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Pianist and composer Vijay Iyer leads a trio that traffics in grooves, crackling and heavy. He has a distinctive way of exploiting dissonance and rhythmic space at the piano; he's joined by a deeply resonant, gut-punching bassist (Stephan Crump) and a drummer with an advanced understanding of time (Marcus Gilmore). The results are beats that feel borrowed from a future age; alternately, they're new lenses on jazz's big-picture history.
The band led off its packed-house performance at Le Poisson Rouge with a number by the disco-funk band Heatwave ("The Star of a Story"), created a sort of acoustic Detroit techno ("Hood"), stretched out a Michael Jackson classic ("Human Nature") and played Ronnie Foster's "Mystic Brew" with full knowledge of its sampling by A Tribe Called Quest. A few more originals rounded out this slightly abbreviated set, a partial preview of the upcoming album Accelerando. Full of stutter steps and snare claps, power chords and low end, the concert proved a clear highlight of the 2012 NYC Winter Jazzfest.
Producers: Mito Habe-Evans, Patrick Jarenwattananon; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Executive Producers: Anya Grundmann, Keith Jenkins. Recorded Jan. 7, 2012 at Le Poisson Rouge in New York, N.Y.