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Vijay Iyer Trio: Accelerando

Vijay Iyer Trio: Accelerando
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Pianist Vijay Iyer, bassist Stephan Crump, and drummer Marcus Gilmore trade intricate rhythms like The Flying Karamazov Brothers toss juggling pins back and forth across the stage. The action seems effortless, nearly telepathic, and relies on razor-sharp instincts and infinite trust. On this follow-up to 2009’s acclaimed Historicity, the three kindred spirits deal in kinetic rhythms and visceral forms in a typically flowing, conversational manner. Following a turbulent overture (“Bode”) they settle into a mesmerizing minimalist motif on “Optimism” that slowly builds until erupting into a throbbing Bad Plus-like crescendo. Gilmore’s inventive beats behind Rod Temperton’s “The Star of a Story” and Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” enliven both tracks. And his supple brushwork deftly underscores the angularity of Herbie Nichols’ “Wildflower.” Iyer’s title track is an experiment in accelerating pulse while the frantic “Action Speak” is a whirlwind of shifting time signatures and arpeggios that culminates in a dazzling drum solo by Gilmore. The trio also has a knack for boiling down grand, sweeping gestures and large-scale arrangements, as on Henry Threadgill’s dense sextet piece “Little Pocket Size Demons” and Duke Ellington’s “The Village of the Virgins,” a moving section from his 1970 ballet, The River, that closes the album on a peaceful note. 

By Bill Milkowski

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