Last Call Review: Vijay Iyer/Uneasy/ECM
Vijay Iyer's latest project will delight fans of the acclaimed jazz pianist, composer and bandleader. Uneasy brings Iyer together with longtime collaborator Tyshawn Sorey on the drums and veteran bassist Linda May Han Oh. The trio creates a brilliant and energetic session,mirroring the ongoing unrest and upheaval in today's world.
Uneasy begins with "Children of Flint". It is dedicated to the children of Flint, Michigan, who have been exposed to unsafe levels of lead from the town's drinking water supply, leading to widespread health issues. The urgent pulse of this selection, written by Iyer, heralds the mood of Uneasy. Next follows "Combat Breathing", a selection written to accompany a political action at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. In a composition of shifting colors, each band member adds their own contributions.
Additional highlights of the recording include a reconfiguration of "Night and Day" by Cole Porter with McCoy Tyner in mind. There's also "Augury" which is a solo piano performance by Iyer, and "Configurations" which is driven by an ambient groove and sudden energetic shifts.
Vijay Iyer's percussive, strident attack on the piano drives "Uneasy" forward. It is the leader's second trio album on ECM, on which he has released six albums under his leadership. He is a Grammy nominated composer-pianist, musician and writer based in New York City. He has won numerous jazz polls in recent years and is a 2013 MacArthur Fellow. Currently he is an educator in the senior faculty in the Department of Music at Harvard University. Iyer performed on stages all over the world, including the Iowa City Jazz Festival in 2016, before Covid-19. He is arguably one of the finest jazz pianists alive. Visit his website for more information at vijay-iyer.com