After two decades on jazz scene and almost twenty albums released, from more avant-garde early works on American labels to series of catchy chamber jazz and world fusion releases on German ACT,pianist Vijay Iyer built strong reputation as one of most potential modern jazz pianist. It's not strange than that last year he signed contract with ECM, one of the highest acknowledgment evidence for every jazz musician. And here he presented some surprises.
His ECM debut, "Mutations", is nothing less than suite for electronics,piano and string trio, exceptional work for Vijay till now. His second release on ECM, coming from same 2014, is "Radhe Radhe: Rites of Holi" - music for musical movie. "Break Stuff", his just released ECM album, is more usual trio music, but all isn't so simple even here.
On "Break Stuff" Iyer returns to his long-standing trio with bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore and the music here sounds a bit more traditional to him,but only from first impression. In reality, acoustic trio wrap to post bop frames all collection of musical genres from minimalist "Mystery Woman" to dissonant "Geese" to almost hip-hop streetwise "Hood". Vijay playing is still quite calculated but unusually warm,even lyrical in moments and all album sounds as one well-made modern creative but easy accessible work. It's far not easy to play music which is complex but sound simple, even more difficult to make such album of many multi-genre and even multicultural elements without sounding eclectic. On "Break Stuff" Vijay succeeded in both.
I have been a bit surprised with album's sound here - it wasn't been recorded in Oslo Rainbow or other usual ECM European studio, but as rule US-recorded albums sound as well as European. Here the sound even being clear is too compressed and tight even for ECM standard, it looks like all music's lifelines is killed by this way. Adding more blood and fresh air to playing and producing would make this album really great. In all other aspects "Break Stuff" is strong and really interesting Vijay job, opening new horizons.