When Vijay Iyer arrived at UC Berkeley some two decades ago as a physics grad student, he had few musical ambitions and no inkling that jazz might be his calling. Inspired by the politically charged ethos of the Bay Area’s AsianImprov collective and the intellectual ferment of Cal’s Center for New Music and Audio Technologies, he ditched physics in favor of intricately structured improvisation, often inspired by classical Indian rhythmic cycles. These days, he’s one of jazz’s most celebrated pianists, with a string of lavishly praised projects, a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, and a Harvard professorship. Celebrating the release of a bracing new album Break Stuff featuring his coruscating trio with bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore, Iyer is a rigorously imaginative improviser who has thoughtfully integrated concepts from some of jazz’s heaviest thinkers.
Vijay Iyer Trio 16 March,2015