Monday, March 12, 2012

On the Vanguard with Esperanza and Vijay - Bob Stewart

On the Vanguard with Esperanza and Vijay

It hasn't taken Esperanza Spalding long to emerge as one of the brightest lights in the musical world, with a unique and style-spanning presence deeply rooted in jazz yet destined to make her mark far beyond the jazz realm. Just last year she became the first jazz musician to receive the Grammy Award for Best New Artist. Her new CD -- "Radio Music Society" -- is a companion of sorts to her last release, "Chamber Music Society." As the bassist and singer explains, "Originally I thought it would be fun to release a double album. One disc with an intimate, subtle exploration of chamber works and a second one in which jazz musicians explore song forms and melodies that are formatted more along the lines of what we would categorize at 'pop songs.'" The music on the new disc is realized by many of the brilliant musicians who are part of Esperanza's ever-expanding universe, including Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano, Terri Lyne Carrington, Lionel Loueke and Billy Hart.

Pianist/composer Vijay Iyer's career has moved on an ever-accelerating arc over the past decade-and-a-half, with the Indian-American artist earning a slew of international honors for his intrepid, multi-hued vision of 21st-century music. The latest chapter of this compelling story in contemporary jazz comes with the Vijay Iyer Trio's "Accelerando" -- a CD driven by the visceral, universal, intoxicating experience of rhythm. He and his band mates-bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore-light up material that ranges from a brace of bold Iyer originals and pieces by great composers like Ellington, Herbie Nichols and Henry Threadgill to surprising interpretations of vintage and recent pop and funk tunes by Michael Jackson, Heatwave and Flying Lotus.

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