PROJECTS

THE VIJAY IYER TRIO

Described as “the best piano trio in jazz today” (Der Spiegel), “the great new jazz piano trio” (The New York Times), “truly astonishing” (NPR), and “the best band in jazz” (PopMatters), the trio makes “cutting-edge music, but always accessible” (The Guardian)

LOVE IN EXILE

Love In Exile asks you to step inside its sense of time, to stretch out alongside these delightful and unhurriedly unfolding songs. Nominated for two 2023 GRAMMYs – Best Alternative Jazz Album & Best Global Music Performance

NEW CLASSICAL
AND CHAMBER WORKS

Vijay is an active composer for classical ensembles and soloists. His works have been commissioned and premiered by Brentano String Quartet, Imani Winds, Bang on a Can All-Stars, The Silk Road Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble…

VIJAY IYER SEXTET

Dynamically commanding sextet – finds Iyer reaching a new peak, furthering an artistry that led The Guardian to call him “one of the world’s most inventive new-generation jazz pianists” and The New Yorker to describe him as “extravagantly gifted… brilliantly eclectic.”

THE VIJAY IYER TRIO

THE VIJAY IYER TRIO

Composer-pianist Vijay Iyer has carved out a unique path as an influential, shape-shifting presence in 21st-century music. His deeply interactive, powerfully expressive musical language is indebted to the composer-pianist lineage from Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk to Alice Coltrane and Geri Allen, the creative music movement of the 60s and 70s, and rhythmic traditions of South Asia and West Africa. As MinnPost recently observed, “twining composition and improvisation is rightfully his most celebrated métier.” He has released twenty-six widely praised albums; received three Grammy nominations, numerous national and international prizes, and a MacArthur Fellowship; composed for orchestras, soloists, and chamber ensembles; and collaborated with poets, filmmakers, choreographers, and music-makers from across the planet. But Iyer’s artistry finds perhaps its purest expression in his most celebrated group, the Vijay Iyer Trio, praised by NPR as “truly astonishing” and by The New York Times as “one of the best bands in jazz.” 

Over the years this pivotal ensemble has nurtured a remarkable roster of now-revered young musicians. The first longstanding iteration of Iyer’s trio, featuring bassist Stephan Crump and wunderkind drummer Marcus Gilmore, became one of the definitive ensembles of the 2010s. Their three groundbreaking albums – Historicity (ACT, 2009), Accelerando (ACT, 2012), and Break Stuff (ECM, 2015), received universal acclaim in the jazz and mainstream press, each one winning multiple awards for best album, best jazz group, and best pianist, and cementing a place for Iyer in the modern musical firmament. Their repertoire juxtaposed memorable covers of “Galang,” “Human Nature,” and “The Star of a Story” with Iyer’s intricate, soulful compositions.

In 2021, an all-star incarnation of Iyer’s trio, now with bassist Linda May Han Oh and drummer Tyshawn Sorey, released Uneasy (ECM Records), which was named one of the best jazz albums of 2021 by Pitchfork, The New Yorker, NPR, the Boston Globe, and numerous other publications. Both Uneasy and its riveting 2024 follow-up Compassion are the work of an ensemble that bears no small resemblance to that earlier band—retaining Iyer’s attraction to dark colors, elliptical shapes, and plunging momentum—but there’s a more pronounced expression of equal say among the musicians, along with a powerful sense of shared purpose and a stratospheric level of attunement. The two newer recordings are also, in their titular implications and references, more overtly political, featuring Iyer’s compositions “Children of Flint,” “Combat Breathing,” and the memorial tributes “Arch” (for Archbishop Desmond Tutu), and “It Goes” (for Emmett Till).

Iyer’s ever-evolving trio conception, developed over the last 30 years, finds inspiration in the trio music of Ahmad Jamal, the Ellington/Mingus/Roach summit Money Jungle, Andrew Hill’s Smokestack, McCoy Tyner’s 1970s ensembles, the rhythm-section alchemies of James Brown, Fela Kuti, and the Meters, South Asian rhythmic forms, and the expressive nuance of chamber music. The results, over the span of his trio’s five pivotal recordings and hundreds of performances, have not only defied the old categories, but inaugurated entirely new ones.

It’s as if this band wants to both seduce you and discomfit you, stripping you of everything but the ability to think and see for yourself.”
The New York Times, December 2023

“Uneasy,” his first trio recording with the drummer Tyshawn Sorey (a longtime collaborator) and the bassist Linda May Han Oh, is a triumph of small-group interchange and fertile invention. Iyer’s piano work, whether arrestingly skittish or clothed in powerful solemnity, resounds with a visceral intensity of purpose, and his resourceful compatriots respond in kind.”
– The New Yorker, April 2021

“The result is a set of modern piano jazz that covers a remarkable range and features three brilliant musical imaginations that play well together…it is dazzling – seeming to give the listener every chance to really understand it…”
– Popmatters May 2021

