COMPOSERS: Vijay Iyer
PERFORMER: Vijay Iyer (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: ACT 9497-2
This is Vijay Iyer’s first solo album, which seems like something of an oversight given his CV and reputation.
The sonically immaculate programme is presented as a transition from the pianist’s interpretations of a selection of standards to a sequence of originals, tied together at the end with a homage to Sun Ra which isn’t quite either.
Individually, many of the pieces are outstanding. His take on ‘Human Nature’, written for Michael Jackson and famously appropriated by Miles, transforms the tune’s la-la-la melody into an intricate filigree of riffs and counter-riffs, while his own pieces, though somewhat process-driven, are lucid and compelling.
It’s a shame that these two approaches jar rather oddly when shoehorned into one disc. I’d have preferred a disc of standards and another of originals, but there you go. Despite all this, there’s a wealth of ingenious music here, even if it’s oddly assembled. Roger Thomas