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Vijay Iyer: 21st Century Jazzman

The prolific pianist isn't trying to change the world; he just doesn't want to be bored

Vijay Iyer with Marcus Gilmore (l.) and Stephan Crump
Vijay Iyer (r.) with Stephan Crump (l.) and Marcus Gilmore
Fieldwork (l. to r.): Steve Lehman, Vijay Iyer and Tyshawn Sorey
Vijay Iyer and Rudresh Mahanthappa, NYC, 2001

In March, Vijay Iyer will release Accelerando, the follow-up to one of jazz’s most important piano trio recordings. But the album and band are only part of Iyer’s snowballing career-one in which the visceral constantly battles, and overtakes, the intellectual.

In musical terms, accelerando signifies a quickening of tempo, a gradual acceleration of pace. It’s an apt title for Vijay Iyer’s forthcoming CD, partly due to the intricate and challenging ways in which the pianist and his trio play with, explode and dissect time. But more important, it’s a dead-on descriptor of the velocity at which Iyer’s career has traveled of late.

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