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Vijay Iyer’s Mehndi Trio enchants Palermo

Intention, tension, extension. These three words may represent the show of Vijay Iyer’s Mehndi trio and its music too. Organized and produced by Darrell Shines’ Intersection Studios, and held in teatro Nuovo Montevergini, Palermo, on February 3rd 2009, the concert programme mostly develops the compositions included in "Tragicomic", Iyer’s album in trio. Voted the #1 Rising Star Jazz Artist and #1 Rising Star Composer in the Downbeat Magazine International Critics’ Poll for both 2006 and 2007, Iyer does not need long presentation, and the people who attended his performance knew what to expect while they defied the cold and the rain of Palermo night to go out.

After introducing his two mates, double-bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore Roy Haynes’ 22-years-old grandchild Iyer starts the music with The Weight of Things, a long intro resolving over a modal ground, with the double bass taking its soloing: a great tension. The modal hypnosis transports into the following extemporary composition, with an open structure that brings out the superb empathetic comprehension between the pianist and the drummer, while the double bass player keeps the pace until the crescendo results into the sudden end of the piece. Mehndi is quite an articulate tune, that shows off a meditative climax at its beginning, with a persistent phrasing dressed up in several rhythmic figurations.

But the scene changes and melody becomes more cantabile, the bass plays funking-bopping sentences, and again, like a suite, the sound-scape changes anew, at first being light and then more and more repeatedly. Bud Powell’s Comin’ up is another number where the double-bass kicks off a pacing intro, going on with a great ability to invent new licks. This way, thus, the trio reveals to be a sort of holistic combination of three elements, and not only Vijay Iyer’s trio, while highlighting top range of interaction. Iyer gets in, playing a solo interlude that then enters an increasing moment, driven forward by a dynamic and mighty drum break, over the lines pointed out by the double bass. The last tune gets start from a loop on the upbeat, and it proves the single musicians to provide great interplay among themselves. After the insisting claps, Iyer and Co. let the pleased audience to have the encore: Becoming, a short piece with bowed bass and an emotional piano touch, very lyrical. Intention: Vijay Iyer and his own brilliant composing and improvising ideas. Tension: the great interaction provided by the piano harmonies, the pulsing lines of double bass and the inventive rhythms of drums. Extension: everything their music can push ahead.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Vijay Iyer
  • Concert Date: February 3rd
  • Venue: teatro Nuovo Montevergini
  • City State Country: Palermo, Sicily - ITALY
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