“As improvisers, they’ve got a few things in common: the ability to play with a lithe range of motion and resplendent clarity, in the style of well-schooled jazz musicians, while stoking a kind of writhing internal tension. Crucial to that balance is their ability to connect with each other in real time, almost telepathically.”
– New York Times (Giovanni Russonello) April 2021

“Mr. Iyer is a singular thinker about music”
– Wall St. Journal (Larry Blumenfeld) April 2021

“…could be the definitive political work of this year…It evokes the highest ideals of creative music: not just taking turns but using one’s own to spur another’s.”
– Jazz Times April 2021

“This is hyperarticulate, politically urgent music that speaks to where we are and where we should be.”
– Nate Chinen, WBGO (NPR) 2021

“[Iyer] is a social conscience, multimedia collaborator, system builder, rhapsodist, historical thinker, and multicultural gateway.”
–The New York Times

Love in Exile

Arooj Aftab / Vijay Iyer / Shahzad Ismaily

On Verve Records

Nominated for Two GRAMMYs
Best Alternative Jazz Album
Best Global Music Performance for “Shadow Forces”

NEW CLASSICAL & CHAMBER WORKS

Iyer is an active composer for classical ensembles and soloists. His works have been commissioned and premiered by Brentano String Quartet, Imani Winds, Bang on a Can All-Stars, The Silk Road Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, LAPhil Group for New Music, American Composers Orchestra, So Percussion, Boston Lyric Opera, and virtuosi Jennifer Koh, Matt Haimowitz, Claire Chase, Shai Wosner, Inbal Segev, and Mishka Rushdie Momen, among others. He recently served as composer-in-residence at London’s Wigmore Hall, music director of the Ojai Music Festival, and artist-in-residence at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and has been featured in Miller Theatre’s Composer Portraits and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Composers in Focus series.

Comprehensive Information
on Vijay’s Classical Work:

A playlist recordings of Vijay’s compositions by other artists

Orchestral / Large Ensemble

My Boy (Song of Remembrance) (2021)
for Boston Lyric Opera

Crisis Modes (2019)
for percussion and strings

Asunder (2018)
for chamber orchestra

Trouble (2017)
for violin and chamber orchestra

City of Sand (Speculative Dunhuang) (2017)
for clarinet, tabla, pipa, percussion and string orchestra

Emergence (2016)
for jazz trio and orchestra

RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi (2013)
multimedia work for chamber ensemble and electronics

Rimpa Transcriptions (2012)
for clarinet, percussion, electric guitar, piano, cello and double bass

Playlist for an Extreme Occasion (2011)
for Galician gaita or piano, sheng, tabla, 2 percussionists, violin and cello

Interventions (2007)
for chamber orchestra with improvising pianist and electronics

Electronic / Fixed Media

Flute Goals (Five Empty Chambers) (2016)
composition for pre-recorded flute sounds

Chamber / Solo

Equal Night (2021)

Spasm (2021)

The Window (2021) with Inbal Segev

For Violin Alone (2020) for Jennifer Koh

Plinth (for Kwame Ture) (2020)

Song for Flint (2019)
for solo viola

Torque (2018)
for 2 vibraphones and 2 marimbas

The Law of Returns (2016)
for piano quartet

Zany, Cute, Interesting (2016)
for solo violin

Bridgetower Fantasy (2015)
for violin and piano

Run (2015)
for solo cello

Bruits (2014)
for wind quintet and piano

Time, Place, Action (2014)
for string quartet and piano

Dig the Say (2012)
for string quartet

Mozart Effects (2011)
for string quartet

Mutations I – X (2005)
for string quartet, piano and electronics

VIJAY IYER SEXTET

VIJAY IYER SEXTET

Vijay Iyer: piano, Fender Rhodes

Graham Haynes: cornet, flugelhorn, electronics

Steve Lehman: alto saxophone

Mark Shim: tenor saxophone

Stephan Crump: double-bass

Tyshawn Sorey: drums

Keyboardist-composer Vijay Iyer’s energized sequence of ECM releases has garnered copious international praise. Yet his fifth for the label since 2014 – Far From Over, featuring his dynamically commanding sextet – finds Iyer reaching a new peak, furthering an artistry that led The Guardian to call him “one of the world’s most inventive new-generation jazz pianists” and The New Yorker to describe him as “extravagantly gifted… brilliantly eclectic.”

Far From Over features this sextet of virtuoso improvisers – with horn players Graham Haynes, Steve Lehman and Mark Shim alongside rhythm partners Stephan Crump and Tyshawn Sorey – leveraging a wealth of jazz history even as it pushes boldly forward. The music ranges from the thrillingly explosive (“Down to the Wire,” “Good on the Ground”) to the cathartically elegiac (“For Amiri Baraka,” “Threnody”), with melodic hooks, entrancing atmosphere, rhythmic muscle and an elemental spirit all part of the allure. “This group has a lot of fire in it, but also a lot of earth, because the tones are so deep, the timbres and textures,” Iyer says. “There’s also air and water – the music moves.”