Pianist Vijay Iyer’s long-running and widely acclaimed trio with bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore has been in existence for eleven years now. It’s a group whose musical language is informed by more than just the jazz piano trio tradition. While Iyer acknowledges the influence of, for instance, Ahmad Jamal, Andrew Hill and Duke Ellington’s “Money Jungle” trio upon his own trio aesthetics, he points out that his group also has been inspired by James Brown’s rhythm section, Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsies, Miles Davis’ rhythm section, soul music from the ‘70s, electronic music and hip-hop from very recent times. Their new disc, “Break Stuff,” is Iyer’s third now for ECM Records.
“Constellations” is the debut recording from the trio of drummer Karl Latham, trumpeter Ryan Carniaux and bassist Mark Egan. A longtime fan of the music of Icelandic singer/songwriter Bjork, Latham longed to attempt a true representation of his impression of her music. He approached his close friend Egan to be part of the project and they brought in the rising star Carniaux, whom they had worked with in 2012. The ensemble was completed with the addition of special guest Nick Rolfe on keyboards. The result is a journey, explorations of conscious and subconscious reality and humble homage to the vision of one of the 20th Century’s most influential creative forces.
Also this week, guitarist Rez Abbasi and his Acoustic Quartet offer up acoustic interpretations of ‘70s jazz-rock classics by Weather Report, Herbie Hancock and others with “Intents and Purposes”; “Songs for Quintet” is one of the final recordings from the late trumpeter and composer Kenny Wheeler; and the George Gee Swing Orchestra performs the compositions and arrangements of trombonist David Gibson on “Swing Makes You Happy.”