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Vijay Iyer: Mutations

This album arrives with high expectations. Vijay Iyer is among the most decorated jazz musicians of his generation. He wins jazz polls, professorships, prizes and MacArthur Fellowships. Mutations is his debut on ECM, a label known for bringing forth new levels of creativity from its artists.

But Mutations is a major disappointment. The problem is Iyer’s writing for strings. There is a 10-part suite for string quartet, piano and electronics. The suite is stunningly devoid of the aesthetic and emotional content that makes most people listen to music. Qualities such as lyric discovery, melodic fulfillment and rhythmic engagement are absent.

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