Vijay Iyer and Wadada Leo Smith

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Vijay Iyer and Wadada Leo Smith

They’ve performed together in Smith’s much-heralded Golden Quartet, and now two of the jazz world’s most powerful performers, Vijay Iyer and Wadada Leo Smith join forces for performances to support their Fall 2016 duo recording for ECM Records. In the tradition of Joseph “King” Oliver with Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton, and Louis Armstrong with Earl “Fatha” Hines, Wadada and Vijay will explore the rich, resonant textures of that distinctive combination of piano and trumpet.

Grammy nominee Vijay Iyer was named DownBeat Magazine's 2015 Artist of the Year, a 2013 MacArthur Fellow, and a 2012 Doris Duke Performing Artist. Break Stuff, Iyer’s latest record and his twentieth release as a leader, received a coveted five stars in DownBeat magazine, with the German newspaper Die Zeit calling it, “as astonishing as it is intoxicating.” Iyer is a professor of music at Harvard University, and the director of the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music.

Wadada Leo Smith is one of the most boldly original figures in American jazz and creative contemporary music and one of the great trumpet players of our time. Named “one of the 80 coolest things in jazz today” in DownBeat Magazine, Wadada was voted 2015 Composer of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association. His landmark civil rights opus Ten Freedom Summers was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Music.

Together, they create powerful and distinctive music.





One Sheet



Vijay Iyer/Wadada Leo Smith, Vitous and Bärtsch albums head up ECM new releases - Jazzwise Magazine, Feb 25 2016


On the Record with Pianist Vijay Iyer — April 14, 2017, Oberlin Review
Jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer visits Oberlin to attend a workshop performance of Trouble, his new violin concerto, ahead of its world premiere in June.
Music For The Heart And Mind From Pianist Vijay Iyer — March 29, 2017, The National, Abu Dabi
Over the years I have asked ­numerous jazz musicians the same question: what goes through your mind when ­improvising? No one has ever answered with the same illuminating insight as Vijay Iyer,
an American pianist repeatedly ranked among the best improvisers of his generation, who will perform concerts at NYU Abu Dhabi tomorrow and on Friday.

Vijay Iyer at Sanders Theatre — March 20, 2017, The Bay State Banner 
Iyer prefers the term “creative music” to jazz; but he is rooted in its fundamentals, including its consolation and uplift, improvisational give-and-take and syncopated rhythms.


"Iyer was voted top Jazz Artist in the Critics Poll, marking the third time he has won the honor, following wins in 2012 and 2015."

Weaving the dreams of veterans with music, poetry to translate experience of warMay 30, 2016, News Works

“[Vijay] Iyer and Ladd found the stories less told, less known and focused on what interested them, the experiences of people of color before and after the military.”

Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith: A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke ReviewMay 17, 2016, Stereophile

“I’ve listened to this album several times now, and it’s growing on me with each play.”

Vijay Iyer talks Improvisation and Basketball - Wisconsin Public Radio NPR, April 28, 2016
You could make a strong case that improvisation is the essence of jazz. But to hear jazz pianist Vijay Iyer tell it, improvising is something we all do, even if we aren’t musicians.

