Genius sometimes has its limitations. In the case of brilliant pianist Vijay Iyer and his self-admitted hero, trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, you have to turn your insides out to get behind what they're laying down on 'A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke.' Usually, everything, and I mean everything, on this great German label headed by the esteemed Manfred Eicher, is worth worth listening to. Yet I had trouble with this one.
The Ojai Music Festival has announced a new slew of music directors for the next five seasons leading to its 75th anniversary in 2021. Among the new directorial staff appointees are Vijay Iyer, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Barbara Hannigan, Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Mitsuka Uchida.
It's that time of year again and the 2016 Big Ears fest in Knoxville, Tennessee is upon us. A lineup has been announced for the festival, which takes place March 31 to April 2. On that list are John Luther Adams, Philip Glass, Vijay Iyer, Yo La Tengo and more. The festival is for the neo-classical and the avant-garde. As is customary with the festival, a Composer in Residence is given the most time over the course of 3 days. This year's is none other than the Pulitzer-prize winner John Luther Adams.
The 2015 Winter JazzFest in New York City has been a staple of the musical underbelly of the city for years. From Jan. 8-10, thus, the NYC Winter JazzFest takes over our favorite downtown dwellings like (Le) Poisson Rouge, SubCulture and more.
A Classicalite favorite, Vijay Iyer, has recently been experimenting with new sounds on his latest LP Mutations. And with an upcoming stint at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) entitled RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi from Dec. 18-20, Iyer is demonstrating that the MacArthur Genius' music is forming a language all its own.
Among the various 2014 MacArthur 'Genius Grants' is prime-time heavyweight saxophonist Steve Coleman, the 57-year-old who was honored for his "infusing iconic spontaneous music idioms with the melodic, rhythmic and structural components of an eclectic range of musical traditions."
The DownBeat Critics Poll is the quintessential list for jazz heavyweights and serious contenders in the music world. This year, Jane Ira Bloom won soprano saxophonist of the year (and #8 jazz album of the year).
The MacArthur genius grant, obviously, is not just a random token dealt to the moderately remarkable. A few MacArthur genius' have passed through Classicalite, like Vijay Iyer, and this time is no different.
Jazz pianist Vijay Iyer might just be the kind of badass we need in our lives. Not only has he garnered numerous citations--DownBeat's International Critics' Poll awarded him Jazz Artist of the Year and Pianist of the Year, to name but two--but he's also slated to become a professor at Harvard University soon. Lest we forget, too, he just won that John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant.