This review is being undertaken in the days immediately following President Donald Trump’s notorious press conference of Aug. 15, when he stated that there was “blame on both sides” for the violence in Charlottesville, Va. That the moral distinction between members of hate groups and those protesting hatred is lost on our current president imparts poignancy to this album’s backstory.
Vijay Iyer first presented Far From Over as a suite-in-progress at the Chicago Jazz Festival in 2008. It was a moment when Barack Obama’s election was imminent and hope prevailed. But the finished suite was not recorded until April 2017, four months into the Trump presidency, when hope had been dashed. A project that began in faith—in Chicago Iyer said he looked forward to the work of attaining “justice and equality” in America—was completed in a spirit of protest. Iyer has said that there is “resistance” and “defiance” in this music now.