, known as the Echo Award, for "Best Ensemble (international)." Above is an image from the televised ceremony for the Echo Jazz awards last month in Bochum, Germany. Deutsche Welle ran a nice article about the award (in English) and a radio feature.

Then we'll be at the Montreal Jazz Festival on June 25 (where I'll also play a solo concert), and on tour in Europe for in the first part of July: Ljubljana, Warsaw, Copenhagen, Rome, Kiev, London, Gent, Porto, and Rotterdam. Then Rudresh and I team up for a couple of duo concerts in Spain and Italy. See the full schedule.


vijay iyerI just made my first solo piano album, titled Solo. It will be released at the end of August on ACT Music + Vision. I had a nice trip back to the Bay Area's OTR Studios to record and mix it. Like the cover to last year's Historicity, this album cover features a sculpture by the contemporary artistAnish Kapoor.


An audiovisual installation I created with filmmaker Bill Morrison, titled Release, is currently up and running at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. It also showed as an experimental short film at this year's TriBeCa, Sydney, and San Francisco Film Festivals and picked up a Golden Gate "New Visions" award in SF. It's now available as a DVD and Blu-ray directly from Eastern State.

still from morrison/iyer work "release"

In May I also resurrected my 2007 chamber orchestra piece Interventions in Los Angeles with the Idyllwild Arts Orchestra. The ensemble is made up of exceptional high school students from Idyllwild Arts Academy and local professionals from LA. I was blessed with two great performances of the work. And last weekend Arturo O'Farrill's Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra ripped through my first big-band piece, Mad Hatter, at Symphony Space in NYC.


I recently participated in a fascinating panel discussion, "Asian Americans: Redefining 'Mainstream' for the 21st Century." Check out this video of the entire discussion.


Lastly, I'm honored to have received five nominations for the JJA Jazz Awards, whose ceremony takes place this Monday afternoon in NYC. Should be a party!

Thanks for reading. I hope to see you at Birdland or elsewhere sometime soon. Feel free to spread the word!

Best wishes,
Vijay Iyer
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Thursday, June 10, 2010


This is from "Notes to 'Jasmine,'" written by Keith Jarrett for "Jasmine," the exquisite new ECM release by Jarrett and acoustic bassist Charlie Haden:

Art is dying in this world, as is listening, as the world becomes more full of toys and special effects. With this death will come the undoing of many possible feelings: beautiful, tender, deep, trusting, true, sad, full of internal meaning and color. . .

Here is some music for you. Take it and its' your's. Charlie and I are obsessed with beauty An ecstatic moment in music is worth the lifetime of mastery that goes into it, because it can be shared.