Two pianists famed for their touch and lyricism, Fred Hersch and the late Bill Evans, have new releases coming. Hersch’s brand-new solo album, Open Book, available September 8, provides a musical complement to his memoir, Good Things Happen Slowly, which will see bookstores on September 12. The tapes of the Bill Evans release, Another Time: The Hilversum Concert, surfaced only last fall. Recorded in the Netherlands on June 22, 1968, and available September 1, the album is only the third known recording of the short-lived and very distinctive trio featuring Eddie Gomez on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums. Vijay Iyer’s reputation rests on an intellectual rigor married to a passionate and progressive heart, along with serious chops, and his new sextet release, Far from Over (available August 25), manages to be invigorating, complex, and accessible all at once. Continue reading
Pianist/composer Vijay Iyer (Vid-jay Eye-yer) notes that he has been labeled as “dealing with
abstractions” in his work, and yes, there are abstract qualities to his compositions. It’s
something that you might expect from someone who was working on a Ph.D. in physics before altering course and choosing to pursue a career in music. (He has a Ph.D. in music cognition,
instead.) Nevertheless, his compositions are built on quite concrete ideas of what music is, how it is generated and perceived, and to what purpose. What’s more, his interaction with his
instrument reflects an alert physicality that is not at all abstract. You might say his compositions germinate in his brain but flower in his heart and hands.
DownBeat magazine’s 2014 Pianist of the Year, a 2013 MacArthur Fellow, and a 2012 Doris Duke Performing Artist, Iyer will bring brain, heart, and hands to the Outpost this week, with his long-standing trio, featuring virtuosi Stephan Crump on bass and Marcus Gilmore on drums. They are riding on the acclaim for the trio’s latest album, Break Stuff, Iyer’s third release on the ECM label since signing there last year. Continue reading