"Iyer and Smith both understand that the duo dynamic is nothing like the one involving two or three more musicians, especially when so much of the music relies on instinct, and both musicians are supremely trustful of their own instincts. Manipulating tone, passion and space with ample amount of empathy, a cosmic rhythm with each stroke is a meditative meeting of masters where each of the participants reach deep inside themselves to make this music."
"A trumpet/piano duo is a tough call, but the two operate with a charismatic delicacy and subtle force. The centrepiece is a largely improvised seven-part suite dedicated to Indian visual artist Nasreen Mohamedi. "
"Both Iyer and Smith perform exquisitely throughout (and yes, Manfred Eicher's clear production captures them perfectly), but also apply their notes, chords, solo flourishes and textures with intellectual aplomb and emotional potency. This is music from the heart performed by the brain, which is, as I consider my ECM collection, perhaps the best way to summarise the label's aesthetic."
"On Sunday, as the audience discussed the violence at the Trump rally, Vijay Iyer’s work with writer Teju Cole seemed to sum up the fearful mood"
"London’s The Wigmore Hall, an established home of Chamber Music, has announced U.S pianist and composer Vijay Iyer as the next Jazz Artist in Residence. Iyer is the fourth to take on this role following the incumbent Chrisian McBride, Joshua Redman and Brad Mehldau and will be in place from January 2017."
"Vijay Iyer's jazz vision."
"A group of jazz musicians with a distinctly South Asian inflection, will be heard at Asia Society in Manhattan performing a new sound that combines Carnatic music and western jazz. Their program will be webcast live to reach a wider audience Jan. 23.”"
" 2. Vijay Iyer Trio - “Break Stuff” Working with bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore, pianist-composer (and MacArthur “genius” and Harvard prof) Iyer has fully incorporated electronica and hip-hop into the jazz vocabulary. Despite the album’s odd, layered meters, you couldn’t ask for a more swinging version of Thelonious Monk’s “Work,” or a more delicate, moving solo-piano treatment of Billy Strayhorn’s “Blood Count.”"
LA Times: Best of 2015 - December 11, 2015
"Another year, another prime example of pianist Vijay Iyer expanding the piano trio's potential. Here, songs by Billy Strayhorn, Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane sit comfortably alongside Iyer's unique compositional voice, including the striking "Hood," which pays tribute to minimalist techno DJ and producer Robert Hood with a tangled valentine to the propulsive vitality of rhythm."
"Break Stuff" wins German Record Critics' Album of the Year prize (Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik) - December, 2015
"The jury statement says: "Filigree ramifications and powerplay, high speed and slowness, harmony bliss and dissonance: out of contrasting elements the Vijay Iyer Trio shapes intense compositions, which draw from the history of jazz as well as from European concert music."" (Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik website.)
"Vijay Iyer’s “Break Stuff” (ECM) featured the pianist at his best, leading his bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore through a program that emphasized original compositions but also made room for standards such as Billy Strayhorn’s “Blood Count.”."
"6. Vijay Iyer Trio, "Break Stuff" (ECM) A return to form for the restless piano genius."
Vijay Iyer named Artist of the Year and Vijay Iyer Trio named Group of the Year.
"It’s no wonder the pianist is getting more recognition as one of the great new innovators on the jazz scene – a reputation well-earned last night."
"Pianist Vijay Iyer, 43, is probably the most visible member among the group of South Asian-American musicians who have established themselves as leaders in the contemporary jazz world."
"It takes years of arduous practice to become effortlessly spontaneous, the jazzman Vijay Iyer discovered."
"Hailed as “one of the most interesting and vital young pianists in jazz today,” the Grammy-nominated composer-pianist discusses his new album, "Break Stuff.""
"Vijay Iyer, one of the most innovative and original pianists in jazz, plays with his trio at Cornish College on Saturday, May 9."

NPR: Vijay Iyer Trio at Metropolitan Museum of Art May 06, 2015
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced that Vijay Iyer will be their Artist-In-Residence for the 2015-2016 season.

NPR: Tiny Desk Concert: Vijay Iyer TrioMay 05, 2015
Vijay Iyer Trio perform pieces from Break Stuff on NPR Music's Tiny Desk Concerts series.

Vijay to Join the Met as Artist-in-Residence - April 29 2015 Two sides of pianist Vijay Iyer, both striking - April 21 2015
"The second set displayed one of modern jazz's most exhilarating groups at the height of its powers, focusing on pieces from its just-released Break Stuff..."

Télérama: Break Stuff Review - April 2015
France's weekly cultural magazine Télérama gives Break Stuff its highest rating.  Read review (in French).

Jazz News: Vijay Iyer est Déjà Demain - February 2015

Jazz News Magazine features Vijay and Break Stuff in their February issue (No. 39).

CD of the Week - Vijay Iyer Trio: Break Stuff Review - February 16 , 2015
All About Jazz Italia selects Break Stuff as CD of the week and publishes a 4 1/2 star review (in Italian).  Read full review here.

