Tirtha

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Vijay Iyer
LABELS: ACT
PERFORMER: Vijay Iyer (piano), Prasanna (guitar, voice), Nitin Mitta (tabla)
CATALOGUE NO: ACT 9503-2

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First reports of pianist Vijay Iyer and his phenomenal dexterity suggested to me some kind of circus act, but this disc reasssuringly reveals his restraint and readiness to be a group player.

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Tirtha is Sanskrit for a stream crossing, literally, but Iyer says it denotes a threshold between the fixed and the fluid, as good a description as any for this music. Mitta and Prasanna, whose seamless melding of jazz-guitar and sitar traditions is impressive, are Indians who have settled in the US; Iyer is US-born. The overlapping heritages have resulted in some of the most organic-sounding music I have heard for some time: this is not an enforced Indo-jazz fusion, but a genuine synthesis of elements that generously repays repeated, detailed listening. Barry Witherden