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Vijay Iyer On Jazz’s ‘History Of Defiance,’ His Influences And Playing In A Sextet

Vijay Iyer

Lena Adasheva/Courtesy of a artist


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Lena Adasheva/Courtesy of a artist

Vijay Iyer

Lena Adasheva/Courtesy of a artist

Vijay Iyer is an acclaimed jazz pianist, MacArthur leader and Harvard highbrow of music. His new album, available with a six-person band, is called Far From Over. With a band, he says, he wanted to write with “different dance rhythms and dance impulses” in mind; a record also reflects Iyer’s faith that jazz is “a difficulty that keeps shifting.”

Iyer spoke with NPR’s Scott Simon about his proceed to jazz and a histories it carries. Hear a review during a audio link, or review on for an edited transcript.

Scott Simon: How did this organisation of musicians start to come into your life, and how did we start to play together?

Vijay Iyer: Well, we changed to New York about 19 years ago, and some of them we met not prolonged after that. It’s unequivocally come into a own; it has a possess temperament and a possess approach of operative together — we know, that builds a certain kind of trust, a certain bond that we consider is voiced in a music. And it arrange of supports it, so that we’re means to infrequently go out on a prong and do something a small bit wild.

Going out on a limb: Isn’t that what jazz is all about?

I don’t know; we consider that word gets used and stale and dissipated and kind of caricatured. we consider of it as a story of a people, and a story of ideas, a story of defiance, a story of unity, a story of fun and transcendence — and also a story of responding to conditions of hardship and terror. So we always consider about my attribute to that story as a South Asian-American, and we try to respect that story while still being myself.

The Vijay Iyer Sextet.

Lynne Harty/Courtesy of a artist


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Lynne Harty/Courtesy of a artist

The Vijay Iyer Sextet.

Lynne Harty/Courtesy of a artist

I wish to ask we about a lane on a album, “Good On The Ground.” Is it OK if we hear some south Indian folk rhythms in there?

[Laughs]. It’s OK; that’s ideally OK. we mean, my relatives are from India and a rhythmic and symphonic ideas from Carnatic song and from Indian folk song had an change on me. It has arrange of been in a credentials my whole life, and afterwards when we was in my 20s we started perplexing to put it some-more in a foreground. And we theory with this band, we wanted to kind of work with opposite dance rhythms and dance impulses and so that was one that we kind of associate with a yard of a church in south India or something like that — it’s a unequivocally elementary stroke that excites and electrifies.

What kind of song did we grow adult listening to and enjoying in your family?

Well, we indeed grew adult listening mostly to a radio: cocktail music, and stone and essence song from a 1970s and ’80s when we grew up.

But jazz is where we felt a biggest connection?

Well, we arrange of courtesy that word as a flattering open one, in a clarity that if we demeanour during a story of a music, it’s been a difficulty that keeps shifting. we consider a categorical thought is that we tell your story, we know? And I’ve complicated Duke Ellington‘s music, Thelonious Monk’s music, Bud Powell — though we also know that a reason we’re on this universe as people is to demonstrate and simulate a impulse we’re in.

I consternation if we consider it has something sold to contend to these times.

Well, we consider that there’s a story of rebuttal in it. You know, when we speak to my students about it, we kind of support it as a story of village organizing. Because it was about people entrance together in flattering apocalyptic circumstances, and — arrange of opposite all contingency — formulating beauty and changing a world. [Laughs.] You know? That’s unequivocally what it was. So, when accepted in that way, there’s a lot to learn about what we contingency do today.