Vijay Iyer, Prashant Bhargava: Rhade Rhade - Rites of Holi - February 16 , 2015
All About Jazz Italia reviews Rhade Rhade: Rites of Holi (in Italian).  Read full review here.

The progressive jazz of Vijay Iyer - February 8 , 2015
Spettakolo! Reviews Break Stuff (in Italian).

Vijay Iyer, high class jazz piano - February 2 , 2015
Affaritaliani reviews Break Stuff (in Italian).  

PopUp Music in Poland Reviews Vijay's latest projects - February 6, 2015
Poland's Pop-Up Magazine reviews both Break Stuff and Rhade Rhade: Rites of Holi in this week's issue.

Die Ziet: Break Stuff Review - January 29, 2015
The January 29th Issue of Germany's Die Ziet raves about Vijay's new record. "...this record is very, very, very good...” ”...As astonishing as intoxicating...”

Downbeat Magazine: Vijay Iyer Trio: Break Stuff - January 20, 2015
The Vijay Iyer Trio's upcoming (Feb 10) release, Break Stuff, receives a 5-star review in the March 2015 issue of Downbeat Magazine.

France Musique - Vijay Iyer s'offre un break en trio - January 19, 2015
Review of Break Stuff (in French).

New York Times: Conscience of a Composer; Vijay Iyer Performs at BAMDecember 19, 2014
"Mr. Iyer’s music was prismatic and encompassing: a knowing homage to Stravinsky’s spiky and propulsive motifs, a mesh of jazz harmonies with Indian modes, a flamboyant orchestral display, an atmospheric swirl..." 

New York Times: Jazz Pianist’s Multiple Worlds - December 12, 2014
"There’s probably no frame wide enough to encompass the creative output of the pianist Vijay Iyer."

Vijay Iyer Trio, 'BREAK STUFF' U.S. Release date: February 10, 2015 - December 3, 2014
"Break Stuff features Vijay Iyer's long-running and widely-acclaimed trio with bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore, a band in existence for eleven years now..."  

An Interview with MacArther 'genius,' jazz pianist, and composer Vijay Iyer - October 21, 2014
"Iyer's mutant style -- at the intersection of two rich but usually parallel traditions -- should make him one of the most interesting draws at this year's Chicago Humanities Festival. 
The Washington Post: Vijay Iyer continues his pursuit in transforming Jazz - October 29. 2014
"A pianist, composer and 2013 MacArthur Fellow, Iyer’s concerts can work as lessons as much as performances, although his main goal is the same as any musician’s: enliven, push, liberate..." 
Vijay Iyer: Jazz in the 21st Century - Jun 19th, 2014
From Jazz Open Source Vijay Iyer: Jazz in the 21st Century Vijay Iyer brings you inside the head of a jazz improviser and describes the expressive give and take conversation musicians are having with each other. Listen to the whole show...
Vijay Iyer On Q2 Music's 'Spaces' - Apr 24th, 2014
Take a tour of the MacArthur genius’s home in Harlem, including a look at his Steinway, favorite books and percussion instruments from India. View the video

The Boston Globe: Vijay Iyer takes career moment to moment - March 13, 2014
"Vijay Iyer leans against a wall in Harvard’s Music Building as sound fills the classroom. He’s listening to a recording of one of his students, a freshman, in a high school group. The playing is assured; a small smile on Iyer’s face shows he’s impressed...." 
Vijay Iyer: Mutations | Review- March 10, 2014
NY Times: DNA of a Polymath, Restlessly Mutating - March 7, 2014
"Vijay Iyer's new release bridges string quartet and improvistion..." 
The 2013 MacArthur Foundation Fellow will teach 'Creative Music: Critical Practice Studio' 


Vijay Iyer at Sanders Theatre — March 20, 2017, The Bay State Banner 
Iyer prefers the term “creative music” to jazz; but he is rooted in its fundamentals, including its consolation and uplift, 
improvisational give-and-take and syncopated rhythms.

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