Aaron Diehl is in residence this week at Dizzy's. At part of the JALC exploration of the cool school, Aaron, Warren Wolf, David Wong, and Rodney Green play the music of John Lewis tonight and tomorrow. I'd be especially curious to hear the exceptionally rare repertoire with guests the MIJA String Quartet. Webcast tomorrow.
Vijay Iyer with Stephan Crump and Marcus Gilmore is at the Jazz Standard next week. This trio is considered a contemporary high water mark but I usually don't listen to them much because I'm worried I'll be seduced and influenced. However, I was recently blown away by Vijay on another record, Post-Chromodal Out! Hafez Modirzadeh leads the group with Amir ElSaffar, Vijay, Ken Filiano and Royal Hartigan.
The first few moments of the record were as purely pleasureable a listening experience I've had recently. According to the Pi records page, "It is the culmination of a system he calls “chromodality,” which Modirzadeh originally developed to integrate Persian tones with Western equal temperament to further explore harmonic possibilities in jazz. He has since expanded his concept to encompass a 'post-chromodal' approach in which all kinds of intervals co-exist; one with meta-cultural potential that allows each musician to use his own distinctive voice to explore music from a full palette of tonal possibilities."
The piano Vijay uses to extraordinary effect reminds me of Kyle Gann's Disklavier on Nude Rollng Down an Escalator or the Charles Ives's Three Quarter-tone Pieces for Two Pianos. The horns have a delightfully smeary post-Ornette/Cherry thing going on, and the rhythm section is slipping and sliding like Dave Holland and Barry Altschul on an old Sam Rivers record.
Or a new Sam Rivers record! Also on Pi, Reunion: Live in New York has the famous trio's last concert. I still need to listen more, but my first impression is that they play exactly like they did twenty or thirty years earlier. Amazing music essential for Rivers fans.
Destination: Out! has hosted a three-part interview with Altschul by fellow drummer-composer Harris Eisenstadt. He's been on so many favorite records of mine, but honestly I had no idea the breadth of his career. Fascinating reading, and I look forward to hearing him live soon.
The week after Vijay, David Virelles is at the Village Vanguard with Ben Street, Andrew Cyrille, and Román Diaz. I've enjoyed the record (Pi again!) Continuum and am curious to keep listening to this unusual music, which is kind of like Latin American Magical Realism meets free jazz. Virelles is the first Cuban pianist I've heard who sounds influenced by Paul Bley. Besides his piano chops, I particularly dig the harmonium touches. Diaz is a profound percussionist who used to be in Yoruba Andabo, Ben plays low, low notes on his detuned E string, and Cyrille is smoothly in the middle of everything.
Lotta impressive music in New York City these days!