Vijay Iyer Trio | Jazz Showcase | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Vijay Iyer Trio Critic's Choice Member Picks Recommended Soundboard

When: Fri., March 20, 8 & 10 p.m., Sat., March 21, 8 & 10 p.m. and Sun., March 22, 4, 8 & 10 p.m. 2009

Pianist Vijay Iyer is one of the most intellectually restless improvising musicians in the world these days, and the rigorous compositional focus and fascinating conceptual depth in many of his projects can make it easy to overlook what a fantastic pianist he is. Though you can’t untangle his playing from his thinking (and you probably shouldn’t try), this week I’ve spent a lot of time concentrating on the solos, as opposed to the tunes, on last year’s terrific Tragicomic (Sunnyside). It’s partly a trio record, with Iyer backed only by bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore, but saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa guests on more than half of it. As much as I love the rapport between Iyer and Mahanthappa—they’re frequent foils for each other, and Iyer just came through town with Mahanthappa’s quartet—I’m pretty excited to hear the pianist at these gigs, with nothing but a killer rhythm section. Crump will be replaced by Thomas Morgan, but because he’s worked with Iyer before, I’m still expecting a fiery, finely tuned trio. —Peter Margasak

Price: $20

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